Behavioral Sciences

Can Science Explain Religion?: The Cognitive Science Debate by James W. Jones

By James W. Jones

The "New Atheist" flow of contemporary years has positioned the science-versus-religion controversy again at the renowned cultural time table. Anti-religious polemicists are confident that the appliance of the hot sciences of the brain to non secular trust supplies them the ultimate guns of their conflict opposed to irrationality and superstition. What was a trickle of study papers scattered in really expert medical journals has now turn into a torrent of books, articles, and observation within the renowned media urgent the case that the cognitive technological know-how of faith can eventually satisfy the enlightenment dream of shrinking faith into insignificance, if now not taking out it altogether. James W. Jones argues that those claims are demonstrably fake. He notes that cognitive technology study is religiously impartial; it may be deployed in lots of alternative ways with regards to the particular trust in and perform of faith: to undermine it, to easily learn it, and to aid it. those diverse methods, Jones indicates, mirror the historical past assumptions and viewpoints delivered to the translation of the knowledge.

The aim of this publication isn't to safeguard both a basic spiritual outlook or a selected non secular culture, yet to make the case that whereas there's a lot to profit from the cognitive clinical research of faith, makes an attempt to take advantage of it to "explain" faith are exaggerated and inaccurate. Drawing on clinical learn and logical argument Can technological know-how clarify faith? directly confronts the claims of those debunkers of faith, delivering an accessibly written, persuasive account of why they don't seem to be convincing.

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When we are afraid, we are more apt to see the world in black-and-white terms. An important claim here is that much of what governs our thinking and experiencing is unconscious and out of our awareness and control. We may not be aware of how much our conscious reasoning is governed by assumptions and sensibilities that are outside our conscious awareness. The way we see the world just seems obvious and self-evident to us. Nor do we experience the functioning of the schemas that organize our experience.

Little or no concentration or energy is required here. ” It is slower, deliberate, involves mental effort and is relatively less emotional. This system produces reasoned arguments and thoughtful analysis. Fraser Watts refers to it as a “propositional” subsystem. We must not forget that these two systems often work together. For example, the immediate results from the tacit, intuitive system often generate the basic assumptions on which the reflective system works. Our intuitive sense that events have causes drives us to look for causes when we confront a perplexing situation.

These neurological markings do not “represent” a predator or a poison in some direct, literal way since the patterns are constantly shifting and vary from individual to individual. ” Therefore, theories depending on direct, linear connections between specific modules and particular cognitions involved in very complex processing, may have limited applicability and very weak explanatory power. The neurology 22 C an S cience E x plain R eligion ? of experience, therefore, seems better represented by nonlinear dynamical models than models of lineal causation, where a particular sight or smell is claimed to always produce the exact same neuronal effect.

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