Religious beliefs: Matter of fact or of preference?
In the public sphere, religious beliefs are often considered to be a matter of private sentiment or preference, not as matters of fact. While this may be helpful for the maintenance of a pluralistic
Does atheism challenge the naturalness of religious belief?
Common wisdom has it that religious belief is natural, whereas atheism, physicalism and other forms of unbelief are unnatural (see for example, Rober McCauley's The Naturalness of Religion and
The theologian’s tragedy or the theologian’s trump card?
In October 2011, I will be working on a Templeton fellowship at the University of Oxford. My project is entitled Cognitive origins of intuitions in natural theology. See here for more details. The
The Zeus problem revisited – or is it the Jedi problem?
In their recent paper (available here) in Journal of Cognition and Culture, Will M. Gervais and Joseph Henrich call attention to the Zeus problem. If religious belief is solely guided by representa
Epistemic trust in scientific practice: The case of primates studies
A few days ago, I received a favorable review of a paper of mine. The reviewer suggested some minor improvements, one of which led me to reflect on epistemic trust in scientific practice. In the
Is the spell broken? Reflections on evolutionary debunking and religious beliefs
At the Notre Dame conference Darwin in the 21st century, Paul Griffiths gave an interesting talk on evolutionary debunking arguments for religion. Evolutionary debunking arguments basically say that
How persistent are intuitive (erroneous) beliefs?
My motivation for posting this blog is simple: I am wondering whether it is possible for humans to ever truly internalize counterintuitive scientific principles like evolutionary theory or Newtonian
Philosophy and Psychology: Special issue on number and language
The question of how language and conceptual thought are related is unresolved in both philosophy and psychology. Many recent tests of the so-called 'Whorfian hypothesis', the idea that the
Is Intelligent Design a cross-cultural universal ?
As I am now co-writing a paper on the cognitive basis of intelligent design, I was wondering if any of you could help me with the following question: according to Deb Kelemen, Margaret Evans, and
Are minimally counter-intuitive concepts more memorable for young children?
A few months ago, I took my 4-year-old daughter to the Ghent Design Museum which hosts an extensive collection of designer furniture. Some of this furniture looks positively bizarre, such as a couch