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A naturalist examines the cognitive and cultural foundations of religion, science, and more
Robert N. McCauley Ph.D.
Many Trump administration policies—some well-known, some obscure—are antithetical to the continued flourishing of science in America.
Was the author of Pilgrim's Progress plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder or simply a particularly dutiful Christian?
Why using search engines is probably not the best way to start learning about scientific controversies.
Low impact, vanity e-journals flood the inboxes of academic scientists every day with flattering emails in search of new articles to publish for a fee.
Do the increasing restrictions that the sciences' successes impose on agent explanations apply even to human agency?
We are not naturally inclined to perceive the world in conformity with even our most familiar and well-learned scientific commitments.
New experimental findings suggest that we seek and stress corroborating evidence based on what we desire.
Why insist that religion is immune from scientific study when cognitive and evolutionary theories have already made great strides in explaining a wide array of religious phenomena?
Modern understanding of autistic spectrum disorders may shed light on the eccentric behavior of the Hindu saint, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
It is difficult to transmit a religion for long, if all of its members abstain from sex.
Vice President-Elect Mike Pence probably underestimates the pervasiveness and the near inevitability of implicit bias.
Although purely devotional practices seem to reinforce explicit religious beliefs, they seem to have little effect on either implicit religious representations or their influence.
Natural penchants of mind, such as anthropomorphism, dispose people to think about gods in ways that often conflict with their religions' doctrines.
Recent worries about the failure to replicate the findings of important studies in experimental psychology may well be unfounded.
Humans have devised no better general approaches than those of science for adjudicating disputes about empirical facts.
Both the cognitive by-product theory of religious representations and theories of secularization offer pessimistic appraisals of these new evangelical measures.
Religions in America must adapt to changing conditions in order to survive in a competitive marketplace.
New research findings from Finland suggest that facility with theory of mind may be less important for religious belief than most cognitive scientists of religion have assumed.
Conventional religious activities may be on the decline in secularized northern Europe, but many Norwegians appear to be enthralled with ghosts.
Some commonsense is hard-won with experience, yet at the same time infants the world over seem to understand how some things in the world work.
Evidence from cultural anthropology and the history of religions belies the claim that religion and morality are intrinsically connected.
Research on infants indicates that they are sensitive to others' distress, have an aversion to bad guys, and have a primordial sense of justice.
Research on monkeys and chimpanzees suggests that moral sensibilities evolved long before religious sensibilities.
What humans' moral intuitions suggest about the relative merits of religious versus secular accounts of moral motivation.
Why images of the gods are often targets of religious zealots and why religious zealots will never run out of images to target.
Reversing the effects of secularization in a moment
They are not scientists -- what Bill Belichick and some of our legislators have in common.
Who is likely the more effective moral monitor -- a jolly St. Nick or a menacing Krampus?
Research with capuchins suggests that moral sensibilities arose long before anything religious.
Inexplicable suffering aids the persistence of the gods.
Robert N. McCauley, Ph.D., is the author of Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not. He is a professor of philosophy at Emory University.