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Challenges to Moral and Religious BeliefDisagreement and Evolution$
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Michael Bergmann and Patrick Kain

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669776

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669776.001.0001

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Does the Scientific Study of Religion Cast Doubt on Theistic Beliefs?

Does the Scientific Study of Religion Cast Doubt on Theistic Beliefs?

(p.277) 14 Does the Scientific Study of Religion Cast Doubt on Theistic Beliefs?
Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief

Joshua C. Thurow

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses whether scientific attempts to explain religious beliefs cast doubt on theistic belief. Five different ways of ‘casting doubt’ are distinguished, and it is argued that work in the cognitive science of religion (CSR) does not cast doubt on theistic belief in two of these ways. However, some work in CSR does cast doubt to some extent by way of undermining at least one argument for theism, namely, C.S. Lewis’s Argument from Desire. However, it is also argued that CSR does not undermine the cosmological and design arguments. Although CSR does cast some degree of doubt on theistic belief, it by no means follows that theistic belief is unjustified, or that it is not highly justified.

Keywords:   cognitive science, cognitive science of religion, doubt, theism, cosmological argument, design argument, C.S. Lewis

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