Two interesting articles about religions and magical thinking. The first from the Economist is about how scientists are attempting to explain religion in evolutionary terms. As the article says, “religion cries out for a biological explanation,” though previous attempts have not been very successful. However, it looks like that may be changing – as scientists from a range of disciplines (psychology, neuro-biology, evolutionary theory, and economics among others) are beginning to work together to unravel the mysteries of religion. This article provides a nice overview of some of the more intriguing recent findings in this area. The entire article is well worth reading, The science of religion, Where angels no longer fear to tread. That said, I can already see the criticisms piling up, and to be fair, none of these studies capture or in anyway explain the personal aspects of the “nature of religious experience.” The second article from Psychology Today explores Magical Thinking. As the articles says, “We look for patterns because we hate surprises and because we love being in control.”
It seems to me that these two articles provide a rather arguments for why we need to be skeptical about our own perception and thinking and really need to go beyond taking things at face value.
On a side note, I will be visiting three different sections of CEP240: Diverse Learners in Multicultural Perspectives, next week, for a discussion on religion (or lack thereof) with Father Mark Inglot (of St. John Student Parish). Father Inglot and I have appeared together many times for similar events, typically for large class meetings (so these small group sessions will be a first). I have greatly enjoyed our discussions, despite our extremely divergent views. I am looking forward to these sessions… which may be videotaped for future use. I will try and post these videos here (if I can get my hands on them).