When: December 4th‐5th 2015
Where: VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Organizers: Hans van Eyghen, Rik Peels, and Gijsbert van den Brink
Although Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR) is still a rather young discipline, its main theories have been the subject of considerable debate. One main point of discussion is whether cognitive theories explain religion. The title of Pascal Boyer’s book Religion Explained (2002) signals that at least one goal of CSR is to explain religion. Many authors have interpreted ‘explaining’ as explaining away and have argued that CSR‐theories have not explained religion away because the truth of religion is compatible with the main theories in CSR.
The Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and Religion under the direction of RenÃ© van Woudenberg welcomes proposals to investigate scientism and its manifestations in research into free will, moral belief formation and moral character, rational decision-making, and religious belief. The research project Science beyond Scientism is embedded in the research of the Theoretical Philosophy section of the Department of Philosophy at VU University Amsterdam. VU University Amsterdam is an accredited research university with excellent library and other research facilities.
Scientism is the view that science, and science alone, can give us knowledge, tell us what exists, and answer our moral, existential, and religious questions. Scientism is rampant in contemporary intellectual culture: it is assumed and endorsed in- and outside academia by influential scientists and philosophers writing about evolutionary theory, genetics, brain science, psychology, and philosophy. From there, scientism also wields influence on various social and professional practices, such as medicine, law, education, religion, and child rearing. We think scientism is not only false, but also harmful. False, because there are other sources of knowledge besides science. Harmful, because it undermines notions that are central to human self-understanding and flourishing, and to various social and professional practices; notions such as free will, rational decision-making, moral character, and religious belief.