Wednesday July 13 and Thursday July 14: Justin L. Barrett, Thrive Professor of Developmental Science, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary

Both lectures start at 7pm at Church of Christ, 2323 Diamond Drive, Los Alamos.

Wednesday July 13: From Homo erectus to Homo religiosus

Darwinism has forced a rethinking of the Genesis account of human origins. Given the gradual, continuous character of evolution, the sudden appearance of humans—including their linguistic, cultural, and moral dimensions—together with the capacity and propensity for devotional relationship with God might seem a bit too much to swallow. Surely we are dealing with highly allegorical material. Perhaps. But perhaps, advances in the cognitive and evolutionary sciences and cognitive science of religion in particular give us an opportunity to revisit Darwin and the possibility that in the beginning the first modern humans were also religious humans.

Thursday July 14: When Science “Explains” Religious Beliefs: Basic Approaches and Implications

Attempts by scientists, particularly in the cognitive, neuro-, and evolutionary sciences, to explain why people have the religious beliefs and practices they do have been rejuvenated in recent decades. Part of the enthusiasm over these explanations has been their apparent ability to ‘explain away’ God. In this session, some contemporary explanatory accounts will be described and evaluated in terms of their compatibility with warranted belief in God or gods. The thesis, perhaps surprisingly, is that in some cases cognitive and evolutionary accounts provide additional support for some theological claims and, generally, appear to be little or no threat to traditional views of God, but may help distinguish among competing theological claims.

 About our speaker:
Justin L. Barrett
is Thrive Professor of Developmental Science and
Program Director, Ph.D., Psychological Science (Non-clinical)
in Fuller’s Graduate School of Psychology. He is the Chief Project Developer for the Office for Science, Theology, and Religion Initiatives (STAR) at Fuller Theological Seminary. He came to Fuller from the University of Oxford, where he taught and served as senior researcher for Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind. He has also taught at the University of Michigan and Calvin College, and served as co-area director for Young Life in Lawrence, Kansas. Most of Dr. Barrett’s academic work has concerned cognitive scientific approaches to the study of religion. His current research interests include cognitive, evolutionary, and psychological approaches to the study of religion; cognitive approaches to the study of culture generally; and religious and character development in children and adolescents. Barrett’s publications include Psychology of Religion (ed., 2010), Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (2004), Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology: From Human Minds to Divine Minds (2011), and Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief (2012). He has also published scores of academic articles and book chapters across several disciplines.


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