Explaining Religion conference

In the popular mind, science and religion are implacably opposed; yet religion is itself a fascinating and powerful natural phenomenon, which cries out for scientific explanation. The explanatory task is a daunting one, not least because so many disciplines are relevant to it, but real progress is being made on many fronts, and a forthcoming interdisciplinary conference at the University of Bristol aims to integrate approaches from a variety of fields.

The event, which is being organized Finn Spicer, Andrew Atkinson, and Nathalia Gjersoe, is supported by the University of Bristol’s Department of Philosophy and the Bristol Cognitive Development Centre, and it will include contributions from evolutionary theory, philosophy, cognitive science, anthropology, psychology, and related disciplines.

It looks set to be a super event, and there’s a great line-up of speakers, including Jesse Bering, E.Thomas Lawson, Susan Blackmore, Ryan McKay, Christine Mohr, Deb Kelemen, Konrad Talmont-Kaminski, Robert McCauley, Bruce Hood, Ara Norenzayan, and Michael Blume

There’s more information and registration details on the conference website

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend myself, but if anyone who does attend would like to post a review of the event here at Evolving Ideas, do please get in touch.



The Interdisciplines website for research in philosophy, cognitive science and social science is currently running an online conference on adaptation and representation. Discussion has just closed on an interesting paper by Ryan McKay and Daniel Dennett on the evolution of misbelief, and a new paper by Robert Brandon on biological adaptation and function has just gone live. The conference is due to last through to July and there is an exciting line-up of papers to come. Readers are invited to comment on live papers, and the discussions are archived on the site. It’s an excellent project.