Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Economist on the science of religion

The always fabulous Economist has a very good article on the scientific examination of religion this week. The article focuses on the (ingeniously-entitled) Explaining Religion project (pdf) that is being funded by the European Union. As The Economist explains:
Religion cries out for a biological explanation. It is a ubiquitous phenomenon—arguably one of the species markers of Homo sapiens—but a puzzling one. It has none of the obvious benefits of that other marker of humanity, language. Nevertheless, it consumes huge amounts of resources. Moreover, unlike language, it is the subject of violent disagreements. Science has, however, made significant progress in understanding the biology of language, from where it is processed in the brain to exactly how it communicates meaning. Time, therefore, to put religion under the microscope as well.

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