•  1054
    Religious Cognition as Social Cognition
    Studia Religiologica 48 (4): 301-312. 2015.
    In this paper, I examine the relationship between social cognition and religious cognition. Many cognitive theories of religion claim that these two forms are somehow related, but the details are usually left unexplored and insights from theories of social cognition are not taken on board. I discuss the three main (groups of) theories of social cognition, namely the theory-theory, the simulation theory and enactivist theories. Secondly, I explore how these theories can help to enrich a number of…Read more
  •  409
    Most Peers Don’t Believe It, Hence It Is Probably False
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (4): 87-112. 2017.
    Rob Lovering has recently argued that since theists have been unable, by means of philosophical arguments, to convince 85 percent of professional philosophers that God exists, at least one of their defining beliefs must be either false or meaningless. This paper is a critical examination of his argument. First we present Lovering’s argument and point out its salient features. Next we explain why the argument’s conclusion is entirely acceptable for theists, even if, as we show, there are multiple…Read more
  •  278
    Is supernatural belief unreliably formed?
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 85 (2): 125-148. 2018.
    I criticize 5 arguments for the conclusion that religious belief is unreliably formed and hence epistemically tainted. The arguments draw on scientific evidence from Cognitive Science of Religion. They differ considerably as to why the evidence points to unreliability. Two arguments conclude to unreliability because religious belief is shaped by evolutionary pressures; another argument states that the mechanism responsible for religious belief produces many false god-beliefs; a similar argument …Read more
  •  275
    It is widely acknowledged that the new emerging discipline cognitive science of religion has a bearing on how to think about the epistemic status of religious beliefs. Both defenders and opponents of the rationality of religious belief have used cognitive theories of religion to argue for their point. This paper will look at the defender-side of the debate. I will discuss an often used argument in favor of the trustworthiness of religious beliefs, stating that cognitive science of religion shows…Read more
  •  184
    What Cognitive Science of Religion Can Learn from John Dewey
    Contemporary Pragmatism 15 (3): 387-406. 2018.
    Cognitive science of religion is a fairly young discipline with the aim of studying the cognitive basis of religious belief. Despite the great variation in theories a number of common features can be distilled and most theories can be situated in the cognitivist and modular paradigm. In this paper, I investigate how cognitive science of religion (CSR) can be made better by insights from John Dewey. I chose Dewey because he offered important insights in cognition long before there was cognitive s…Read more
  •  162
    Predictive coding and religious belief
    Filosofia Unisinos 19 (3). 2018.
    In this paper I investigate the epistemic implications of a recent theory of religious cognition that draws on predictive coding. The theory argues that certain experiences are heavily shaped by a subject’s prior (religious) beliefs and thereby makes religious believers prone to detect invisible agents. The theory is an update of older theories of religious cognition but departs from them in crucial ways. I will assess the epistemic implications by reformulating existing arguments based on other…Read more
  •  142
    This article discusses “explaining away” arguments in the cognitive science of religion. I distinguish two rather different ways of explaining away religion, one where religion is shown to be incompatible with scientific findings and one where supernatural entities are rendered superfluous by scientific explanations. After discussing possible objections to both varieties, I argue that the latter way offers better prospects for successfully explaining away religion but that some caveats must be m…Read more
  •  83
    Are Design Beliefs Safe?
    Studia Humana 8 (1): 75-83. 2019.
    Recently, Del Ratzsch proposed a new version of the design argument. He argues that belief in a designer is often formed non-inferentially, much like perceptual beliefs, rather than formed by explicit reasoning. Ratzsch traces his argument back to Thomas Reid who argues that beliefs formed in this way are also justified. In this paper, I investigate whether design beliefs that are formed in this way can be regarded as knowledge. For this purpose, I look closer to recent scientific study of how d…Read more
  •  45
    The Retreat Argument
    Heythrop Journal (3): 497-508. 2018.
    Some philosophers and scientists argue that as science progresses the religious domain shrinks ever more. They see the advance of science as an argument against religion and for naturalism. In what follows I construct the argument that is tacit in this line of reasoning and criticize it.
  •  44
    There Is No Sensus Divinitatis
    Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 15 (45): 24-40. 2016.
    Inspired by Alvin Plantinga, many philosophers of religion accept the existence of a sensus divinitatis, a cognitive mechanism that produces religious beliefs. In this paper I will argue that there are no good reasons to accept the existence of a sensus divinitatis and hence its existence should not be affirmed. Plantinga gives two arguments for its existence, one empirical and one from the nature of God. I will argue that the first argument fails because God’s nature makes it more likely that h…Read more
  •  17
    Book Review on The Philosophical Challenge from China (review)
    Comparative Philosophy 7 (1). 2016.
    In this paper, I review the book The Philosophical Challenge from China, edited by Brian Bruya. I critically discuss each of the 13 contributions.
  •  17
    Religious belief as acquired second nature
    Zygon 55 (1): 185-206. 2020.
    Multiple authors in cognitive science of religion (CSR) argue that there is something about the human mind that disposes it to form religious beliefs. The dispositions would result from the internal architecture of the mind. In this article, I will argue that this disposition can be explained by various forms of (cultural) learning and not by the internal architecture of the mind. For my argument, I draw on new developments in predictive processing. I argue that CSR theories argue for the natura…Read more
  •  9
    J. A. Van Slyke, The Cognitive Science of Religion, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2011
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (4): 231--233. 2016.
  •  6
    Spirit Beliefs Debunked?
    Science, Religion and Culture 5 (1): 73-82. 2018.
    I discuss and criticize an argument for the conclusion that belief in spirits is unreliably formed and hence unjustified. The argument is based on three scientific explanations for spirit-beliefs; hyperactive agency detection device, infrasound, and magnetic stimulation of the temporal lobe. I argue that the argument fails because the explanations are of too limited scope
  •  4
    Rob Lovering. God and Evidence. Bloomsbury, 2013
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (1): 254--260. 2016.
  •  3
    The Cognitive Science of Religion, Philosophy and Theology: A Survey of the Issues
    with Rik Peels and Gijsbert van den Brink
    In Hans van Eyghen, Rik Peels & Gijsbert van den Brink (eds.), New Developments in the Cognitive Science of Religion - the Rationality of Religious Belief, Springer. pp. 1-14. 2018.
    Cognitive Science of Religion is still a rather young discipline. Depending on what one deems to be the first paper or book in the field, the discipline is now almost forty or almost thirty years old. Philosophical and theological discussion on CSR started in the late 2000s. From its onset, the main focus has been the epistemic consequences of CSR, and this focus is dominant even today. Some of those involved in the debate discussed the relevance of CSR for further issues in philosophy of religi…Read more
  •  3
    Cognitive Science of Religion and the Cognitive Consequences of Sin
    with Rik Peels and Gijsbert van den Brink
    In Hans van Eyghen, Rik Peels & Gijsbert van den Brink (eds.), New Developments in the Cognitive Science of Religion - the Rationality of Religious Belief, Springer. pp. 199-214. 2018.
    This paper explores the relation between evolutionary explanations of religious belief and a core idea in both classical Christian theology and Reformed Epistemology, namely that humans have fallen into sin. In particular, it challenges the claim made by De Cruz and De Smedt that ‘ in the light of current evolutionary and cognitive theories, the Reformed epistemological view of NES [the noetic effects of sin] is in need of revision.’ Three possible solutions to this conundrum are examined, two o…Read more
  •  3
    Kelly James Clark, God and the Brain: The Rationality of Belief
    Philosophia Reformata 1-5. forthcoming.
  •  3
    Review: ‘Minds Make Societies’ (review)
    Journal of Cognition and Culture 20 (1-2): 155-158. 2020.
  •  1
    Introduction
    with Rik Peels and Gijsbert Van den Brink
    In Hans Van Eyghen, Rik Peels & Gijsbert BVan den Brink (eds.), New Developments in the Cognitive Science of Religion - The Rationality of Religious Belief, Springer. 2018.
    Introduction for 'New Developments in Cognitive Science of Religion - The Rationality of Religious Belief' forthcoming with Springer. We discuss the philosophical debate over Cognitive Science of Religion and give an outline of the book.