2012 Lecture Series

In 2012, the BLPR brought guest speakers Dr. Schloss and Dr. Murray for our lecture series. As experts in their respective fields of biology and philosophy, Schloss and Murray brought a combination of experience and knowledge in the areas of evolutionary psychology and evolutionary suffering. They have co-authored numerous papers at the intersection of evolution and religion, and co-edited The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion, Oxford UP (2009). Murray is also the author of the only book-length treatment of evolutionary suffering: Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Suffering, Oxford UP (2008).

Evolutionary Theories of Religious Belief—Does Biology Explain Away God?

See the Video of the presentation.

Has natural selection tricked us into religious belief? A number of biologists, psychologists, and anthropologists have argued that religion is a trick played on our minds by evolution. Some argue that we are "wired for belief" because religious belief is adaptive. Others argue that religious belief is a harmful (but survivable) by-product of the way evolution has configured our minds. Schloss and Murray examine the evidence for evolutionary accounts of religion and explore the implications for the truth and rationality of religious belief if any of them prove to be true.

Natural Evil in a Fine-Tuned Universe—Is Evolutionary Suffering Incompatible with a Good God?

See the Video of the presentation.

Why is there is so much evolutionary suffering if the universe is fine-tuned by God? Religious believers of all types have been struck by recent discoveries in physics and cosmology that seem to show that our Universe is specifically designed for life. However, if Darwinism is correct, the biological path from the first life on earth to humans is littered with death, extinction, and suffering. What sort of "fine-tuning" does that reveal? None at all, you might think. Schloss and Murray explain why these seemingly conflicting pieces of evidence are in fact complementary.

Page Updated 07.12.2013