Explaining Away and the Cognitive Science of Religion

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In order to evaluate the claim that theistic belief can be explained away by science, four models of the relationship between science and theism are developed and their relevance to explaining away explored. These models are then used to evaluate an argument against theistic belief based on developments in the cognitive science of religion. It is argued that even if the processes that produce theistic belief are unreliable, this is insufficient to show that explaining away takes place. Indeed, given the difficulty of showing that the conditions for explaining away are met, it is very unlikely that such an argument can succeed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-304
JournalTheology and Science
Issue number3
Early online date18 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished online - 18 Aug 2016


  • Explanation
  • Explaining away
  • Cognitive Science of Religion
  • Evolutionary Debunking Arguments
  • Bayesian reasoning
  • Models of Science and Religion


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