Publication of special journal issue on “Atheism, Secularity, and Science.”

Announcing the publication of “Atheism, Secularity, and Science,” a special issue of the journal Science, Religion & Culture, guest edited by John R. Shook, Ralph W. Hood Jr., and Thomas J. Coleman III. The journal issue contains theoretical and empirical articles covering a wide range of topics related to atheism and secularity. It begins with an introduction by the editors discussing key areas in the field, within which they situate this issue’s articles on topics such as definitions and discourse, measurement, mental wellbeing, organized nonbelief and humanism, growth of the “nones,” secularity of academics, hypothetical god image, and deconversion narratives in Rabbis. The issue concludes with three book reviews on The Problem of Animal Pain, The New Atheist Novel, and Living the Secular Life.

Science, Religion & Culture is an open access peer reviewed journal and the special issue, “Atheism, Secularity, and Science” can be viewed here:


Call for Papers: Atheism, Secularism, and Science

Announcing CFP: Atheism, Secularity, and Science, a special journal issue in Science, Religion & Culture
Guest edited by: John R. Shook Ph.D., Ralph W. Hocfpod Jr.
Ph.D., and Thomas J. Coleman III.
Over the past 10 years research and scholarship on secularity in general, and atheism in particular, has increased significantly. Moreover, these phenomena have been researched, studied and documented by multiple
disciplines ranging from cognitive science to religious studies, and from anthropology to sociology. The study of atheism and secularity is of high interest to not only scholars, but also the public in general.
Atheism and secularity are often seen as two constructs that are intimately related with a third, that of ‘science’. Where one finds the scientific method, positivist epistemology and naturalism in general, one typically finds atheism and secularism. Continue reading

Publication: Scientific Study of Atheism – Religion, Brain and Behavior

From the EDITORIAL “The scientific study of atheism”

“This issue of Religion, Brain & Behavior focuses on the scientific study of atheism.
With a pair of target articles from Catherine Caldwell-Harris and Dominic Johnson,
a large collection of expert commentaries on those articles, and two responses from
the authors, this is one of the richest discussions of the scientific study of atheism in
print. Johnson reviews the various ways of conceiving of atheism in evolutionary
terms, while Caldwell-Harris analyzes the evidence for atheism as a matter of
individual differences. These two essays represent fundamentally contrasting
strategies for making sense of atheism and it is likely that future scientific study
will have to navigate between the two perspectives.”


Read more of this open access edition Religion, Brain & Behavior, Volume 2 Issue 1

Event: Conference Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts: Dynamics of Change March 1 -3 2012

Sadly registration to this event is now closed, but I wanted to bring it to the attention of the community. The conference addresses one of the key themes in the secularity debate, science. The debate has run long, but hopefully this event will provide a more nuance and complex view of the these categories beyond the typical binary.

International Association for the History of Religions Special Conference 2012

Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts: Dynamics of Change

Venue: NTNU-The Norwegian University of Science and Technology
1-3 March 2012

In current public and academic debates, the complex relationships between ‘religion’ and ‘science’ tend to be reduced into one between monolithic entities. By exploring historical and contemporary interactions between religions, science and technology, a more complex understanding may be reached of the areas and ways in which they overlap, correspond, challenge and conflict with each other.

This conference seeks to explore how religions, science and technology interact and generate change (progressive, reactive, regressive), particularly in relation to such issues as the environment and climate change; the economy; welfare; life expectancy; popular representation; and sexual equality.

Of particular interest are explorations of dynamic relationships between worldviews/cosmologies, socio-cultural practices and technologies; and of ‘the politics of change’, i.e. how different actors seek to convince the public of the benefits of their own approaches or of the detriment of ‘the others’ approaches.

Keynote speakers:

-Tim Jensen, University of Southern Denmark

-Ingvild Gilhus, University of Bergen

-Donald Lopez, University of Michigan

-Taner Edis, Truman State University

The conference is organized by the Department of Archaeology and Religious Studies of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

Registration fee until 1 December 2011 is 250 EUR, which includes conference materials, lunches and refreshments. There will also be bursaries for participants from lower income countries.

For any type of inquiries, you are welcome to contact the Conference secretary, Filip Ivanovic (

Publication: New issue of Bulletin for the Study of Religion is published‏, including Science and Nonbelief – Taner Edis

Equinox Publishers have  announced the publication of Volume 40, Number 4 of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion.

Craig Martin – Bulletin for the Study of Religion



Review of Taner Edis’ Science and Nonbelief – Ginger Marie Stickney


Beliefs and Habituated Bodies: A Response to Taner Edis,

Science and Nonbelief – Sean Patrick McCloud

Religions and Science Beyond Belief: Comments on Taner Edis’

Science and Nonbelief – Benjamin Zeller

Chasing Cosmic Tennis Balls – Thomas B. Ellis

Defending Science and Nonbelief – Taner Edis

The Problem of Ideology in Biblical Studies – Randall William Reed


More than Belief: An Interview with Manuel A. Vásquez -craig Martin


Keeping up with the Kollege Professors: The Pitch – Reed M.N. Weep

CFP: Biological and Cultural Evolution and Their Interactions: Rethinking the Darwinian and Durkheimian Legacy in the

Context of the Study of Religion

Call for papers and poster proposal.

International Conference at the Section for the Study of Religion, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University, 26– 30 June 2012.

2012 marks the centennial of Durkheim’s Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse. The Section for the Study of Religion at Aarhus University will be celebrating the centennial by revitalizing one prominent aspect of Durkheim’s work, i.e., the evolutionary question. Cultural evolutionary thinking had its heyday from 1870-1920, and for various reasons, a deep skepticism of biological and cultural evolutionary thinking became entrenched in the humanities. It not only turned its back on evolutionary perspectives but also on science in general. Broader questions pertaining to human biology and cultural evolution were largely dismissed with a few notable exceptions such as Robert Bellah, Shmuel Eisenstadt and Jan Assmann.

The aim of the present conference is to revisit evolutionary questions with a special focus on the study of religion. We think that progress in the field of cognitive science may enable us to once again raise a number of classic evolutionary questions in a fashion which avoids the pitfalls of the ideologically loaded presumptions of Western and Christian superiority of former days. New insights in cognitive science and evolutionary psychology have provided new opportunities for merging biological and cultural evolutionary perspectives. This combination gives us the unique possibility of once again understanding humans from the Durkheimian perspective of homo duplex, i.e., both natural and cultural beings. In order to examine the possibilities for revitalizing evolutionary questions in biology and culture and their interactions in the context of the study of religion, we have invited a number of prominent scholars with an interest in evolutionary questions. Keynote lectures will be given by: Robert Bellah, Pascal Boyer, Jan Bremmer, Joseph Bulbulia, Merlin Donald, Eva Jablonka, Russel Gray, Bernhard Lang, Alexandra Maryanski, Doron Mendels, Guy Stroumsa and Jonathan Turner.

The conference is hosted by the Section for the Study of Religion, the Laboratory on Theories of Religion and the Religion, Cognition and Culture Research Unit (RCC) at Aarhus University, and the Aarhus University Research Foundation. The International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion (IACSR) will also be hosting its workshop in connection with the conference.

Proposals for papers and posters should be sent to Anders Klostergaard Petersen ( by March 1, 2012. Please send an abstract of maximum 500 words. Acceptance of papers and posters will be announced by the end of March 2012.

The deadline for registration for the conference will be April 15, 2012. A conference homepage will be available from the beginning of January.

The conference fee will be $200 (students and retirees $150). Further information will be made available when the conference site is opened.

Conference organizers:

Anders Klostergaard Petersen

Hans Jørgen Lundager Jensen

Armin W. Geertz

New Statesman Guest Edited by Dawkins out this week

New Statesman Guest Edited by Richard Dawkins 19th Dec 2011


Richard Dawkins has taken the role of guest Editor for the 19 December 2011 to 1 January 2012 issue of the New Statesman. The issue gives space to the “four horseman” of New Atheism and includes a contribution from Sam Harris on the neuroscience of freewill, Daniel Dennett contributes a Christmas essay “The Social Cell” addressing the social ties that bind us and the remaining two “horseman” come together in a conversation between Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Other notable inclusions include authors Phillip Pullman and Kate Atkinson, Microsoft giant Bill Gates, planetary scientist Carolyn Porco and commenter and human rights activist Maryam Mamazie.

The edition gives an interesting overview of the current issues dominating the British nonreligous/secular/religious public debate. Dawkins opens with a letter to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, in which he declares his “cultural Anglicanism” and urges Cameron to acknowledge the British Social Attitudes survey. The survey found 50% of the population declare themselves to be of no faith and the number declaring themselves to be Church of England, Christian, at 20% which for Dawkins undermines  the privileging of religion over non religion, especially the particular privilege he sees accorded to the Anglican state church. He urges Cameron to consider the need for neutrality “in all matters pertaining to religion”.

The New Statesman site quotes Dawkins on his venture:

“To guest-edit a great magazine with the status of a national treasure is the literary equivalent of being invited to imagine your ideal dinner party – Christmas dinner, in this case – and then of actually being allowed to send out real invitations to your dream companions. Every acceptance is like a present off the Christmas tree, gratefully unwrapped and treasured.

At the same time, I couldn’t help being daunted by the New Statesman’s historic reputation for serious, well-written radical commentary, and by the need in my literary Christmas dinner to temper merriment with gravitas.

We have no reindeer, but four horsemen; no single star of wonder and no astrologers bearing gifts, but a gifted star of astronomy who knows wonder when she sees it; no kings from the east, but the modern equivalent of a king from the west; and wise men – and women – all around the table. Please join us at the feast.”

Details of his editorial and how to access the magazine can be found on the New Statesman website