John Shook’s paper Are People Born to be Believers? raises many questions, for the scientific study of religion and for philosophy and theology. For reasons of convenience this response distinguishes in the target article between three quite different issues and deals with them separately: first issue concerns the supposed innateness of religious beliefs, or some precursor of them; second, the possible theological application that such thesis could entail; and third, a more general and methodological issue, concerns the feasibility of a scientific knowledge about religion that can be disentangled from other sources of religious insight
DorDaniel & EvaJablonka (2014). Why We Need to Move From Gene–Culture Co-Evolution to Culturally-Driven Co-Evolution.” In DanielDorChrisKnight & JeromeLewis eds. Social Origins of Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press pp. 15-30.
FeiermanJay (2009). The Evolutionary History of Religious Behavior In JayFeierman ed. The Biology of Religious Behavior: The Evolutionary Origins of Faith and ReligionSanta Barbara, CA: ABC- Clio pp. 71-86.
JackAntony IanJared P.FriedmanRichard E.BoyatzisScott N.Taylor (2016). Why Do You Believe in God? Relationships between Religious Belief, Analytic Thinking, Mentalizing and Moral Concern. PLoS ONE11(3): e0149989. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149989.
VallortigaraGiorgio (2016). In Search for the Animacy Detector in the Brain: Biological Predispositions to Detect Animated Entities and its Implication for Believing. Unpublished paper delivered at the Seminary on “Believing between Theology and Neuroscience”Antonianum UniversityRome6-8June2016.