HIDD’n HADD in Intelligent Design

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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  • 1 Social Cognition Unit, Institute of Sociology, University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland

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Abstract

The idea that religious belief is ‘almost inevitable’ is so forcefully argued by Justin Barrett (2004, 2012) that it can warrant justifiable concern (Shook, 2017; Sterelny, 2018) – especially since he claims atheism is an unnatural handicap (2012, p. 203). In this article, I argue that religious belief in Homo sapiens isn’t inevitable – and that Barrett does agree when pushed. I describe the role played by a Hyperactive Agency Detection Device (HADD) in the generation of belief in God as necessary but insufficient in explaining religious culture – I distance myself from some common conceptions of HADD and the view I take of it is unorthodox. I point out that the conclusion to Barrett’s (2004) book, ‘Why Would Anyone Believe in God?’ is a fine example of the very hyperactive agency detection Barrett himself describes, and is therefore highly suspect.

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