Religion evolves! Baba Brinkman raps about Evolutionary Studies of Religion

Posted 2 August 2014 by Michael Blume

Since I decided to enter the realms of science as a youth, I entertained a certain dream: That the field of science I wanted to contribute to shouldn't be confined to secluded specialists, but that it should be discussed in public magazines and at kitchen tables, maybe even edutained and enjoyed in movies and arts. Back then, this has been a rather heretic concept at German universities and I was explicitly warned as a young scholar in Religionswissenschaft (the scientific... Read more

A Map of Hindu, Buddhist Temples, Sikh Gurdwaras in Germany

Posted 20 July 2014 by Michael Blume

As Germany is a rather wealthy country, offering comparable high levels of existential security to its inhabitants, secularization and the subsequent, inevitable decline of birth rates below replacement levels has been taking place for decades. But at the same time, the religiously devout tend to have more children and immigrants are bringing their religious traditions, leading to a process of religious pluralization. Thus, even after reunification, more than two-thirds of the German population are adhering to a Church or religious... Read more

God & Cosmology – George Coyne on Belief, Science & Evolution

Posted 22 June 2014 by Michael Blume

Some years ago, I blogged about the (German) movie "Das kreative Universum" by Rüdiger Sünner at my German scilog. Recently, Sünner started to put some bonus materials on YouTube, including an interview with the famous Jesuit cosmologist George Coyne, who directed the Vatican Observatory from 1978 to 2006. As this interview has been conducted entirely in English (with German subtitles), I am gladly sharing it here as an interesting theological and spiritual perspective on those various, empirical findings. Enjoy! ... Read more

Evolutionary Studies of Religion spreading via German Media

Posted 11 May 2014 by Michael Blume

Let me start by apologizing for not having texted that much in English these last months. Besides the fact that English is not my first language (as you have probably noticed already) I have been busy writing and answering to a lot of German media covering evolutionary studies of religion and my field of research, religious demography. The new peak of interest started with coverage in main print media such as the "liberal" SPIEGEL or the "conservative" WELT. ... Read more

Yes, I am an Evolutionist!

Posted 7 April 2014 by Michael Blume

When people press me into defining either as a conservative, a liberal/libertarian or a leftist, I like to answer that I am an "Evolutionär", an evolutionist: My scientific interests and researches have led me to appreciate that any biological or cultural tradition surviving to our day is the product of a long and deep history, which should not be dismissed easily. In this sense, I feel like a conservative. The very same perspective helped me to appreciate that variation is necessary for... Read more

Great Adaptations – A Bold Project Bringing Evolutionary Knowledge to Kids

Posted 28 February 2014 by Michael Blume

Exploring religion from an evolutionary perspective, I have been repeatedly flabbergasted by a specific gap: Evolutionary theorists tended to bring up far more scientific facts, but dynamic religious movements tended to bring up far more catching narratives! Although a lot of scientific authors and bloggers contributed to closing this gap concerning educated adults, this gap remained with regards to children! Obviously, the fact that the non-religious tend to have smaller families than the devout and evolutionary theism has only started to form as a cultural milieu... Read more

Hyper Agency Detection (HAD) as Building Block of Religious Cognition – A Humorous Introduction

Posted 13 November 2013 by Michael Blume

Among the many things Charles Darwin got right about evolution, his definitions and theses concerning the evolution of religious beliefs and behaviors deserve special attention. For example, the learned theologian observed his dog growling at moving objects, assuming possible "agency" as a possible building block of early religious cognition. Contemporary psychologists agree. There is a overdetection of agency, frequently called Hyper-Agency Detection (HAD) in animal and human cognition. And this is not very surprising from an evolutionary perspective: It is far... Read more

Researching Religion and Prosociality – Lecture by Ara Norenzayan

Posted 2 November 2013 by Michael Blume

Ara Norenzayan has been repeatedly featured on my German and English scilogs. My recent review on his new book "Big Gods" and the list of 10 principles of the social psychology of religion have been taken up by many readers, especially via the social media. Therefore, I am glad to be able to share a video of a lecture Ara recently gave at the Centre for Human Evolution, Cognition and Culture. If you are interested in human psychology, evolutionary studies... Read more

Social Psychology of Religion – Ten Gems from Big Gods by Ara Norenzayan

Posted 23 October 2013 by Michael Blume

Once in a while, a whole field of research is pushed forward by a seminal work. Ara Norenzayan's "Big Gods. How Religion Transformed Cooperation And Conflict" is one of those rare books bound to becoming a classic for a generation of colleagues and students. Applauding this compelling piece of empirical and evolutionary studies, I wrote two reviews - one in English at "Evolution - This View of Life" and the other in German at "Natur des Glaubens". Among the many... Read more

The Power of Narrative – Example by a musical letter from Fred to Sweet Lorraine

Posted 28 August 2013 by Michael Blume

Many people seem to believe that "myths" - not necessarily scientific narratives perceived as meaningful by many - are to be found only among religions. Nothing could be farther from the (now scientific!) truth: As Jonathan Gottschall showed in his great-to-read "The Storytelling Animal", we human beings evolved a hunger for sharing myths in order to be able to survive, to cooperate and to reproduce. In fact, your personal identity is a myth you are repeatedly and constantly trying to... Read more