Did Natural Selection Select for True Religious Beliefs?

Hans Van Eyghen, Christopher T. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Although it is commonly accepted that Darwinian evolution could select for true common-sense beliefs, it is altogether less certain that the same can be said for other classes of beliefs, such as moral or religious beliefs. This issue takes centre stage in debates concerning evolutionary debunking arguments against religious beliefs, where the rationality of beliefs is often dependent upon their production by an evolved faculty that is sensitive to truth. In this article, we consider whether evolution selected for true religious beliefs. We begin by highlighting the relevance of this question for broader philosophy of religion, then present a dialogue of arguments and counter-arguments for and against the proposition that true religious beliefs generate pragmatic success and hence can be selected for by evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalReligious studies
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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