The scientific world view works under the principle that only that which can be empirically verified is to be considered for belief.  Other world views (many going under the general category of religions) extend the possibility of belief beyond this limitation.  It may seem these two fundamental views are entirely independent and a choice between the two is entirely subjective, but scientific research has provided some insight into the views held by many religious believers.  Read this article by Paul Bloom and answer the following questions in 500 words.


1. Why does Bloom find many explanations given for religion (existential balm, provider of meaning, source of community cohesion) insufficient?

2. What are the two basic belief systems in babies Bloom provides evidence for? 

3. How does the existence of these two systems make a belief in reincarnation so easy for many people?

4. How does the existence of these two systems explain why people find it so natural to anthropomorphize and vilify great white sharks, uncatchable whales, annoying flies, cancerous tumors, bad weather, etc?

5. How do these systems conflict when one learns about the biological basis of psychological phenomena?

6. What is your opinion of Bloom’s ideas?


And one final question for the class is this: In looking back on the semester, what is your overall opinion of the course and the ideas it has introduced?