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Science knowledge on how religion works? Best explanation?


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Seems there are many currect suggestion from science on how religion works.

Some refer to religion as an adaptation. others say it is a byproduct.


I know to little about such theorethical thinking. Has anybody listed all these suggestion

and tried to evaluate them? Which theory seems to have best support from experiment

or actual research on believers.


One big problem to get reliable knowledge seems to be on one hand the ethics of experimenting

it is morally wrong to make a test religion and start to convert people to it and if you tell them

that it is a test religion that later will lose financial and staff support how many would still partiticipate

and how reliable would that research really be if it was all fake?


on the other hand how ethical is it to make a real religion based on science theoretical knowledge

would that even get funded and be approved of by those that have the money?


So seen from a strict science perspective what is the best explanation for how religion works

and what can be tested in practice without getting un-ethical and goind far out into forbidden science?

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Here is a suggestion from Cognitive_science_of_religion



evolutionary explanations of human behaviour is particularly suitable to the cognitive byproduct explanation of religion that is most popular among cognitive scientists of religion.


Maybe that is the one with best support or that have the consensus among the researchers.


Adaptation as an explanation seems much less supported. What else than these exists?

What kind if research experiments would be needed for to find out which explanation that is the best model?

Maybe such experiments would not be ethical to do?


I mean it would not be morally fair to start up a fake religion for to test if it worked.

And if one tell that it is a faked religion that is used for a test how many would want to participate?


So research seems very hard to do? One can only rely on self reporting and how reliable are such?

Edited by science4ever
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