BACIP 17th Annual Conference:
Why would anyone believe in God?
A Christian view of evolutionary psychology
Theme: Why would anyone believe in God? A Christian view of evolutionary psychology
Date: 2-4 March 2007
Venue: All Saints Pastoral Centre, St. Albans, United Kingdom
Distinguished speaker: Justin Barrett, Ph.D., University of Oxford
- Does evolutionary psychology explain religion away?
- If belief in God is just a byproduct of our cognitive machinery, is belief in God still justified?
- How can the apparently reductionistic agenda of evolutionary psychology be reconciled with Christian faith?
Evolutionary psychology has quickly become a dominant paradigm in academic psychology since the publication of Barkow, Cosmides, and Tooby’s (1992) The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Evolution of Culture. Popularized by workers such as Steven Pinker and David Buss, evolutionary psychology seeks to explain behaviour, cognition, emotions, and culture as evolved by natural selection. The language and assumptions of evolutionary psychology now pervade undergraduate courses across the syllabus. Alongside the rise of evolutionary psychology, a growing number of cognitive and developmental psychologists and anthropologists are turning their attention to the cognitive science of religion, seeking to find evolutionary explanations for the universal human tendency to believe in supernatural beings. What does it all mean for Christian faith?
The keynote speaker for our 2007 annual meeting is in a unique position to address the interface of evolutionary psychology with Christian faith. Justin Barrett, Ph.D. (University of Oxford) is a leading figure in the cognitive science of religion field and a former psychology professor at Calvin College and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Having served as the International Co-ordinator of Experimental Research Programmes at the Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen’s University Belfast, and with his wife as the area co-director of Young Life (a Christian youth ministry) in Lawrence, Kansas, he is now a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. His developmental and cognitive psychological work on the cognitive science of religion appears in numerous scientific journals and was recently summarized in his book, Why would anyone believe in God? (AltaMira, 2004). Joining Justin in considering our conference theme are Eduardo J. Echeverria, Ph.D. (Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI) and Fraser Watts, Ph.D. (University of Cambridge). Rounding out this year's conference we will also have a special workshop on qualitative research into religious beliefs and clinical psychology, including work from Martyn Baker, Psy.D. (University of East London), Rukhsana Arshad, B.Sc. (University of Leicester), and Sarah Longbotham, M.Sc. (University of Leicester).
- Download the conference programme:   PDF | MS Word
- Download the abstracts and speaker profiles:   PDF | MS Word
The conference is being hosted at All Saints Pastoral Centre, a convent converted to a conference and retreat centre set in 70 acres of grounds near to St Albans and within an hour of central London. Local attractions include the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban (the earliest known British Christian martyr, executed circa 250 AD) and numerous Roman remains. To find out what to see and do in the area click here.
Date: Friday 2 March (6pm) Sunday 4 March (2pm), 2007
Location: All Saints Pastoral Centre, Shenley Lane, London Colney, Hertfordshire, AL2 1AF, United Kingdom
Fee: £140 (members); £160 (non-members). Includes registration fee, accommodation, and meals. Reduced rates available for early booking and for undergraduates and unwaged (e.g., student members who book early pay only £55 for the whole weekend!).
Registration: Registration is now closed.
Further information about the conference can also be obtained from Mrs. Janet Jackson, BACIP Administrator, ; +44 (0)116 230 1057, or on our website at www.bacip.org.uk/conference/2007.php.
The Centre is ideally situated on the outskirts of London and lies south of St. Albans in Hertfordshire. There is easy access from the M25 Motorway and good connections from the M1 Motorway and A1(M). St. Albans Thameslink Railway Station is only 4 miles away with fast connections to London, Brighton or Bedford. Both London Luton and London Stanstead Airports offer easy access to the centre via connections to the Thameslink Railway as does Gatwick Airport. Full travel instructions are available from All Saints Pastoral Centre. For other routes please use the AA Route Planner the postcode of the Centre is AL2 1AF.
Why not help publicize our conference? You can download a poster to display at your place of work or in your department. Posters require Adobe Acrobat Reader.