David Sloan Wilson has a wide-ranging conversation with Robert Bellah, the legendary sociologist, about his book “Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age“. How did Bellah adopt an evolutionary perspective and what does it add to the more traditional study of sociology and religion? What does he think of the work of scientists studying religion whose primary training is in evolution? How about the New Atheism Movement? What does theology–as distinct from the scholarly study of religion–contribute to our understanding of religion from an evolutionary perspective? Can evolutionary theory contribute to theology? Bellah’s familiarity with multiple disciplines and his own panoramic vision reflects his definition of sociology as “the world and all its contents”.

The conversation took place at at a symposium on spiritual progress jointly organized by Princeton University’s Center for Theological Inquiry and the John Templeton Foundation.

Published On: October 19, 2012

David Sloan Wilson

David Sloan Wilson

David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the rest of life, both in his own research and as director of EvoS, a unique campus-wide evolutionary studies program that recently received NSF funding to expand into a nationwide consortium. His books include Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives, and The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time and Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others. .

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