Can scientists study religion? Ilkka Pyysiainen says that they can. While the study of religion cannot be reduced to other disciplines, it must not ignore what other disciplines have learned about human thought and behavior. In this collection of essays, Pyysiainen shows how findings from cognitive science can offer new directions to debates in religion. After providing a historical and theoretical overview of the cognitive science of religion, Pyysiainen demonstrates how knowledge of the mind's workings can help deconstruct such concepts as "god," "ideology," "culture," "magic," "miracles," and "religion." For scholars of religion or for scholars of the mind-brain, Magic, Miracles, and Religion provides a helpful overview to this emerging field.
Ilkka Pyysiainen's scientific unweaving of magic, miracles, and religion illuminates these universal creations of the human imagination in ways that render them even more awesome to behold.--Scott Atran, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Paris, France