$3.7M Study Questions Origins of Faith

UK researchers will ask if people believe in God naturally
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 20, 2008 1:40 PM CST
Researchers at Oxford, pictured above, are embarking on a $3.7 million project to determine why we believe in God.   (Shutterstock.com)
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(Newser) – UK researchers will spend $3.7 million probing whether belief in God is a matter of nature or nurture, the Times of London reports. The University of Oxford crew will examine whether faith in a deity conferred an evolutionary advantage, or might be byproduct of other advantageous human characteristics, such as sociability.

The researchers will approach religion via the cognitive sciences, which combine  evolutionary biology, neuroscience, linguistics, and computer sciences to examine human behavior, the Times reports. They will not attempt  to "prove or disprove any aspect of religion,” one researcher said. The 3-year-study was funded by the John Templeton Foundation, a Pennsylvania nonprofit that supports investigations of "life’s biggest questions."