This new programme from the BBC pulls together some strings from evolutionary biology and neuroscience to attempt to explain religious and other beliefs.
I think these programmes will only be available to UK listeners, but if I can find a transcript I’ll put up a link.
From the programme information…
Part 1: Evolution:
We are programmed by our genes to believe in supernatural powers and to obey moral codes. Is this because it gave our ancestors an evolutionary advantage? Iranians, Scandinavians, Papuans, chimpanzees, twins and wedding rings offer some startling answers.
Part 2: Neurology
Almost half the population claim to have felt the presence of a power beyond themselves. But what happens in the brain during religious experiences? If magnetism can produce visions, then what price mysticism and meditation? What’s the difference between sainthood and schizophrenia? And why are many believers convinced that God speaks to them in their dreams?