Excerpt from the

Introduction by Emily Willoughby

Recent research in behavioral genetics has shed some light on the importance religion can have in many people’s lives. This research suggests that religiosity itself is something that varies innately between individuals, and that the predisposition to religious worldviews is in fact heritable.1 This is consistent with the finding that religious belief is a “human universal”, meaning that every human culture on planet Earth has some form of religion.2 The implication is that religion is more than a cultural fixation: it is a product of our inborn psychology. Expecting a religious person to give up their faitheven if, from your perspective, you have flawless reasoning for why they should—is akin to expecting a right-handed person to start using their left hand with an equal amount of precision and dexterity.

In our view, attacking Christianity as a tool for advocating evolutionary science is not only ineffectual, but patently irrelevant as well. Most Christians worldwide are not creationists, and Christians have some very respectable advocates of evolutionary science to call their own, including Francis Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project, and biologist and science popularizer Kenneth Miller. The question of evolution is distinct from the question of God, and we believe that clearly separating these two issues is crucial to resolving the public debate.

  • 1.Koenig, L. B. et al. (2005). Genetic and Environmental Influences on Religiousness: Findings for Retrospective and Current Religiousness Ratings. Journal of Personality, 73(2), 471–488.
  • 2.Pinker, S. (2004). The Evolutionary Psychology of Religion. Freethought Today, 22(1). Retrieved 29 July 2016.