A common theme in popular discourse is that scientific explanations of the world have 'explained away' the need for religion. This project investigates the concept of 'explaining away' in the science-religion context and considers whether there is any need for a religious explanation in addition to a scientific explanation or, more specifically, under what circumstances a scientific explanation might undermine a religious one.
The project will clarify the conditions which need to be satisfied for one explanation to 'explain away' another, and will use computer simulations to model the changes of beliefs in social groups. An academic workshop on the project topic, and a training day on the wider issues of science and religion aimed at an audience of ministers of religion and laymen will be organized.
Given that one aspect of the project's innovation comes from its interdisciplinary nature, drawing on research in the fields of artificial intelligence, formal epistemology, and computer models of social networks, it is hoped that it will have a novel impact both within, and beyond, the field of science and religion.