24. The Arts Transform the Cognitive Science of Religion
The Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR) is becoming increasingly experimental. Its methods are winning the hearts of next-generation humanities scholars of religion. Yet many present-generation humanities scholars of religion remain unaware of recent advances and have yet to participate. I hope to persuade such scholars that it is worth attempting collaborative science. CSR research will benefit from a fuller participation of mature humanities scholars of religion because their training affords a rich knowledge of religious facts. By the same token, humanities scholars of religion should be interested in scientific approaches because cumulative intellectual progress in every empirical discipline relies on hypothesis-driven research. My argument comes in three parts. First, I clarify the exciting possibilities for cumulative intellectual progress that hypothesis-driven research uniquely affords. Second, I describe recent advances from humanities/CSR collaborations, hazarding a few predictions about what to expect next. Third, I offer practical advice to humanities scholars about how to pursue productive CSR collaborations.