Thursday, December 31, 2009
Can Science Explain Religion? - The New York Review of Books
The NYRoB reviews the Evolution of God where Robert Wright uses game theory and materialism to explain the emergence of the world’s religions. While game theory can be used to explain incentives in behavior for very specific circumstances that often never appear in the real world, its assumptions and inherent limitations prevent the author from engaging in meaningful analysis. Game theory’s weakness is that it cannot account for history and assumes that all human activity is economically determined. Wright uses an ahistoric model with a flawed anthropology that is closed to reality and he dismisses all ontological considerations. This philosophic framework does not allow him to approach or even perceive his subject. Game theory is a poor methodological tool even in the social sciences and Wright’s account is predetermined by his philosophic approach. His conclusions are ideological, methodologically determined, and ultimately irrelevant.