Just out today: my article titled “Studying Close Entity Encounters of the Psychedelic Kind: Insights from the Cognitive Evolutionary Science of Religion” has just been published online (open access) at this link.
If you prefer to just download it and take a peek you can do so here.
This article calls for a more robust mutual engagement between the science of psychedelic experiences (SPE) and the cognitive evolutionary science of religion (CESR). Greater collaboration between researchers in these disciplines could open up opportunities for producing new knowledge not only about the human brain and the therapeutic effects of psychedelics, but also about the evolution of our species and our prospects for creatively enjoying our minds and peacefully living in pluralistic groups in a rapidly changing global environment. However, there are at least three major challenges facing the recently renewed field of SPE: 1) articulating adequate theoretical grounding for its research in a way that can be communicated to neighbor disciplines, 2) developing experimental designs that provide adequate warrant for its cross-cultural and more historically oriented claims, and 3) avoiding psychological, political, and philosophical minefields that could lead to an (over)reaction to the use of psychedelics in research of the sort that almost destroyed the field in the 1970s. While expressing a hope for reciprocal interaction, this article focuses primarily on some lessons learned by scholars in CESR – in relation to material theoretical developments, methodological testing strategies, and minefield navigation experiences – that might provide inspiration for scholars in SPE as they work to keep the renaissance in their field from going “off the rails.”