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Committee For Scientific Examination Of Religion Appoints Avalos Executive Director

by Matt Cherry


The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 13, Number 1.


Professor Hector Avalos, Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Iowa State University, is the new executive director of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER). CSER, a sub-committee of the Council for Secular Humanism, examines religious beliefs and claims in the light of scientific inquiry.

The inter-disciplinary committee includes specialists in biblical scholarship, archeology, linguistics, psychology, philosophy and the social sciences. In the 1980s CSER organized several groundbreaking conferences exploring the historical evidence regarding Jesus and the origins of the Old and New Testaments. CSER has also produced studies of faith healing and the truth behind satanic cult scares.

Professor Avalos will continue CSER's studies of the Judeo-Christian tradition, while increasing its examination of other world religions. CSER has already launched a sub-committee for the study of Islam and the Koran, and it plans to establish a group of Hindu scholars. The committee will also apply scientific techniques to explore the psychology of belief and the sociology of religion.

Professor Gerald Larue, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Archeology at the University of Southern California, will continue as the President of CSER. CSER will work closely with the Centre for Inquiry: Critical Studies in Religion, Ethics and Society at Westminster College, Oxford. Professor R. Joseph Hoffmann, the head of the Oxford center, has long been a leading figure in CSER.


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