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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