According to the Book of Genesis our ancestor fell from a state of natural innocence when he ate the ambiguous fruit. To attain knowledge of good and evil is still the god-defying and distinctive goal of human beings. And always we find ourselves unable to bear the knowledge, and always erecting filters to protect the idea of our own interior innocence. One such filter is the strong resistance made by many scholars to the very notion of social determinants of belief. They would rather think of beliefs floating free in an autonomous vacuum, developing according to their own internal logic, bumping into other ideas by the chance of historical contact and being modified by new insights. This is an inverted materialism. In ...

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