Advisory Board

Professor Scott Atran

Scott Atran, Ph.D. is Adjunct Research Scientist, Research Center for Group Dynamics, University of Michigan; Adjunct Professor, Psychology Department, University of Michigan; Visiting Professor, Ford School of Public Policy; Presidential Scholar, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and Directeur de Recherche, Anthropologie, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.
Scott’s research and teaching interests are centered in the following areas: cognitive and linguistic anthropology, ethnobiology, environmental decision making, categorization and reasoning, evolutionary psychology, anthropology of science (history and philosophy of natural history and natural philosophy); Middle East ethnography and political economy; natural history of Lowland Maya, cognitive and commitment theories of religion, terrorism, and foreign affairs.
His books include Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists, In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion (Evolution and Cognition Series), The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature (Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology), Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science, Talking to the Enemy: Violent Extremism, Sacred Values, and What It Means to Be Human, and Values, Empathy, and Fairness across Social Barriers (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences).
Scott’s papers include Constraints on a Theory of Hominid Tool Making, Covert Fragmenta and the Origins of the Botanical Family, Ordinary Constraints on the Semantics of Living Kinds: A Commonsense Alternative to Recent Treatments of Natural-Object Terms, A Question of Honor: Why the Taliban Fight and What to Do About It, The Evolution of Religion: How Cognitive By-Products, Adaptive Learning Heuristics, Ritual Displays, and Group Competition Generate Deep Commitments to Prosocial Religions and Interview with Ramadan Shallah, Secretary General, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Scott earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University.
Watch Sam Harris Vs Scott Atran Enlightenment 2.0, Scott Atran: Reacting to Terror, Why Do People Become Terrorists? w/ Author Scott Atran, Beyond Belief: Enlightenment 2.0 – Scott Atran, and Scott Atran: The Evolution of Terror Networks. Visit his Facebook page.