Review in New Yorker of philosopher David Dennett's book on the natural science of religion.
What believers in scientism, like Dennett, forget is that their own belief-systems rest on certain postulates (underlying assumptions). The central postulate of evolutionary theory is that life is the product of an individual & species-based survival mechanism. Dennett goes on to apply such a theory to the origins of religious thinking itself.
But evolutionary theory does not deal with the basic structural elements of the universe - space, time, stars, planets, moons. And it's these elements, perhaps, which were the primary focus of early religious speculation. Where did they come from?
Scientific work stems from free thought - speculation - theory - based strictly on data, facts, whatever is the case. But evolutionists (polemical ones, that is, like Dennett) do not acknowledge similar procedures in religious thinking, which is characterized (objectified) as some kind of evolutionary survival mechanism.
I would suggest, to the contrary, that religious thought is (in part - and only in part : ie., the scientific part) an early form of science, based on observation and reflection about "what is the case" with regard to life and the universe.
Think of it as going on - not as a result of some kind of intellectual hunter-gather mechanism - but during the cave peoples' & archaic citizens' free time : their musing about reality.
Which, needless to say, may still have a lot to offer with regard to what, ultimately, is the case.