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Computer Modeling Religion

“When we’re using computers, we’re trying to take seriously the fact that religion occurs in a complex adaptive social system. It’s a very tangled system with all kinds of causes,” Wesley Wildman said. “Putting all of those causal pieces together is what computers are so very good at.” Basically, Wildman and his team use a computational model as an artificial or virtual system that provides a way to experiment with ideas and test hypothesis before they’re tried in the real world. Mostly, they model social systems. “We might look at mutually escalating religious violence, or at the process of secularization; trying to understand how people stop being religious, or stop identifying as religious.”

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