Hmm. Not buying John Shook’s warning to refrain from naturalistic, scientific and/or evolutionary explanations for mystical/religious beliefs for a couple reasons.
1) It may have the benefit of being true and the study of these issues may offer explanatory power to mystical thinking and other aspects of human psychology.
2) There are many features of evolution that are “defective” yet serve their function well such as the blind spot in the eye, the laryngeal nerve etc. Just because they function doesn’t mean that they are “good” or “right” or even necessarily desirable.
3) I tend to believe that with every capitulation that faith makes to science, every time religion adopts or co-opts scientific principles and works scientific explanations into the fabric of its dogma, it makes it easier for the fence sitters to make a choice in favor of non-faith. I think it lowers the platform from which people make their leap of faith until it’s more like a mere step of reason.
4) If it is true and can be shown scientifically to be plausible, likely or nearly certain, then no one should “be careful” about giving believers new ammunition. That would be tantamount to not pursuing the science around the Big Bang because Catholics have embraced the idea as “the moment when God created the universe”.
We need to make sure that we don’t overstate the facts. Psychology doesn’t fossilize so we can’t make claims that are unscientific or we will commit the very crime that has driven us to skepticism ourselves. Seems to me we should pursue science where it goes, and speculate and hypothesize cavalierly as we seek answers though.