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Social Sciences - Religions - 30.10.2018
AI systems shed light on root cause of religious conflict
Artificial intelligence can help us to better understand the causes of religious violence and to potentially control it, according to a new Oxford University collaboration. The study is one of the first to be published that uses psychologically realistic AI - as opposed to machine learning. The research published in The Journal for Artificial Societies and Social Stimulation , combines computer modelling and cognitive psychology to create an AI system able to mimic human religiosity.

Religions - 12.09.2018
Religious background more important than faith education for academic success
The academic advantages associated with a faith school education are short lived, and are mainly explained by home background, new research from UCL shows. UCL Institute of Education (IOE) researchers analysed data on more than 10,000 people born in England and Wales in a single week in 1970, who are taking part in the 1970 British Cohort Study.  The research looked at whether faith schools, across both the state and private sectors, gave an academic advantage to their pupils at O level, A level, and at university.

Life Sciences - Religions - 07.08.2018
Lost Norse of Greenland fuelled the medieval ivory trade, ancient walrus DNA suggests
Lost Norse of Greenland fuelled the medieval ivory trade, ancient walrus DNA suggests
New DNA analysis reveals that, before their mysterious disappearance, the Norse colonies of Greenland had a "near monopoly" on Europe's walrus ivory supply. An overreliance on this trade may have contributed to Norse Greenland's collapse when the medieval market declined. The very thing which gave the society its initial resilience, may have also contained the seeds of its vulnerability James Barrett The Icelandic Sagas tell of Erik the Red: exiled for murder in the late 10th century he fled to southwest Greenland, establishing its first Norse settlement.

Religions - 18.07.2018
Secular countries can expect future economic growth, confirms new study
New research measuring the importance of religion in 109 countries spanning the entire 20th century has reignited an age-old debate around the link between secularisation and economic growth. The study, published in Science Advances, has shown that a decline in religion influences a country's future economic prosperity.

Social Sciences - Religions - 05.12.2017
Storytellers promoted co-operation among hunter-gatherers before advent of religion
Storytellers promoted co-operation among hunter-gatherers before advent of religion
Storytelling promoted co-operation in hunter-gatherers prior to the advent of organised religion, a new UCL study reveals. The research shows that hunter-gatherer storytellers were essential in promoting co-operative and egalitarian values before comparable mechanisms evolved in larger agricultural societies, such as moralising high-gods.

History / Archeology - Religions - 05.12.2017
Could ancient bones suggest Santa was real?
New Oxford University research has revealed that bones long venerated as relics of the saint, do in fact date from the right historical period. One of the most revered Christian saints, St Nicholas' remains are held in the Basilica di San Nicola, Bari, Southern Puglia, since 1087, where they are buried in a crypt beneath a marble altar, with others preserved in the Chiesa di San Nicolo al Lido in Venice.

Religions - Social Sciences - 06.10.2017
Religion and social factors top IVF concerns
Although one in 8 couples experience fertility issues and many of them turn to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to help them have a child, usage varies significantly across Europe. A new Oxford study has shed light on some of the reasons behind this - pinpointing moral and social acceptance of the treatment and religion as key.

Social Sciences - Religions - 06.10.2017
Social factors top IVF concerns
Although one in 8 couples experience fertility issues and many of them turn to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to help them have a child, usage varies significantly across Europe. A new Oxford study has shed light on some of the reasons behind this - pinpointing moral and social acceptance of the treatment and religion as key.

Religions - 31.08.2017
Reformation Rebels: The surprising histories of Benedictine monks in exile
Reformation Rebels: The surprising histories of Benedictine monks in exile (31 August 2017) Sixteenth and seventeenth century Benedictine monks refused abstinence, died in duels, went off to war and spread illegal Catholic doctrine, a new study has revealed. The Monks in Motion project, led by Dr James Kelly of the Department of Theology and Religion , has brought together records of English and Welsh Benedictine monks exiled in Europe in a first-of-its-kind searchable database and uncovered some of their remarkable histories.

Life Sciences - Religions - 27.07.2017
Genetic study suggests present-day Lebanese descend from biblical Canaanites
Genetic study suggests present-day Lebanese descend from biblical Canaanites
Researchers analysed DNA extracted from 4,000-year-old human remains to reveal that more than 90% of Lebanese ancestry is from ancient Canaanite populations. The fact that we can retrieve whole genomes from conditions not considered ideal for DNA preservation also shows how far the field have advanced technically Freddi Scheib Scientist have sequenced the entire genomes of 4,000-year-old Canaanite individuals who inhabited the Near East region during the Bronze Age, and compared these to other ancient and present-day populations.

Religions - Social Sciences - 24.03.2017
Study into who is least afraid of death
A new study examines all robust, available data on how fearful we are of what happens once we shuffle off this mortal coil.  They find that atheists are among those least afraid of dying...and, perhaps not surprisingly, the very religious.  Religion has long been thought to be a solution to the problem of death.

Religions - 19.12.2016
Eighteenth Century monks' favourite tipple
Eighteenth Century monks’ favourite tipple
Two Eighteenth Century drinks recipes, discovered by researchers from Durham University's Department of Theology and Religion , have revealed that a brandy-based cocktail was a favourite drink amongst a community of English Catholic monks exiled in France. The recipes were discovered by Dr James Kelly , Research Fellow in Early Modern British and Irish Catholicism, during research work for the Monks in Motion project.

Health - Religions - 09.09.2016
European region most sceptical in the world on vaccine safety
European region most sceptical in the world on vaccine safety
Europe named as the most sceptical region on vaccine safety in the world, according to the largest ever global survey of vaccine confidence. Researchers from Imperial College London and their collaborators surveyed nearly 66,000 people from 67 countries to explore their views on whether vaccines are important, safe, effective, and compatible with their religious beliefs.

Religions - Social Sciences - 10.03.2016
American devotion to religion is waning, according to new study
American devotion to religion is waning, according to new study
Religion in the United States is declining and mirroring patterns found across the western world, according to new research from UCL and Duke University in the United States. The study published in the American Journal of Sociology shows a drop in the number of Americans who claim religious affiliations, attend church regularly and believe in God.

Religions - 12.10.2015
Launch of Oxford centre for the study of religious relics
Religious relics are to become the subject of a new research initiative launching today at Keble College's Advanced Studies Centre (ASC).  Ancient Christian relics are objects that survive from ancient times, often associated with a saint's body or their belongings, and usually kept as objects of historical interest or spiritual devotion.

Religions - Health - 30.09.2015
Islamist insurgency strongly influences where polio occurs
Islamist insurgency strongly influences where polio occurs
Islamist insurgency has had a strong effect on where polio cases occur since 2011, potentially as a reaction to the use of counterinsurgency strategies, according to new research led by UCL. In research published today in the open access journal Globalization and Health, lead author Dr Jonathan Kennedy (UCL Political Science) and colleagues from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Cambridge University (Professor Lawrence King) analysed cross-national data for the period 2003-14.

Religions - Social Sciences - 27.03.2015
'Openness matters more than your religion to potential romantic partners'
A study has revealed that non-believers assume that people who go to church or other places of worship are 'close minded', and they would find this personality trait more off-putting in a partner than their religious views.  In two studies researchers created a number of dating profiles for both religious and non-religious individuals and asked volunteers from a range of religious and non-religious backgrounds to rate them for attractiveness.

Health - Religions - 19.03.2015
Human parasites found in medieval cesspit reveal links between Middle East and Europe
Analysis of a latrine in Jerusalem that dates back over 500 years finds human parasites common in northern Europe yet very rare in Middle East at the time, suggesting long-distance trade or pilgrimage routes and shedding light on prevalent infectious diseases of the age. Jerusalem's importance to Christians in medieval Europe made it a key destination for both pilgrimage and trade.

Religions - 06.02.2015
Why ‘Religion’ can’t explain terrorism
Headlines and policy initiatives need to move away from using ‘religion' as a way of explaining many terrorist attacks, research has shown. A Senior Research Associate at Lancaster is proposing a new analytical model in the study of terrorism which gives more informed answers to the ‘why' questions that surround terrorist attacks.

Religions - Literature / Linguistics - 03.09.2014
One of world’s earliest Christian charms found
03 Sep 2014 A 1,500 year-old papyrus fragment found in The University of Manchester's John Rylands Library has been identified as one the world's earliest surviving Christian charms. The remarkable document uniquely contains some of the earliest documented references to the Last Supper and 'manna from heaven'.