SI White
div style="clear: both; height: 2em;"> 

The Evolution of Religious Belief: Seeking Deep Evolutionary Roots (Panel Discussion)
Q?rius Theater

 Barbara J. King

  Dr. Barbara J. King. Image credit: Steven Salpukas.




FREE ticketed event

Barbara J. King, Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary, will discuss how we may better understand the human impulse for religious belief by adopting an evolutionary perspective. King will describe the ways in which an understanding of the cognitive and emotional behaviors of monkeys and apes, human ancestors, and our evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals may aid us in this endeavor. Our species evolved religiosity, she suggests, in large part because we evolved first as primates deeply invested in belongingness: the drive to matter, emotionally, to others who matter to us. King is a biological anthropologist whose work, including her books Evolving God (2017 version with an updated afterword), Personalities on the Plate (2017), and How Animals Grieve (2013), and her pieces for NPR, The Atlantic, Scientific American, and Aeon, explore what it means to be human--- and at the same time, what it means to be animal.

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring:

  • Dr. Nancy Howell from St. Paul School of Theology,
  • Dr. Michael Tenneson from Evangel University, and
  • Fr. Peter Ryan from Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Jim Miller from the Presbyterian Association on Science, Technology, and the Christian Faith.

Please register in advance for this free event by clicking the button below.

Accessibility Information

The National Museum of Natural History is committed to providing inclusive experiences for all audiences. Please contact 202-633-3611 or email for access services. To view and print a map with accessible entrances, curb cuts, designated parking, and more for Smithsonian facilities on the National Mall, please download the Accessibility Map here. 

If you would like to have a sign language interpreter or real-time captioning (CART), you should call (202) 633-3611 or send an e-mail to Please allow time to schedule the request by contacting the Accessibility Office at least 2 weeks prior to the program. We will do our best to accommodate last-minute requests.

Time: 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Ground Floor, National Museum of Natural History
10th St. and Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20013-7012
United States

We're sorry, the deadline for buying tickets for this event has passed.