Who Was John Morrison Moore?

The BECB (that’s the big evolution/creation book) is slowly winding its way towards a complete first draft. I just finished writing a chapter about religious experiences. Creationists routinely tell me they have had them, you see.

So over the last few months I have read my share of the literature on the subject. I started with classics like William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience, which actually made for more interesting reading than you might expect. James’ approach to the subject is pretty measured and reasonable, especially given the state of science at the time (his book was published in 1902.) Of course, I do not always agree with his conclusions. I also read Rudolf Otto’s book The Idea of the Holy. This is the book that gave us the term numinous, but beyond that I fear it was a very tough slog. From there I moved on to more recent treatments by people like Richard Swinburne and William Alston, as well as numerous other, more obscure, authors.

While browsing the relevant section of the university library I found a book called Theories of Religious Experience: With Special Reference to James, Otto and Bergson, published in 1938 by John Morrison Moore. The book contains several quotable nuggets, so I tried to find out more about its author. The title page informs me that Moore was a professor at Hamilton College. I also found this webpage, which tells me that Moore was a philosopher and that apparently this book was actually his PhD thesis. Beyond that, I have found nothing. No Wikipedia article for heaven’s sake! On the other hand, I have seen this book cited in other discussions of religious experience, so he is not completely obscure.

So I turn it over to all of you. Anyone know anything about this guy?


  1. #1 david
    December 13, 2010
  2. #3 Greg Esres
    December 13, 2010

    Speaking of religious experiences, I found this book pivotal in getting rid of the last of my religious beliefs:


    Up until I read this book, I thought that the religious conversion experience was to some degree evidence of a possible divine influence.

  3. #4 david
    December 13, 2010

    I am fond of both of these:

    THE PREACHER AND I by Potter, Charles Francis//Scopes. Darrow’s evolution trial preacher, founder first Humanist Society. Unitarian preacher, debater of Baptists. eyewitness and some on glossolalia. Also author of Is That in the Bible? with references of the landoverbaptist.com type.

    They Shall Take Up Serpents: Psychology of the Southern Snake-Handling Cult by La Barre, Weston; University of Minnesota, now reprinted. Maenads. photos. what an experience.

    I’m not telling anyone what to read (with the exception of the Wheaton guy). I’m telling what I like.

  4. #5 kosmodisk
    December 14, 2010

    I thought that the religious conversion experience was to some degree evidence of a possible divine influence.

  5. #6 Jason Rosenhouse
    December 14, 2010

    Thanks for all the help (and the reading recommendations)!

  6. #7 Barry Sweezey
    December 14, 2010

    I’m not a believer, but The Varieties of Religious Experience is one of my favorite books.

  7. #8 Divalent
    December 14, 2010

    “Thanks for all the help (and the reading recommendations)!”
    Are you even thanking the spam-bot? LOL!

    BTW, you might want to post this query on a creationist site. (seriously) Something about “Evolution Blog” and its typical readers doesn’t quite conjure up in my mind the right pool of people to be asking.

  8. #9 kosmodisk
    December 15, 2010

    Also author of Is That in the Bible? with references of the landoverbaptist.com type.

  9. #10 david
    December 15, 2010

    “The Calling,” a four-hour documentary that airs Dec. 20-21 on PBS stations, looks at seven young Muslim, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish seminarians as they train for the ministry, grapple with their sense of calling and their new responsibilities.

  10. #11 Carneades
    March 2, 2011

    Jason, all religious experiences are people’s own mental states at work; to postulate Him as the source,begs the question.
    ” Logic is the bane of theists.” Fr.Griggs
    And please stress the teleonomic argument that there is no directed evolution,which notion would not only violate the Ockham but also contradict science rather than complement it: theistic evolution is just obfuscatory woo, on the same level with the paranormal, no matter how elegantly worded!
    I am writing this months after your article appeared, but this stressing the illogical and non-evidential nature of theistic evolution needs our continual stressing!
    And please stress that in that book!
    The teleonomic argument eviscerates all argument with intent.
    Please respond to this in an essay!
    Thanks for this great blog!
    And you might contribute to mine.

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