Kevin Ladd

Kevin Ladd

Kevin L. Ladd (Ph.D., University of Denver) is Associate Professor of Psychology at Indiana University South Bend. His research focuses mainly on the psychology of prayer. This work is outlined in the text (2013; Guilford), The Psychology of Prayer: A Scientific Approach, co-authored with Dr. Bernard Spilka. His other projects explore the interface of science and religion with art, music, ritual, and magic.

Posts by Kevin Ladd

September 6, 2013

Getting Knowledge Out of Disciplinary Silos

The dialogue composed by Charles Hirschkind captures a key challenge for our New Directions in the Study of Prayer meetings and virtually all Social Science Research Council-type projects. In order to land a typical job in the academy, you need to have some sort of disciplinary home. But as any reader of Stephen King’s Misery can attest, a home can become a prison.

Sometimes the metaphor is shifted slightly and the challenge is referred to as a matter of “intellectual silos,” highlighting the tendency to gather and guard one’s disciplinary fodder in what is perceived to be a safely personal, private environment. While there are different kinds of silos with distinct purposes in the life of a farm (that’s for a different blog!), a commonality is that what is put into silos is generally meant to be taken out in a relatively short span of time. If you don’t follow this guideline you can end up with an amazingly pungent aroma that permeates clothing and skin more deeply than soap can cleanse. The situation is not so very different in the academy.

July 10, 2013

Should Atheists Pray?

A recent Room for Debate discussion in The New York Times (to which I contributed, along with Hemant Mehta, Rev. Joy J. Moore, Hal Taussig, and Deepak Chopra) began with this question and it elicited the anticipated wide range of responses. Reading through the comments prompted some additional thoughts.

It is important to clarify that whether or not you think atheists should pray, the fact is that people who are atheists already say that they do pray. Other atheists say this is impossibly deviant behavior and chastise those praying atheists for being so unorthodox. What this reveals is the great diversity (and potential for internal conflict) inherent in claiming the label of “atheist” for oneself. Richard Dawkins noted this some time ago when he suggested just how diverse atheism can be based on the perceived probability of God’s existence.