Turning history into a binary code – the DRH in Science

sciencemagazineIn January of this year, Anders Petersen folded his nearly 2-meter frame into an airplane seat for a flight from Copenhagen to Vancouver, Canada, crossing two continents on his way to check boxes on a computer screen. It would be a new experience for the religious studies scholar from Aarhus University in Denmark, who, like many in the humanities, has made a career out of “sitting in a room and writing my books and my articles” alone, eschewing even a cellphone. Now, he had agreed to help test a burgeoning new theory about the origins of religion (see main story) by translating the nuanced knowledge in his head into the kind of data that scientists need: a database’s binary code of yes/no answers. [more]

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