|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (March 2013)|
|Born||1952 (age 60–61)
New York City
|Residence||France, United States|
|Fields||Anthropology, psychology, cognitive science|
|Institutions||École pratique des hautes études, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of Michigan, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, École Normale Supérieure|
|Doctoral advisor||Margaret Mead|
Scott Atran (born 1952) is an American and French anthropologist who is a Director of Research in Anthropology at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University in England, Presidential Scholar at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and also holds offices at the University of Michigan. He has studied and written about terrorism, violence and religion, and has done fieldwork with terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists, as well as political leaders.
Education and early career 
Later research and career 
Atran has experimented on the ways scientists and ordinary people categorize and reason about nature, on the cognitive and evolutionary psychology of religion, and on the limits of rational choice in political and cultural conflict. His work has been widely published internationally in the popular press, and in scientific journals in a variety of disciplines. He has briefed members of the U.S. Congress and the National Security Council staff at the White House on the The Devoted Actor versus the Rational Actor in Managing World Conflict, on the Comparative Anatomy and Evolution of Global Network Terrorism, and on Pathways to and from Violent Extremism. He was an early critic of U.S. intervention in Iraq and of deepening involvement in Afghanistan, and he has been engaged in conflict negotiations in the Middle East. Atran has also been a staunch opponent of political attempts to eliminate government funding for social science, arguing that it is critical to the national interest, including innovation and security in business, technology, medicine and defense.
In addition to his recent work on the ideology and social evolution of transnational terrorism, which has included fieldwork with mujahedin and supporters in Europe, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia, and North Africa, Atran conducts ongoing research in Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S. on universal and culture-specific aspects of biological categorization and environmental reasoning and decision making among Maya and other Native Americans.
Atran's debates with "new atheists" Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins and others during the Beyond Belief symposium on the limits of reason and the role of religion in modern society highlight the differences between "new atheists" who see religion as fundamentally false and politically and socially repressive, or worse, and those like Atran who see unfalsifiable but semantically absurd religious beliefs as historically critical to the formation of large-scale societies and current motivators for both conflict and cooperation.
Atran's publications include Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science, In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion, Plants of the Peten Itza' Maya (co-authored with Ximena Lois and Edilberto Ucan Ek), The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature (co-authored with Douglas Medin), and Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists.
Atran has taught at Cambridge University, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the École des Hautes Études in Paris. He is currently a research director in anthropology at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and member of the Jean Nicod Institute at the École Normale Supérieure. He is also visiting professor of psychology and public policy at the University of Michigan, presidential scholar in sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, senior research fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, and cofounder of ARTIS Research and Risk Modeling.
- Fondements de l'histoire naturelle (Bruxelles: Editions Complexe, 1986. Pp. 244. ISBN 2-87027-180-8 )
- Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science (Cambridge University Press, 1993 ISBN=9780521438711)
- In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion (Oxford University Press, 2002; ISBN=9780198034056 )
- Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists (HarperCollins, 2010; ISBN=9780062020741 
- Histoire du concept d'espece dans les sciences de la vie, ed. (1987)
- Folkbiology, ed. with Douglas Medin (1999)
- Plants of the Peten Itza' Maya, with Ximena Lois and Edilberto Ucan Ek (2004)
- The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature, with Douglas Medin (2008)
- Values, Empathy, and Fairness Across Social Barriers. ed., Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, with Oscar Vilarroya, Arcadi Navarro, Kevin Ochsner and Adolf Tobena (2009)
- Michael, Bond (October 25, 2010). "How to catch the ‘jihadi bug’". New Scientist. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Sharon, Begley (August 25, 2006). "Science Journal: Key to peace in Mideast may be ‘sacred beliefs’". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Henig, Robin Marantz (March 4, 2007). "Darwin’s God". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- "U.S. Government Efforts to Counter Violent Extremism" (PDF). Retrieved March 18, 2013. Text "Committee on Armed Services United States Senate, Government Printing Office " ignored (help)
- Bohannon, John (March 11, 2010). "Should Social Scientists Help the U.S. Fight Terror?". Sciencemag.org. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Benson, Etienne (April 2003). "Thinking Green". American Psychological Association. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Scott Atran, "Folkbiology and the anthropology of science: Cognitive universals and cultural particulars," Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1998) 547-609, cite web|url=http://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_00000109/fr/
- Scott Atran, Douglas Medin, Norbert Ross, Elizabeth Lynch, John Coley, Edilberto Ucan Ek’‖, Valentina Vapnarsky, "Folkecology and commons management in the Maya Lowlands," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, June 22, 1999, vol. 96 no. 13, pp. 7598–7603 |url=http://www.pnas.org/content/96/13/7598.full}
- Bulbulia, Joseph (2009). "Religion as Evolutionary Cascade: On Scott Atran, In M. Stausberg (Ed.), Contemporary Theories of Religion: A Critical Companion". Routledge. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Scott Atran and Ari Norenzayan, "Religion's Evolutionary Landscape: Counterintuition, commitment, compassion, communion" BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES, (2004) v. 27, pp. 713 – 770 url=http://www.psych.ubc.ca/~ara/Manuscripts/AtranNorenzayanBBS.pdf
- "The Evolution of Religion". Mitpressjournals.org. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- "Religious and Sacred Imperatives in Human Conflict". Sciencemag.org. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Scott Atran. "Genesis of Suicide Terrorism". Sciencemag.org. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "Sacred Bariers to Conflict Resolution" (PDF). Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "Biology of Cultural Conflict". royalsocietypublishing.org. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Bohannon, John (February 15, 2011). "Survey Says: War is the Irrational Choice". Sciencemag.org. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- "Devoted Actor Versus Rational Actor for Understanding World Conflict". Cstsp.aaas.org. November 23, 2009. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "Terrorism and Radicalization: What Not to DO, What to DO". Edge.org. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "Microsoft Word – Atran Statement 3-10-10 ETC Hearing" (PDF). Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- Scott Atran, "US off Target in Terror War," Detroit Free Press, Marh 7, 2003 |url=http://sitemaker.umich.edu/satran/files/satran_3-7-03_detroit_fp.pdf
- Atran, Scott (December 12, 2009). "To Beat Al Qaeda, Look to the East". The New York Times. Pakistan;Indonesia;Afghanistan. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- Atran, Scott (January 24, 2009). "How Words Could End a War". The New York Times. Israel;West Bank;Gaza Strip. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- Atran, Scott (June 29, 2010). "Why We Talk To Terrorists". The New York Times. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- Atran, Scott (October 26, 2010). "Turning the Taliban Against Al Qaeda". The New York Times. Afghanistan. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "Social Warfare". Foreign Policy. March 15, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Enfield, Nick (September 18, 2009). "Common Tragedy". Times Literary Supplement. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- "The Reality Club: BEYOND BELIEF". Edge.org. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- Gray, John (December 2010). "The Privilege of Absurdity". Literary Review. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Bartlett, Tom (August 13, 2012). "Dusting Off GOD: A new science of religion says God has gotten a bad rap". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- "God and the Ivory Tower". Foreign Policy. August 6, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2013.