William Sims Bainbridge


William Sims Bainbridge earned his sociology degree from Harvard university with a dissertation and first book on the history of the social movement that produced spaceflight technology, then wrote his second book based on ethnography of The Process new religious movement.  In collaboration with Rodney Stark, he published three books on the theory of religious movements, while also conducting technology studies.  Subsequently he published these religion-related books: The Sociology of Religious Movements (1997), The Endtime Family: Children of God (2002), God from the Machine: Artificial Intelligence Models of Religious Cognition (2006), Across the Secular Abyss (2007), eGods: Faith Versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming (2013), An Information Technology Surrogate for Religion: The Veneration of Deceased Family Members in Online Games (2014), and Dynamic Secularization: Information Technology and the Tension Between Religion and Science (2017).  After teaching sociology for nearly twenty years, in 1992 he moved to the National Science Foundation to manage its Sociology Program.  Having extensively programmed computer simulations of social theories and statistical analysis software, he was well prepared to represent the social sciences on the Digital Library Initiative, and transferred in 2001 to the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. (The views expressed in his contributions do not necessarily represent the views of the National Science Foundation or the United States.)

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