Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

4.0 3
by Pascal Boyer
     
 

ISBN-10: 0465006965

ISBN-13: 9780465006960

Pub. Date: 05/28/2002

Publisher: Basic Books


Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly…  See more details below

Overview


Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and where it comes from.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465006960
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/28/2002
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
386,697
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1What Is the Origin?1
2What Supernatural Concepts Are Like51
3The Kind of Mind It Takes93
4Why Gods and Spirits?137
5Why Do Gods and Spirits Matter?169
6Why Is Religion About Death?203
7Why Rituals?229
8Why Doctrines, Exclusion and Violence?265
9Why Belief?297
Further readings331
Notes335
References343
Index359

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Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
The_hibernators More than 1 year ago
Not an introductory book The intent of this book is to use anthropology and cognitive science to "explain" why religious beliefs developed (and are still common) in humans. I started reading this book with the expectation that it was intended as popular science; but it assumed that the reader already had a background in anthropology and cognitive science. Boyer made his explanations using terminology that was unnecessarily complex; and although the meaning could be discerned from the context, it made the narrative into very heavy reading. Furthermore, he made many bold statements without providing evidence, possibly because he figured his readers had a background in this area and knew where he was coming from. The examples he did provide often fell short for me as a scientist--I felt there were too many obvious loopholes to the experiments described, and it was unclear whether these loopholes were addressed. Overall, I think this book may be interesting to someone who has already read a lot of literature in this field, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone with a casual interest, nor as introductory material.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago