Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief

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by Lewis Wolpert, L. Wolpert
     
 

ISBN-10: 0393064492

ISBN-13: 9780393064490

Pub. Date: 01/29/2007

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

Why do 70 percent of Americans believe in angels, while others are convinced that they've been abducted by aliens? Why does every society around the world have a religious tradition of some sort? What makes people believe in improbable things when all the evidence points to the contrary? In Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, evolutionary biologist Lewis Wolpert…  See more details below

Overview

Why do 70 percent of Americans believe in angels, while others are convinced that they've been abducted by aliens? Why does every society around the world have a religious tradition of some sort? What makes people believe in improbable things when all the evidence points to the contrary? In Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, evolutionary biologist Lewis Wolpert delves into the important and timely debate over the nature of belief, looking at belief's psychological basis to discover just what evolutionary purpose it could serve. Are there advantages to imaginary friends and fantasy worlds, superstitions and religions? Are we born with an evolutionary defense mechanism to believe in things that make us feel better about the world? Wolpert leads the reader through all that science can tell us about the beliefs we are so instinctually sure of. He deftly explores these questions and the different types of belief-those of children, of animals, of the religious, and of those suffering from psychiatric disorders-and he asks whether it is possible to live without belief, or whether it is a necessary component of a functioning society.

About the Author:
Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College London

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393064490
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
01/29/2007
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


Introduction     ix
Everyday     3
Belief     23
Children     35
Animals     51
Tools     69
Believing     83
False     97
Religion     117
Paranormal beliefs     139
Health     161
Moral     187
Science     201
Believable?     217
References     221
Index     231

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Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Professor Wolpert writes well but the content density is much too low. To be truthful, I was unable to finish the book (so much to read, so little time). But after more than 60 pages there had been little payback for my effort, and his characterization of animals and their thought processes seemed largely gratuitous and superficial.