Download In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion by Scott Atran PDF

April 5, 2017 | Evolution | By admin | 0 Comments

By Scott Atran

This formidable, interdisciplinary e-book seeks to provide an explanation for the origins of faith utilizing our wisdom of the evolution of cognition. A cognitive anthropologist and psychologist, Scott Atran argues that faith is a derivative of human evolution simply because the cognitive intervention, cultural choice, and old survival of faith is an lodging of yes existential and ethical parts that experience developed within the human condition.


"In Gods We belief is through a long way the simplest exploration thus far of the evolutionary foundation of spiritual behavior."--James Fox, Prof of Anthropology, Stanford University

"With nearly a thousand references and discussions of such a lot of human historical past and tradition, from Neanderthal burials to suicide-bombers within the Palestinian anti-colonialist fight, this booklet is consciously and actually encyclopedic in scope, and exhibits either breadth and intensity of scholarship...the reader reveals himself regularly challenged and provoked into an highbrow ping-pong video game as he follows the arguments and the large physique of findings marshalled to buttress them...Atran controlled to mix the outdated and the recent via touching on the automated cognitive operations to existential anxieties. this mixture might be a benchmark and a problem to scholars od faith in all disciplines."--Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Human Nature Review

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Additional resources for In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion (Evolution and Cognition)

Sample text

Nevertheless, G. Williams (1992) emphasizes that natural selection often behaves as a flawed or downright stupid engineer. This is because there never can be a natural selection of tools and materials from scratch. Natural selection is always bound by historically antecedent compromises between organic structures and environments. For example, the alimentary system evolved in aquatic animals before the respiratory system of land animals was first jerry-rigged to share the digestive tract's anterior structure, including the mouth and pharynx (throat).

Other homologies share only broad resemblances in form and function, such as bird wings, seal flippers, and simian arms. Homology is critical to understanding adaptation in three ways. First, considerations of homology allow understanding of adaptations that make perfect functional sense but that initially appear to violate the incremental requirements of natural selection. For example, the panda's opposable "thumb" has no functional counterpart among other nonprimates. Moreover, the panda also has five fingers, which suggests that the panda's thumb could not have evolved through a process parallel to the evolution of primate thumbs from one of five digits.

As G. Williams (1992:80) notes, however, such mutations seem to be catastrophically disruptive for other adapted functions so that the individuals that bear such mutations cannot survive on their own. These examples suggest that adaptations can develop only under mutual constraint with other preexisting structures. Some fish species can have different numbers of cephalid vertebrae (Boetius and Harding 1985), but mammals have just seven cervical vertebrae (apart from eight in sloths and six in Sirenia).

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