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

By Scott Atran

This formidable, interdisciplinary ebook seeks to give 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 spinoff of human evolution simply because the cognitive intervention, cultural choice, and ancient survival of faith is an lodging of convinced existential and ethical parts that experience advanced within the human condition.


"In Gods We belief is by way of a long way the simplest exploration to this point of the evolutionary foundation of non secular 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 ebook is consciously and actually encyclopedic in scope, and indicates either breadth and intensity of scholarship...the reader reveals himself consistently 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he follows the arguments and the large physique of findings marshalled to buttress them...Atran controlled to mix the outdated and the hot via referring to the automated cognitive operations to existential anxieties. this mix should be a benchmark and a problem to scholars od faith in all disciplines."--Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Human Nature Review

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

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Put a bit differently, an adaptation is a set of phenotypic effects, in an organism, of genes that were modified under selection to reliably produce such effects as led to the genes' propagation in ancestral environments. The basic idea is a functional design selected for solving past environmental problems. , hierarchical access to resources), or internal (accommodation to prior mechanisms). Different contexts may impinge on selection by imposing somewhat antagonistic task demands. Adaptations often have to balance conflicting, context-dependent selection factors.

Kanzi appeared to have suddenly developed "spontaneous" comprehension and production abilities without formal training at 30 months of age, after leaving his foster mother. ) last. His word order differed from that of spoken English, and many of these action words, such as 'go' and 'chase/ were conveyed by gestures. Thus, we found that whenever Kanzi combined a symbol with a gesture, he tended to place the gesture after the symbol. This was a rule of Kanzi's own making and one that only Kanzi followed" (Savage-Rumbaugh, Shanker, and Taylor 1998:64-65).

Invoking adaptation is appropriate when there is evidence of a functional design that solves some recurrent problem in an ancestral environment and when there is evidence of fitness-promoting modification of design by natural selection. The delayed effects of William Hamilton's (1964} theory of inclusive fitness have shifted attention somewhat from adaptation as a characteristic of organisms to adaptation from "a gene's-eye view" (Dawkins 1976). Hamilton puzzled over the apparently altruistic self-sacrifice of worker bees in forsaking the opportunity to breed in favor of caring for the queen's young.

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