In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary landscape of Religion (Evolution and Cognition Series)
This ambitious, interdisciplinary book seeks to explain the origins of religion using our knowledge of the evolution of cognition. A cognitive anthropologist and psychologist, Scott Atran argues that religion is a by-product of human evolution just as the cognitive intervention, cultural selection, and historical survival of religion is an accommodation of certain existent...more
That said, Atran has produced what is likely the most comprehensive and convincing account of the cognitive science of rel ...more
In terms of particulars, however, be warned:
1. The concepts presented are neither ground-breaking nor mind-blowing- it reads much like a carefully-annotated and referenced articulation of my own pre-established thoughts.
The writing style/ editing could definitely be improved:
2. The book is sprinkled with lists, chosen as examples in support of a point. ...more
“Attempts to replace intentional worlds governed by supernatural agents with secular ideologies are at serious disadvantage in the moral struggle for cultural selection and survival.”
Maybe these supernatural agents are worth a look. Scott Atran uses his experience an anthropologist specializing in the religious beliefs of various native peoples to understand the cognitive basis and evolutionary origin of religion.
Here is a quick summary: We evolved a visual system to rap ...more
If you don't like the message don't shoot the messenger. But what if you like the message but would not mind shooting the messenger because of the way he delivered it?
162-177. Atran draws a number of parallels between brain changes in PTSD sufferers and changes in brain function in religious and spiritual experiences. None of this is to imply that religion is a form of PTSD, any more than people like Dostoyevsky having spiritual experie ...more
My main worry is also the main lesson I drew from here: on several ...more
While his content is interesting, it is written horribly - very dry and difficult to read. He often cites his own research, which is less than compelling.
Interesting read, but certainly not an insightful or strongly written work.