evolving brains emerging gods early humans and the origins of religion

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Evolving Brains Emerging Gods

Author : E. Fuller Torrey
ISBN : 9780231544863
Genre : Science
File Size : 36. 30 MB
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Religions and mythologies from around the world teach that God or gods created humans. Atheist, humanist, and materialist critics, meanwhile, have attempted to turn theology on its head, claiming that religion is a human invention. In this book, E. Fuller Torrey draws on cutting-edge neuroscience research to propose a startling answer to the ultimate question. Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods locates the origin of gods within the human brain, arguing that religious belief is a by-product of evolution. Based on an idea originally proposed by Charles Darwin, Torrey marshals evidence that the emergence of gods was an incidental consequence of several evolutionary factors. Using data ranging from ancient skulls and artifacts to brain imaging, primatology, and child development studies, this book traces how new cognitive abilities gave rise to new behaviors. For instance, autobiographical memory, the ability to project ourselves backward and forward in time, gave Homo sapiens a competitive advantage. However, it also led to comprehension of mortality, spurring belief in an alternative to death. Torrey details the neurobiological sequence that explains why the gods appeared when they did, connecting archaeological findings including clothing, art, farming, and urbanization to cognitive developments. This book does not dismiss belief but rather presents religious belief as an inevitable outcome of brain evolution. Providing clear and accessible explanations of evolutionary neuroscience, Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods will shed new light on the mechanics of our deepest mysteries.

Evolving Brains Emerging Gods

Author : Edwin Fuller Torrey
ISBN : 0231183364
Genre : Religion
File Size : 71. 39 MB
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E. Fuller Torrey draws on cutting-edge neuroscience research to propose a startling answer to the ultimate question. Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods locates the origin of gods within the human brain, arguing that religious belief is a by-product of evolution.

Evolving Brains

Author : John Allman
ISBN : 071676038X
Genre : Medical
File Size : 53. 40 MB
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How did the human brain with all its manifold capacities evolve from basic functions in simple organisms that lived nearly a billion years ago? John Allman addresses this question in Evolving Brains, a provocative study of brain evolution that introduces readers to some of the most exciting developments in science in recent years.

How Humans Evolved

Author : Robert Boyd
ISBN : 9780393936773
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 45. 62 MB
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How Humans Evolved teaches the processes that shape human evolution with a unique blend of evolutionary theory, population genetics, and behavioral ecology. The new edition continues to offer the most up-to-date research—in particular, significantly revised coverage of how recent discoveries are shaping our history of human evolution—while now giving you the best tools to engage your students in and out of the classroom.

The Origins Of Religion In The Paleolithic

Author : Gregory J. Wightman
ISBN : 9781442242906
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 56. 95 MB
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How did religion emerge—and why? What are the links between behavior, environment, and religiosity? Diving millions of years into the past, to a time when human ancestors began grappling with issues of safety, worth, identity, loss, power, and meaning in complex and difficult environments, GregoryJ. Wightman explores the significance of goal-directed action and the rise of material culture for the advent of religiosity and ritual. The book opens by tackling questions of cognitive evolution and group psychology, and how these ideas can integrate with archaeological evidence such as stone tools, shell beads, and graves. In turn, it focuses on how human ancestors engaged with their environments, how those engagements became routine, and how, eventually, certain routines took on a recognizably ritualistic flavor. Wightman also critically examines the very real constraints on drawing inferences about prehistoric belief systems solely from limited material residues. Nevertheless, Wightman argues that symbolic objects are not merely illustrative of religion, but also constitutive of it; in the continual dance between brain and behavior, between internal and external environments, lie the seeds of ritual and religion. Weaving together insights from archaeology; anthropology; cognitive and cultural neuroscience; history and philosophy of religions; and evolutionary, social, and developmental psychology, Wightman provides an intricate, evidence-based understanding of religion’s earliest origins.

The Evolution Of Religion

Author : Alex Shelby
ISBN : 1494974789
Genre : Religion
File Size : 30. 41 MB
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“The Evolution of Religion” is exactly what the title suggests, and beyond. It traces religion's origins back to the first instincts of morality, through the archaic blossoming of polytheism, to the modern branching of creeds from the agnostic East to the monotheistic West. It also conducts an in-depth analysis of religion's organic and synthetic qualities. The organic aspect is demonstrated through consistencies between biology and theology, ranging from similarities in their 'tree-of-life' diagrams to specific phylogenetic characteristics. The synthetic facet is showcased through coinciding patterns with such manmade conventions as government, culture, economics, and technology. What isn't clearly revealed is a supernatural quality, prompting us to delve into the psychology behind worship and why many of us are “addicted to faith”.

Did Man Create God

Author : David E. Comings
ISBN : 9781878267733
Genre : Body, Mind & Spirit
File Size : 52. 12 MB
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Dr. David Comings, an internationally renowned physician, human geneticist and neuroscientist, proposes that spirituality is genetically hardwired into a specific part of the brain, is pleasurable, is critical to the evolution and survival of man, and will never go away. It strives to allow readers to develop a rational spirituality in which the fact-based rational brain and the faith-based spiritual brain can live in peace. In an era when politicians are judged on the basis of the strength of their belief in God, when schools are urged to teach Intelligent Design, and when religious terrorists threaten the existence of Western civilization it is critical to dispassionately examine the question - Did man create God? A wide range of issues are examined including intelligent answers to intelligent design; the relevance of modern cosmology to the existence or non-existence of god; the role of genes in spirituality; innate morality, the problem of evil, and many others. Michael Shermer called this the most detailed and up-to-date science ever generated on the subject of religion and suggested it will be the definitive scientific reference on religion for some time to come. This book is for those who have also questioned any part of their faith but treasure their spirituality and want answers that are not hostile to spirituality or religion.

Born Believers

Author : Justin L. Barrett
ISBN : 9781439196571
Genre : Religion
File Size : 26. 49 MB
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Infants have a lot to make sense of in the world: Why does the sun shine and night fall; why do some objects move in response to words, while others won’t budge; who is it that looks over them and cares for them? How the developing brain grapples with these and other questions leads children, across cultures, to naturally develop a belief in a divine power of remarkably consistent traits––a god that is a powerful creator, knowing, immortal, and good—explains noted developmental psychologist and anthropologist Justin L. Barrett in this enlightening and provocative book. In short, we are all born believers. Belief begins in the brain. Under the sway of powerful internal and external influences, children understand their environments by imagining at least one creative and intelligent agent, a grand creator and controller that brings order and purpose to the world. Further, these beliefs in unseen super beings help organize children’s intuitions about morality and surprising life events, making life meaningful. Summarizing scientific experiments conducted with children across the globe, Professor Barrett illustrates the ways human beings have come to develop complex belief systems about God’s omniscience, the afterlife, and the immortality of deities. He shows how the science of childhood religiosity reveals, across humanity, a “natural religion,” the organization of those beliefs that humans gravitate to organically, and how it underlies all of the world’s major religions, uniting them under one common source. For believers and nonbelievers alike, Barrett offers a compelling argument for the human instinct for religion, as he guides all parents in how to effectively encourage children in developing a healthy constellation of beliefs about the world around them.

The Neuroscience Of Religious Experience

Author : Patrick McNamara
ISBN : 9781139483568
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 67. 93 MB
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Technical advances in the life and medical sciences have revolutionised our understanding of the brain, while the emerging disciplines of social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience continue to reveal the connections of the higher cognitive functions and emotional states associated with religious experience to underlying brain states. At the same time, a host of developing theories in psychology and anthropology posit evolutionary explanations for the ubiquity and persistence of religious beliefs and the reports of religious experiences across human cultures, while gesturing toward physical bases for these behaviours. What is missing from this literature is a strong voice speaking to these behavioural and social scientists - as well as to the intellectually curious in the religious studies community - from the perspective of a brain scientist.

Religion In Human Evolution

Author : Robert N. Bellah
ISBN : 9780674063099
Genre : Religion
File Size : 31. 78 MB
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This ambitious book probes our biological past to discover the kinds of lives that human beings have imagined were worth living. Bellah’s theory goes deep into cultural and genetic evolution to identify a range of capacities (communal dancing, storytelling, theorizing) whose emergence made religious development possible in the first millennium BCE.

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