the illusion of gods presence the biological origins of spiritual longing

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The Illusion Of God S Presence

Author : John C. Wathey
ISBN : 9781633880757
Genre : Religion
File Size : 37. 56 MB
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An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion. Starting with a vivid narrative account of the life-threatening hike that triggered his own mystical experience, biologist John Wathey takes the reader on a scientific journey to find the sources of religious feeling and the illusion of God's presence. His book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond. Dr. Wathey, a veteran neuroscientist, argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy. These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like the popular belief in a god who is judgmental and punishing, yet also unconditionally loving; the extraordinary tenacity of faith; the greater religiosity of women relative to men; religious obsessions with sex; the mysterious compulsion to pray; the seemingly irrepressible feminine attributes of God, even in traditionally patriarchal religions; and the strange allure of cults. Finally, Dr. Wathey considers the hypothesis that religion evolved to foster reproductive success, arguing that, in an age of potentially ruinous overpopulation, magical thinking has become a luxury we can no longer afford, one that distracts us from urgent threats to our planet. Deeply researched yet elegantly written in a jargon-free and accessible style, this book presents a compelling interpretation of the evolutionary origins of spirituality and religion. From the Hardcover edition.

The Illusion Of God S Presence

Author : John C. Wathey
ISBN : 9781633880740
Genre : Biology
File Size : 30. 46 MB
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An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion. Biologist John Wathey takes the reader on a scientific journey to find the sources of religious feeling and the illusion of God's presence. His book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond. Dr. Wathey, a veteran neuroscientist, argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy.

Out Of Eden

Author : David P. Barash
ISBN : 9780190275525
Genre : Science
File Size : 44. 9 MB
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In this changing world of what is socially and politically "correct," polygamy is perhaps the last great taboo. Over the last thousand years, monogamy - at least in name - has been the default setting for coupledom and procreation in the Western world. And yet, throughout history, there have been inklings that "one-man, one-woman" is an uncomfortable institution for human beings. The consistently high rate of marital "cheating" by both sexes, plus the persistent interest in a variety of sexual partners - on the part of women as well as men - suggest strongly that monogamy isn't easy, and certainly isn't "natural," for either sex. Esteemed writer and evolutionary biologist David P. Barash tackles this uncomfortable finding: that humans are actually biologically and anthropologically inclined toward polygamy. Drawing on decades of research, Barash presents a remarkable array of scientific evidence from evolutionary biology and cross-cultural studies that guide the reader through the hidden impacts of polygamy on such crucial behavior as violence, parenting, sexual preferences, adultery and efforts at monogamy itself, along with mind-bending speculation about the possible role of our polygamous predisposition when it comes to human genius, homosexuality and even monotheism. But take heart, monogamists! Although our species has long been "out of Eden," this fascinating read is ultimately reassuring that "biology is not destiny."

A Crisis Of Faith Atheism Emerging Technologies And The Future Of Humanity

Author : Phil Torres
ISBN : 1908675039
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 37. 51 MB
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Torres puts forth one of the most comprehensive and accessible arguments for the claim that theism is false and faith-based belief is foolish. Drawing from many disparate fields, he attacks the theistic position from multiple angles, delineating established arguments against God's existence, but also explores topics that no other atheists have considered.

Recognizing The Non Religious

Author : Lois Lee
ISBN : 9780191056659
Genre : Religion
File Size : 70. 23 MB
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In recent years, the extent to which contemporary societies are secular has come under scrutiny. At the same time, many countries, especially in Europe, have increasingly large nonaffiliate, 'subjectively secular' populations, whilst nonreligious cultural movements like the New Atheism and the Sunday Assembly have come to prominence. Making sense of secularity, irreligion, and the relationship between them has therefore emerged as a crucial task for those seeking to understand contemporary societies and the nature of modern life. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in southeast England, Recognizing the Non-religious develops a new vocabulary, theory and methodology for thinking about the secular. It distinguishes between separate and incommensurable aspects of so-called secularity as insubstantial - involving merely the absence of religion - and substantial - involving beliefs, ritual practice, and identities that are alternative to religious ones. Recognizing the cultural forms that present themselves as non-religious therefore opens up new, more egalitarian and more theoretically coherent ways of thinking about people who are 'not religious'. It is also argued that recognizing the nonreligious allows us to reimagine the secular itself in new and productive ways. This book is part of a fast-growing area of research that builds upon and contributes to theoretical debates concerning secularization, 'desecularization', religious change, postsecularity and postcolonial approaches to religion and secularism. As well as presenting new research, this book gathers insights from the wider studies of nonreligion, atheism, and secularism in order to consolidate a theoretical framework, conceptual foundation and agenda for future research.

Did Man Create God

Author : David E. Comings
ISBN : 9781878267733
Genre : Body, Mind & Spirit
File Size : 27. 11 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.

Wired For God

Author : Charles Foster
ISBN : 9781444722055
Genre : Religion
File Size : 23. 11 MB
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Human religious experiences are remarkably uniform; many can be pharmacologically induced. Recent research into the neurology of religious experience has shown that, when worshipping or praying, a certain part of the brain, apparently dormant during other activities, becomes active. What does all this mean for those of faith and those with none? In this fascinating book barrister Charles Foster takes a survey of the evidence - from shamans to medieval mystics, to out-of-body experiences and epilepsy, via Jerusalem and middle-class Christianity - and assesses its significance. Written in short, accessible chapters, this is a fascinating tour of religious and mystical experiences and their relation to human physiology.

Morality Without God

Author : Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
ISBN : 9780195337631
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 87. 35 MB
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A common refrain against atheism and secular humanism is that without belief in God, "everything is permitted." Walter Sinnott-Armstrong dismantles this argument and argues instead that God is not only not essential to morality, but that our moral behavior should be seen as utterly independent of religion. This short, accessible book is on a major aspect of the arguments against atheism and will interest those intrigued by the "new atheism" (Harris, Dawkins, etc).

Faces In The Clouds

Author : Stewart Elliott Guthrie
ISBN : 0195356802
Genre : Religion
File Size : 27. 48 MB
Format : PDF
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Religion is universal human culture. No phenomenon is more widely shared or more intensely studied, yet there is no agreement on what religion is. Now, in Faces in the Clouds, anthropologist Stewart Guthrie provides a provocative definition of religion in a bold and persuasive new theory. Guthrie says religion can best be understood as systematic anthropomorphism--that is, the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman things and events. Many writers see anthropomorphism as common or even universal in religion, but few think it is central. To Guthrie, however, it is fundamental. Religion, he writes, consists of seeing the world as humanlike. As Guthrie shows, people find a wide range of humanlike beings plausible: Gods, spirits, abominable snowmen, HAL the computer, Chiquita Banana. We find messages in random events such as earthquakes, weather, and traffic accidents. We say a fire "rages," a storm "wreaks vengeance," and waters "lie still." Guthrie says that our tendency to find human characteristics in the nonhuman world stems from a deep-seated perceptual strategy: in the face of pervasive (if mostly unconscious) uncertainty about what we see, we bet on the most meaningful interpretation we can. If we are in the woods and see a dark shape that might be a bear or a boulder, for example, it is good policy to think it is a bear. If we are mistaken, we lose little, and if we are right, we gain much. So, Guthrie writes, in scanning the world we always look for what most concerns us--livings things, and especially, human ones. Even animals watch for human attributes, as when birds avoid scarecrows. In short, we all follow the principle--better safe than sorry. Marshalling a wealth of evidence from anthropology, cognitive science, philosophy, theology, advertising, literature, art, and animal behavior, Guthrie offers a fascinating array of examples to show how this perceptual strategy pervades secular life and how it characterizes religious experience. Challenging the very foundations of religion, Faces in the Clouds forces us to take a new look at this fundamental element of human life.

Systematic

Author : James R. Valcourt
ISBN : 9781632860316
Genre : Science
File Size : 84. 1 MB
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A brilliant young scientist introduces us to the fascinating field that is changing our understanding of how the body works and the way we can approach healing. SYSTEMATIC is the first book to introduce general readers to systems biology, which is improving medical treatments and our understanding of living things. In traditional bottom-up biology, a biologist might spend years studying how a single protein works, but systems biology studies how networks of those proteins work together--how they promote health and how to remedy the situation when the system isn't functioning properly. Breakthroughs in systems biology became possible only when powerful computer technology enabled researchers to process massive amounts of data to study complete systems, and has led to progress in the study of gene regulation and inheritance, cancer drugs personalized to an individual's genetically unique tumor, insights into how the brain works, and the discovery that the bacteria and other microbes that live in the gut may drive malnutrition and obesity. Systems biology is allowing us to understand more complex phenomena than ever before. In accessible prose, SYSTEMATIC sheds light not only on how systems within the body work, but also on how research is yielding new kinds of remedies that enhance and harness the body's own defenses.

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