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The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For at least the last fifty thousand years, and probably much longer, people have practiced religion. Yet little attention has been given, either by believers or atheists, to the question of whether this universal human behavior might have an evolutionary basis. Did religion evolve, in other words, because it helped people in early societies survive?

In this original and controversial book, Nicholas Wade, a longtime reporter for the New York Times's Science section, gathers new evidence showing why religion became so essential in the course of human evolution and how an instinct for faith has been hardwired into human nature. This startling thesis is sure to catch the attention of both believers and nonbelievers. People of faith may not warm to the view that the mind's receptivity to religion has been shaped by evolution. Atheists may not embrace the idea that religious expression evolved because it conferred essential benefits on ancient societies and their successors. As The Faith Instinct argues, however, both groups must address the fact, little understood before now, that religious behavior is an evolved part of human nature.

How did we evolve to believe? Wade shows that the instinct for religious behavior is wired into our neural circuits much like our ability to learn a language. Religion provided the earliest human societies with the equivalents of law and government, giving these societies an edge in the struggle for survival. As a force that binds people together and coordinates social behavior, religion supported another significant set of social behaviors: aggression and warfare. Religious behavior, both good and ill will remain an indelible component of human nature so long as human societies need the security and cohesion that belief provides.

Social scientists once predicted that religion would progressively fade away as societies advanced in wealth and education. They were wrong. The first objective and nonpolemical book of its kind, The Faith Instinct reveals that to understand the persistence of faith, one must first acknowledge that religious behavior is embedded in human nature.

Synopsis:

Noted science writer Nicholas Wade offers for the first time a convincing case based on a broad range of scientific evidence for the evolutionary basis of religion.

Synopsis:

For at least the last fifty thousand years, and probably much longer, people have practiced religion. Yet little attention has been given, either by believers or atheists, to the question of whether this universal human behavior might have an evolutionary basis. Did religion evolve, in other words, because it helped people in early societies survive?In this original and controversial book, Nicholas Wade, a longtime reporter for the New York Times's Science section, gathers new evidence showing why religion became so essential in the course of human evolution and how an instinct for faith has been hardwired into human nature. This startling thesis is sure to catch the attention of both believers and nonbelievers. People of faith may not warm to the view that the mind's receptivity to religion has been shaped by evolution. Atheists may not embrace the idea that religious expression evolved because it conferred essential benefits on ancient societies and their successors. As The F

About the Author

Nicholas Wade was born in Aylesbury, England, and was "educaNicholas Wade was born in Aylesbury, England, and was "educated" at Eton College and at King's College, Cambridge. He wated" at Eton College and at King's College, Cambridge. He was deputy editor of Nature magazine in London and then becames deputy editor of Nature magazine in London and then became that journal's Washington correspondent. He joined "Science that journal's Washington correspondent. He joined "Science" magazine as a reporter and later moved to "The New York Ti" magazine as a reporter and later moved to "The New York Times, " where he has been an editorial writer, science editormes, " where he has been an editorial writer, science editor, and now a science reporter. He is the author of four previ, and now a science reporter. He is the author of four previous books and lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

ous books and lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

ALAN SKLAR has narrated over 75 audiobooks and earned numerous awards for his work. He has also provided the voice for thousands of corporate and medical videos, as well as many radio and TV commercials. He lives with his wife in New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400143498
Author:
Wade, Nicholas
Publisher:
Tantor Media Inc
Read by:
Sklar, Alan
Read:
Sklar, Alan
Narrated:
Sklar, Alan
Author:
Sklar, Alan
Location:
Old Saybrook
Subject:
Religion & Science
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution - Human
Subject:
Sociology of Religion
Subject:
Biology-Evolution
Subject:
Religion Miscellaneous-Religion and Science
Subject:
Religion World-Religion and Science
Subject:
General Religion
Edition Description:
Unabridged,Library - Unabridged CD
Series Volume:
How Religion Evolved
Publication Date:
20091031
Binding:
COMPACT DISC
Language:
English
Dimensions:
6.4 x 6.7 x 0.9 in 0.8 lb
Media Run Time:
720

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Related Subjects

Religion » Western Religions » Social and Political Issues
Religion » World Religions » Religion and Science
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution

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Product details pages Tantor Media - English 9781400143498 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Noted science writer Nicholas Wade offers for the first time a convincing case based on a broad range of scientific evidence for the evolutionary basis of religion.
"Synopsis" by ,
For at least the last fifty thousand years, and probably much longer, people have practiced religion. Yet little attention has been given, either by believers or atheists, to the question of whether this universal human behavior might have an evolutionary basis. Did religion evolve, in other words, because it helped people in early societies survive?In this original and controversial book, Nicholas Wade, a longtime reporter for the New York Times's Science section, gathers new evidence showing why religion became so essential in the course of human evolution and how an instinct for faith has been hardwired into human nature. This startling thesis is sure to catch the attention of both believers and nonbelievers. People of faith may not warm to the view that the mind's receptivity to religion has been shaped by evolution. Atheists may not embrace the idea that religious expression evolved because it conferred essential benefits on ancient societies and their successors. As The F
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