Religion Explained: The Human Instincts That Fashion Gods, Spirits and Ancestors

3.98 avg rating
( 1,581 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780099282761: Religion Explained: The Human Instincts That Fashion Gods, Spirits and Ancestors

Why are there religious beliefs in all cultures? Do they have features in common and why does religion persist in the face of science? Pascal Boyer shows how experimental findings in cognitive science, evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology are now providing precise answers to these general questions, and providing, for the first time, real answers to the question: Why do we believe?

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

What's it all about? Though we might never answer the really big questions--with good reason--maybe we can understand why we ask them. Cognitive anthropologist Pascal Boyer tackles this topic in the unapologetically titled Religion Explained, and it is sure to polarize his readers. Some will think it's an impermissible invasion of mental territory beyond the reach of reason; others will see it as the first step toward a more complete understanding of human nature--and Boyer is acutely aware of the emotionally charged nature of his work. This knowledge informs his decision to proceed without caution, as he warns readers early on that most will risk being offended by some of his considerations. Readers who can lay aside their biases will find great rewards here; Boyer's wide scholarship and knack for elegant writing are reasons enough for reading his book.

That gods and spirits are construed very much like persons is probably one of the best-known traits of religion. Indeed, the Greeks had already noticed that people create gods in their own image.... All this is familiar, indeed so familiar that for a long time anthropologists forgot that this propensity requires an explanation. Why then are gods and spirits so much like humans?

Peppering his study with examples from all over the world, particularly the Fang people of Africa, Boyer offers plenty of evidence for his theory that religious institutions exist to maintain particular threads of social integrity. Though he uses the tools of evolutionary psychology, he is more careful than most EP proponents to avoid ad hoc and circular arguments. Best of all, at least to those unmortified at the idea of examining religion critically, his theories are potentially testable. Even if he turns out to be dead wrong, at least Religion Explained offers a new and powerful framework for thinking about our spiritual lives. --Rob Lightner

From the Inside Flap:

A brilliant and provocative exploration of the nature of human religious belief and what it can tell us about human psychology and evolution, in the tradition of Steven Pinker?s The Language Instinct.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Pascal Boyer
Published by Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom (2002)
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Why are there religious beliefs in all cultures? Do they have features in common and why does religion persist in the face of science? Pascal Boyer shows how experimental findings in cognitive science, evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology are now providing precise answers to these general questions, and providing, for the first time, real answers to the question: Why do we believe?. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099282761

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
10.11
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Pascal Boyer
Published by Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom (2002)
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Why are there religious beliefs in all cultures? Do they have features in common and why does religion persist in the face of science? Pascal Boyer shows how experimental findings in cognitive science, evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology are now providing precise answers to these general questions, and providing, for the first time, real answers to the question: Why do we believe?. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099282761

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
10.23
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Pascal Boyer
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
BWB
(Valley Stream, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97800992827610000000

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
10.24
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Boyer, Pascal
Published by Vintage
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Softcover Quantity Available: 5
Seller
Kennys Bookstore
(Olney, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. 2002. New Ed. Paperback. Why are there religious beliefs in all cultures? Do they have features in common and why does religion persist in the face of science? This work shows how experimental findings in cognitive science, evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology are providing precise answers to these general questions. Num Pages: 448 pages. BIC Classification: HRAB; JM. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 130 x 28. Weight in Grams: 312. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099282761

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
13.33
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Boyer, Pascal
Published by Vintage (2002)
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Softcover Quantity Available: 5
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2002. Book Condition: New. 2002. New Ed. Paperback. Why are there religious beliefs in all cultures? Do they have features in common and why does religion persist in the face of science? This work shows how experimental findings in cognitive science, evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology are providing precise answers to these general questions. Num Pages: 448 pages. BIC Classification: HRAB; JM. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 130 x 28. Weight in Grams: 312. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099282761

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
13.37
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From Ireland to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Pascal Boyer
Published by Vintage (2002)
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Paperback Quantity Available: 3
Seller
The Monster Bookshop
(Fleckney, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. BRAND NEW ** SUPER FAST SHIPPING FROM UK WAREHOUSE ** 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000190253

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
11.44
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 1.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Pascal Boyer
Published by Vintage Publishing
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Paperback Quantity Available: 4
Seller
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Religion Explained: The Human Instincts That Fashion Gods, Spirits and Ancestors, Pascal Boyer, Why are there religious beliefs in all cultures? Do they have features in common and why does religion persist in the face of science? Pascal Boyer shows how experimental findings in cognitive science, evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology are now providing precise answers to these general questions, and providing, for the first time, real answers to the question: Why do we believe?. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099282761

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.37
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 6.95
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Pascal Boyer
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Speedy Hen LLC
(Sunrise, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ST0099282763. Bookseller Inventory # ST0099282763

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
15.04
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Pascal Boyer
Published by Vintage (2002)
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2002. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # GH9780099282761

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
11.62
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.57
From Germany to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Pascal Boyer
ISBN 10: 0099282763 ISBN 13: 9780099282761
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Ria Christie Collections
(Uxbridge, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; Why are there religious beliefs in all cultures? Do they have features in common and why does religion persist in the face of science? Pascal Boyer shows how experimental findings in cognitive science, evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology are now providing precise answers to these general. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780099282761_rkm

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
11.72
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.87
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book