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In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion Paperback – Illustrated, Nov. 25 2004

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 ratings

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Product details

  • Item Weight : 592 g
  • Paperback : 388 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0195178033
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0195178036
  • Product Dimensions : 23.42 x 15.85 x 2.26 cm
  • Publisher : Oxford University Press (Nov. 25 2004)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.7 out of 5 stars 26 ratings

Product description


"So how, [Atran] asks, is it that religious beliefs and practices are manifest, anywhere there are people, past or present? How could evolution have favoured wasteful investment in preposterous beliefs? ... Quite a project. He relies on a combination of the most recent human sciences. ... One
of his exceptional talents is in weaving together a vast number of strands that most of us keep asunder."--Ian Hacking, London Review of Books

"It is one thing to ascribe the ubiquity of religious systems to their emotional, intellectual, social and survival consequences, but such explanations apply also to many other aspects of human social systems. They do not account for religious commitment to factually impossible and
counter-intuitive worlds. How can it be that human minds, evolved to cope with the real world, can hold beliefs that are patently improbable? Scott Atran, who has wide experience as a cognitive psychologist, field anthropologist and philosopher, focuses on the properties of the human mind and human
needs that lead to religion's appeal. Thereby he takes much further previous explanations of how religious systems make the acceptance of improbable entities possible... [His] approach must be incorporated into all future studies of the genesis of religious systems."--Robert Hinde, The Online
Journal for Philosophy of Religion

"In Gods we Trust is a marvelous work on the evolution of religions."--Michael Shermer, E- Skeptic Newsletter

"Atran's work is a brilliant exposition of the evolutionary by-product interpretation [of religion] as well as a mine of references for empirical research into the psychology of religion."--Pascal Boyer, Current Anthropology

"With almost 1000 references and discussions of most of human history and culture, from Neanderthal burials to suicide-bombers in the Palestinian anti-colonialist struggle, this book is consciously and truly encyclopedic in scope, and shows both breadth and depth of scholarship...the reader
finds himself constantly challenged and provoked into an intellectual ping-pong game as he follows the arguments and the huge body of findings marshaled to buttress them...Atran managed to combine the old and the new by relating the automatic cognitive operations to existential anxieties. This
combination will be a benchmark and a challenge to students of religion in all disciplines."--Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Human Nature Review

"In Gods We Trust is by far the best exploration so far of the evolutionary basis of religious behavior."--James Fox, Prof of Anthropology, Stanford University

"I have little but praise for this marvelous book...It does not take long to realize that one is dealing with a formidable mind; Atran is not only a fine writer, his breadth of knowledge and intellectual depth are nothing short of inspiring. This book is one to read slowly and savor. Keep a
post-it pad handy, to mark the pages: the scope of this book is so wide-ranging that whatever your research interest in evolutionary psychology, it is bound to be touched upon at some point in these 400 pages of informative analysis."--David Livingstone Smith, Human Nature Review

From the Publisher

45 halftones, 4 line illus.