Evolution and Belief

Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist

Author: Robert J. Asher

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521193834

Category: Religion

Page: 300

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Asher draws on his experiences as a paleontologist and a religious believer, arguing that science does not contradict religious belief.

Ritual, Play, and Belief in Evolution and Early Human Societies

Author: Colin Renfrew,Iain Morley,Michael Boyd

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 110714356X

Category: Social Science

Page: 350

View: 8212

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The origins of religion and ritual in humans have been the focus of centuries of thought in archaeology, anthropology, theology, evolutionary psychology and more. Play and ritual have many aspects in common, and ritual is a key component of the early cult practices that underlie the religious systems of the first complex societies in all parts of the world. This book examines the formative cults and the roots of religious practice from the earliest times until the development of early religion in the Near East, in China, in Peru, in Mesoamerica and beyond. Here, leading prehistorians and other specialists bring a fresh approach to the early practices that underlie the faiths and religions of the world. They demonstrate the profound role of play ritual and belief systems and offer powerful new insights into the emergence of early civilization.

Discovering God

The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief

Author: Rodney Stark

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 006174333X

Category: Religion

Page: 496

View: 8416

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Winner of the 2008 Christianity Today Award of Merit in Theology/Ethics The History of God In Discovering God, award-winning sociologist Rodney Stark presents a monumental history of the origins of the great religions from the Stone Age to the Modern Age and wrestles with the central questions of religion and belief.

God Is Here to Stay

Science, Evolution, and Belief in God

Author: Thomas R. McFaul,Al Brunsting

Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers

ISBN: 163087180X

Category: Religion

Page: 212

View: 1712

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A scientific examination in several ares across the physcial sciences and human experience to explain how the universe operates within very narrow and highly structured boundaries. Most importantly the authors created an innovative L-M confidence scale to establish confidence levels, not proofs, on how scientific discoveries impact belief in God.

Religion Explained

The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought

Author: Pascal Boyer

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 046500461X

Category: Social Science

Page: 384

View: 6340

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Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and where it comes from.

The Genetic Gods

evolution and belief in human affairs

Author: John C. Avise

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674020351

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 6796

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They mastermind our lives, shaping our features, our health, and our behavior, even in the sacrosanct realms of love and sex, religion, aging, and death. Yet we are the ones who house, perpetuate, and give the promise of immortality to these biological agents, our genetic gods. The link between genes and gods is hardly arbitrary, as the distinguished evolutionary geneticist John Avise reveals in this compelling book. In clear, straightforward terms, Avise reviews recent discoveries in molecular biology, evolutionary genetics, and human genetic engineering, and discusses the relevance of these findings to issues of ultimate concern traditionally reserved for mythology, theology, and religious faith. The book explains how the genetic gods figure in our development--not just our metabolism and physiology, but even our emotional disposition, personality, ethical leanings, and, indeed, religiosity. Yet genes are physical rather than metaphysical entities. Having arisen via an amoral evolutionary process--natural selection--genes have no consciousness, no sentient code of conduct, no reflective concern about the consequences of their actions. It is Avise's contention that current genetic knowledge can inform our attempts to answer typically religious questions--about origins, fate, and meaning. The Genetic Gods challenges us to make the necessary connection between what we know, what we believe, and what we embody. Table of Contents: Preface Prologue 1. The Doctrines of Biological Science 2. Geneses 3. Genetic Maladies 4. Genetic Beneficence 5. Strategies of the Genes 6. Genetic Sovereignty 7. New Lords of Our Genes? 8. Meaning Epilogue Notes Glossary Index Reviews of this book: Our genes, [Avise] says, are responsible not only for how we got here and exist day to day, but also for the core of our being--our personalities and morals. It is our genetic make-up that allows for and formulates our religious belief systems, he argues. Avise does not eschew spirituality but seeks a more informed, less confrontational approach between science and the pulpit. --Science News Reviews of this book: For the general scientific reader, the book is an excellent distillation of a broad and increasingly important field, a course of causation that cannot be ignored. From advising expectant parents to getting innocent people off death row, genetics increasingly dominates our lives. The sections on genetics are expertly written, particularly for those readers without in-depth knowledge. The author explains slowly and carefully just how genetics operates, using multiple metaphors. His genetic discourse proceeds in a neighborly fashion, as one might tell stories while sitting in a rocking chair at a country store. He seems to be invigorated by genes and just can't wait to tell about them. --David W. Hodo, Journal of the American Medical Association Reviews of this book: As a whole, this book is quite informative and stimulating, and sections of it are beautifully written. Indeed, Professor Avise has a real gift for prose and scientific expositions, and I would suspect that he must be a formidable lecturer...At its core, [The Genetic Gods] is a survey, and a very nice one at that, of evolutionary genetics, the field of the author's major research interests. There is a strong sociobiological cast to the arguments, and the work and ideas of E. O. Wilson figure prominently. The presentation of evolutionary genetics is imbedded in a more general discussion of modern human and molecular genetics...However, this book is, most of all, a philosophical treatise that attempts, admittedly with the bias of a biologist, to examine the intersection of the fundamental premises of evolution and religion. Professor Avise has given us plenty to think about in this book [and]...it was a real pleasure to wrestle with the ideas he was presenting. I would suggest that other readers give it a try. --Charles J. Epstein, Trends in Genetics Reviews of this book: [Avise's] account of the role genes play in shaping the human condition is wholly involving, paying particular attention to issues of reproduction, aging and death. In addition to presenting ample biological information in a form accessible to the nonspecialist, Avise does a superb job of discussing many of the ethical implications that have arisen from our growing knowledge of human genetics. Just a few of the topics covered are genetic engineering, the patenting of life, genetic screening, abortion, human cloning, gene therapy and insurance-related controversies. --Publishers Weekly Reviews of this book: Avise explains thoroughly how evolution operates on a genetic level. His goal is to show that humans can look to this information as a way to answer fundamental questions of life instead of looking to traditional religious beliefs...Avise includes some very interesting discussions of ethical concerns related to genetic issues. --Eric D. Albright, Library Journal This is a splendid account of a subject that affects us all: the breathtaking increase in understanding of human genetics and the insight it provides into human evolution. John Avise speaks with authority of molecular evolutionary genetics and with affecting compassion of what it might mean. --Douglas J. Futuyma, State University of New York at Stony Brook The Genetic Gods is many things. It is a wonderful introduction to modern molecular biology, by a man who knows his subject backwards. It is a stimulating account of the ways in which genetics impinges on human nature--our thinking and our behavior. It is a remarkably level-headed and sympathetic account of the implications of our new findings for traditional and not-so-traditional issues in philosophy and religion. In an age of genetic counseling, cloning, construction of new life forms, the book is worth its weight in gold for this alone. But most of all, it is a huge amount of fun to read--you want to applaud or argue with the author on nigh every page. Highly recommended! --Michael Ruse, University of Guelph The Genetic Gods makes a valuable contribution to the on-going task of sorting out the implications of evolutionary biology and genetics for human self-understanding. Avise addresses, with authority and grace, the most consequential intellectual issues of our time. A challenging and insightful book. --Loyal Rue, Harvard University A wonderfully informative and engaging book. Avise offers a lucid, accessible primer on our genes, angelic and demonic, and examines religious and ethical issues, all too human, now confronted by genetic science. He makes a compelling case that anyone seeking to 'Know Thyself' should study the DNA molecular scriptures, our most ancient and universal legacy. --Dudley Herschbach, Harvard University, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

Evolution and Christian Faith

Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist

Author: Joan Roughgarden

Publisher: Island Press

ISBN: 1597261572

Category: Science

Page: 168

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Click here to visit evolutionandchristianfaith.org "I'm an evolutionary biologist and a Christian," states Stanford professor Joan Roughgarden at the outset of her groundbreaking new book, Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist. From that perspective, she offers an elegant, deeply satisfying reconciliation of the theory of evolution and the wisdom of the Bible. Perhaps only someone with Roughgarden's unique academic standing could examine so well controversial issues such as the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, or the potential flaws in Darwin's theory of evolution. Certainly Roughgarden is uniquely suited to reference both the minutiae of scientific processes and the implication of Biblical verses. Whether the topic is mutation rates and lizards or the hidden meanings behind St. Paul's letters, Evolution and Christian Faith distils complex arguments into everyday understanding. Roughgarden has scoured the Bible and scanned the natural world, finding examples time and again, not of conflict, but of harmony. The result is an accessible and intelligent context for a Christian vision of the world that embraces science. In the ongoing debates over creationism and evolution, Evolution and Christian Faith will be seen as a work of major significance, written for contemporary readers who wonder how-or if-they can embrace scientific advances while maintaining their traditional values.

The Evolution of God

Author: Robert Wright

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 9780316053273

Category: Religion

Page: 576

View: 7314

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In this sweeping narrative that takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright's findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy. He explains why spirituality has a role today, and why science, contrary to conventional wisdom, affirms the validity of the religious quest. And this previously unrecognized evolutionary logic points not toward continued religious extremism, but future harmony. Nearly a decade in the making, The Evolution of God is a breathtaking re-examination of the past, and a visionary look forward.

The Evolution of Belief

A Christian Perspective for the Future

Author: J. Gregory Steiner

Publisher: Archway Publishing

ISBN: 1480863858

Category: Religion

Page: 194

View: 8312

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The Dalai Lama once said that when science demonstrates something in opposition to a religious tenet, the religious belief must step back. Yet Christianity has often been resistant to such an approach, and many modern, educated Christians find themselves stuck at the intersection of science and traditional religious dogma and doctrine. The Evolution of Belief provides new ways of thinking about essential items of Christian belief, and the modern Christian is invited to move ahead in a credible way with the use of new analogies applied to creation, incarnation, redemption, and other Christian beliefs and practices. Author J. Gregory Steiner shows how a so-called baggage of beliefs, hung on the clothesline of ones faith, needs to be continually cleaned out and rejuvenated, insisting that traditional understandings of Christianity should be made more palatable and accommodating of the discoveries of science and technology. Viewed from an ever-developing saga of historical influences upon Christian belief and the evidence provided by science, there could very well be more questions generated than answers. But this can result in a positive experience, because credible insights into this novel perspective will truly lead ones faith further into the unending discovery of God.

Religious Beliefs, Evolutionary Psychiatry, and Mental Health in America

Evolutionary Threat Assessment Systems Theory

Author: Kevin J. Flannelly

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319524887

Category: Social Science

Page: 341

View: 1833

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This book provides a new perspective on the association between religious beliefs and mental health. The book is divided into five parts, the first of which traces the development of theories of organic evolution in the cultural and religious context before Charles Darwin. Part II describes the major evolutionary theories that Darwin proposed in his three books on evolution, and the religious, sociological, and scientific reactions to his theories. Part III introduces the reader to the concept of evolutionary psychiatry. It discusses how different regions of the brain evolved over time, and explains that certain brain regions evolved to protect us from danger by assessing threats of harm in the environment, including other humans. Specifically, this part describes: how psychiatric symptoms that are commonly experienced by normal individuals during their everyday lives are the product of brain mechanisms that evolved to protect us from harm; the prevalence rate of psychiatric symptoms in the U.S. general population; how religious and other beliefs influence the brain mechanisms that underlie psychiatric symptoms; and the brain regions that are involved in different psychiatric disorders. Part IV presents the findings of U.S. studies demonstrating that positive beliefs about God and life-after-death, and belief in meaning-in-life and divine forgiveness have salutary associations with mental health, whereas negative beliefs about God and life-after-death, belief in the Devil and human evil, and doubts about one’s religious beliefs have pernicious associations with mental health. The last part of the book summarizes each section and recommends research on the brain mechanism underlying psychiatric symptoms, and the relationships among these brain mechanisms, religious beliefs, and mental health in the context of ETAS Theory.

Religion in Human Evolution

Author: Robert N. Bellah

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674063090

Category: Religion

Page: 784

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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.

Evolutionary Creation

A Christian Approach to Evolution

Author: Denis O. Lamoureux

Publisher: The Lutterworth Press

ISBN: 0718842847

Category: Religion

Page: 514

View: 3218

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In this provocative book, evolutionist and evangelical Christian Denis O. Lamoureux proposes an approach to origins that moves beyond the 'evolution-versus-creation' debate. Arguing for an intimate relationship between the "Book of God's Words" and the "Book of God's Works", he presents evolutionary creation - a position that asserts that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit created the universe and life through an ordained and sustained evolutionary process. This view of origins affirms intelligent design and the belief that beauty, complexity and functionality in nature reflect the mind of God. Lamoureux also challenges the popular Christian assumption that the Holy Spirit revealed scientific and historical facts in the opening chapters of the Bible. He contends that 'Scripture features an ancient understanding of origins that functions as vessel to deliver inerrant and infallible messages of faith'. Lamoureux shares his personal story and his struggle in coming to terms with evolution and Christianity. Like many, he lost his boyhood faith at university in classes on evolutionary biology. After graduation, he experienced a born-again conversion and then embraced belief in a literal six-day creation. Graduate school training at the doctoral level in both theology and biology led him to the conclusion that God created the world through evolution. Lamoureux closes with the two most important issues in the origins controversy - the pastoral and pedagogical implications. How should churches approach this volatile topic? And what should Christians teach their children about origins?

Brain & Belief

An Exploration of the Human Soul

Author: John J. McGraw

Publisher: AEGIS PRESS

ISBN: 0974764507

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 404

View: 7467

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From its beginnings in prehistoric religion to its central importance in Western faith traditions, the soul has been a constant source of fascination and speculation. Brain & Belief seeks to understand mankind's obsession with life, death, and the afterlife. Exploring the latest insights from neuroscience, psychopharmacology, and existential psychology, McGraw exhaustively researches the various takes on the human soul and considers the meaning of the soul in a postmodern world. The ambitious scope of the book is balanced by a deeply personal voice whose sympathy for both science and religion is resonant.

Creation, Evolution and Meaning

Author: Robin Attfield

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 135194777X

Category: Religion

Page: 244

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This book presents the case for belief in both creation and evolution at the same time as rejecting creationism. Issues of meaning supply the context of inquiry; the book defends the meaningfulness of language about God, and also relates belief in both creation and evolution to the meaning of life. Meaning, it claims, can be found in consciously adopting the role of stewards of the planetary biosphere, and thus of the fruits of creation. Distinctive features include a sustained case for a realist understanding of language about God; a contemporary defence of some of the arguments for belief in God and in creation; a sifting of different versions of Darwinism and their implications for religious belief; a Darwinian account of the relation of predation and other apparent evils to creation; a new presentation of the argument from the world's value to the purposiveness of evolution; and discussions of whether or not meaning itself evolves, and of religious and secular bases for belief in stewardship.

Spontaneous Evolution

Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There from Here

Author: Bruce H. Lipton

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com

ISBN: 1458755622

Category:

Page: 732

View: 8264

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We've all heard stories of people who've experienced seemingly miraculous recoveries from illness, but can the same thing happen for our world? According to pioneering biologist Bruce H. Lipton, it's not only possible, it's already occurring. In Spontaneous Evolution, this world-renowned expert in the emerging science of epigenetics reveals how our changing understanding of biology will help us navigate this turbulent period in our planet's history and how each of us can participate in this global shift. In collaboration with political philosopher Steve Bhaerman, Dr. Lipton invites readers to reconsider: the ''unquestionable'' pillars of biology, including random evolution, survival of the fittest, and the role of DNA; the relationship between mind and matter; how our beliefs about nature and human nature shape our politics, culture, and individual lives; and how each of us can become planetary ''stem cells'' supporting the health and growth of our world. By questioning the old beliefs that got us to where we are today and keep us stuck in the status quo, we can trigger the spontaneous evolution of our species that will usher in a brighter future.

Attachment, Evolution, and the Psychology of Religion

Author: Lee A. Kirkpatrick

Publisher: Guilford Press

ISBN: 9781593850883

Category: Psychology

Page: 400

View: 9203

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In this provocative and engaging book, Lee Kirkpatrick establishes a broad, comprehensive framework for approaching the psychology of religion from an evolutionary perspective. Kirkpatrick argues that religion is a collection of byproducts of numerous psychological mechanisms and systems that evolved for other functions.

Spiritual Evolution

A Scientific Defense of Faith

Author: George Vaillant

Publisher: Harmony

ISBN: 0767930045

Category: Religion

Page: 256

View: 3265

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In our current era of holy terror, passionate faith has come to seem like a present danger. Writers such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens have been happy to throw the baby out with the bathwater and declare that the danger is in religion itself. God, Hitchens writes, is not great. But man, according to George E. Vaillant, M.D., is great. In Spiritual Evolution, Dr. Vaillant lays out a brilliant defense not of organized religion but of man’s inherent spirituality. Our spirituality, he shows, resides in our uniquely human brain design and in our innate capacity for emotions like love, hope, joy, forgiveness, and compassion, which are selected for by evolution and located in a different part of the brain than dogmatic religious belief. Evolution has made us spiritual creatures over time, he argues, and we are destined to become even more so. Spiritual Evolution makes the scientific case for spirituality as a positive force in human evolution, and he predicts for our species an even more loving future. Vaillant traces this positive force in three different kinds of “evolution”: the natural selection of genes over millennia, of course, but also the cultural evolution within recorded history of ideas about the value of human life, and the development of spirituality within the lifetime of each individual. For thirty-five years, Dr. Vaillant directed Harvard’s famous longitudinal study of adult development, which has followed hundreds of men over seven decades of life. The study has yielded important insights into human spirituality, and Dr. Vaillant has drawn on these and on a range of psychological research, behavioral studies, and neuroscience, and on history, anecdote, and quotation to produce a book that is at once a work of scientific argument and a lyrical meditation on what it means to be human. Spiritual Evolution is a life’s work, and it will restore our belief in faith as an essential human striving.

The Biology of Belief

Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles

Author: Bruce H. Lipton

Publisher: Hay House

ISBN: 9781401952471

Category: Nature

Page: 312

View: 1458

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"This new updated and expanded 10th anniversary edition of The Biology of Belief will forever change how you think about your own thinking. Stunning new scientific discoveries about the biochemical effects of the brain's functioning show that all the cells of your body are affected by your thoughts. Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., a renowned cell biologist, describes the precise molecular pathways through which this occurs. Using simple language, illustrations, humor, and everyday examples, he demonstrates how the new science of epigenetics is revolutionizing our understanding of the link between mind and matter, and the profound effects it has on our personal lives and the collective life of our species." -- Page [4] cover.

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief

Author: Lewis Wolpert

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393292681

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 7111

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"Marvelously funny and provocative."—Publishers Weekly Why do 70 percent of Americans believe in angels, while others are convinced that they were abducted by aliens? What makes people believe in improbable things when all the evidence points to the contrary? And don't almost all of us, at some time or another, engage in magical thinking?In Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, evolutionary biologist Lewis Wolpert delves into the important and timely debate over the nature of belief, looking at its psychological foundations to discover just what evolutionary purpose it could serve. Wolpert takes us through all that science can tell us about the beliefs we feel are instinctive. He deftly explores different types of belief—those of children, of the religious, and of those suffering from psychiatric disorders—and he asks whether it is possible to live without belief, or whether it is a necessary component of a functioning society.

Evolution and the Fall

Author: Cavanaugh & Smith

Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

ISBN: 0802873790

Category: Bible and evolution

Page: 256

View: 7682

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What does it mean for the Christian doctrine of the Fall if there was no historical Adam? If humanity emerged from nonhuman primates--as genetic, biological, and archaeological evidence seems to suggest--then what are the implications for a Christian understanding of human origins, including the origin of sin? Evolution and the Fall gathers a multidisciplinary, ecumenical team of scholars to address these difficult questions and others like them from the perspectives of biology, theology, history, Scripture, philosophy, and politics CONTRIBUTORS: William T. Cavanaugh Celia Deane-Drummond Darrel R. Falk Joel B. Green Michael Gulker Peter Harrison J. Richard Middleton Aaron Riches James K. A. Smith Brent Waters Norman Wirzba