E. Fuller Torrey (ebook) Evolving Brains Emerging Gods


  • Hardcover
  • 312
  • Evolving Brains Emerging Gods
  • E. Fuller Torrey
  • English
  • 21 May 2017
  • 9780231183369

10 thoughts on “Evolving Brains Emerging Gods

  1. says:

    An utterly fascinating absorbing account of the cognitive development of man leading to the origins of religion O

  2. says:

    Very revealing history of homo religious through homo sapiens' brain evolution We follow step by step the evolution of our brain the history of humanity and the apparition et transformation of religions accompanied by political power We could almost say political religions so they work hand in hand The stronger the power of a country and its main religion the stronger and wider the religion becameIt can also be said that if political pow

  3. says:

    The book argues that the idea of gods appeared after the brain went through five specific cognitive development

  4. says:

    One of the benefits of deciding to reuest books from NetGalley is that it exposes me to academic science writing than I might otherwise find Thanks to Columbia University Press for letting me read this I’m really fascinated by the study of religion from a sociological and anthropological perspective I love to learn about the history of religions and also about how we know what we know Evolving Brains Emerging Gods lo

  5. says:

    I am a brain geek with a passing interest in world religions mostly in understanding the psychosocial basis and conseuences of religion so I jumped at the chance to read this book thanks NetGalley It did not dis

  6. says:

    Fascinating If you are short of time or get bogged down in the brain anatomy parts each chapter is nicely summarized and you can skip around a bit Long story short our brains weren't able to create religions until they finished five

  7. says:

    In this book religion is studied as a naturalistic phenomenon The author uses a cross disciplinary approach to understand the developm

  8. says:

    Religion and other seemingly abstract ideas have always been of great interest to me How do we conceive of such things? Why do we conceive of such things? and I found this book to be very helpful to my own investigations Torrey traces evidence of human brain evolution and of religious practice how it began why it began where it has come from and where it is going He elaborately explains what sets us apart from other creatures and

  9. says:

    This is a strong case for the evolutionary origin of religion ie that gods came about as a result of humans' developing brains Here Torrey points toward the acuisition of autobiographical memory and the awareness of death I now understand clearly why I wasn’t wild about Nicholas Wade’s argument in The Faith Instinct How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures IMO Wade overemphasizes the social and narrowly prosocial benefits of religion Tho

  10. says:

    Very intriguing Easy to follow and understand Well researched Food for thought

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E. Fuller Torrey Ä 9 review

Evolving Brains Emerging Gods

Roposed by Charles Darwin Torrey marshals evidence that the emergence of gods was an incidental conseuence of several evolutionary factors Using data ranging from ancient skulls and artifacts to brain imaging primatology and child development studies this book traces how new cognitive abilities gave rise to new behaviors For instance autobiographical memory the ability to project ourselves backward and forward in time gave Homo sapiens a competitive advantage However it also led to comprehension of mortality spurr. I am a brain geek with a passing interest in world religions mostly in understanding the psychosocial basis and conseuences of religion so I jumped at the chance to read this book thanks NetGalley It did not disappoint The author posits that religion is a byproduct of human evolution as our brains evolved to understand ourselves make memories think about death etc religion developed as a means of making sense of life and death I do have a few unanswered uestions Specifically how then does the author explain the rise of atheism Is it a conseuence of further brain development scientific advancement or is it adaptive to not believe in a higher power I m not religious myself and these uestions popped up as I finished the book The author s theory is interesting and makes scientific sense however it does not address the fact of no religion which is a drawback This is a very fascinating book though and one that taught me a lot about brain evolution A must read for anyone interested in the subject matter

Download ß E-book, or Kindle E-pub Ä E. Fuller Torrey

Ing belief in an alternative to death Torrey details the neurobiological seuence that explains why the gods appeared when they did connecting archaeological findings including clothing art farming and urbanization to cognitive developments This book does not dismiss belief but rather presents religious belief as an inevitable outcome of brain evolution Providing clear and accessible explanations of evolutionary neuroscience Evolving Brains Emerging Gods will shed new light on the mechanics of our deepest mysteries. This is a strong case for the evolutionary origin of religion ie that gods came about as a result of humans developing brains Here Torrey points toward the acuisition of autobiographical memory and the awareness of death I now understand clearly why I wasn t wild about Nicholas Wade s argument in The Faith Instinct How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures IMO Wade overemphasizes the social and narrowly prosocial benefits of religion Those social benefits may have given believing humans somewhat of an evolutionary advantage but even if they did I don t think they are the ORIGIN of religious belief And religiosity can just as easily be argued to be a negative thing for humankind So I m firmly in the religion is an evolutionary BYPRODUCT not necessarily adaptive campThe book is current 2017 and very readable However while it s a good overview of the subject it s not particularly original Torrey pretty much regurgitates Pascal Boyer Scott Atran Richard Dawkins et al If you re willing to really go deep you could dive into Religion Explained The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought Daniel Dennett also covers the evolutionary origins of religion in part of his Breaking the Spell Religion as a Natural Phenomenon but both Boyer and Dennett are so damn dry You might do just as well to read Michael Shermer s work on patternicity and agenticity in The Believing Brain From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths I think those cognitive systems or cognitive mechanisms are really important and Torrey does not address them

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Religions and mythologies from around the world teach that God or gods created humans Atheist humanist and materialist critics meanwhile have attempted to turn theology on its head claiming that religion is a human invention In this book E Fuller Torrey draws on cutting edge neuroscience research to propose a startling answer to the ultimate uestion Evolving Brains Emerging Gods locates the origin of gods within the human brain arguing that religious belief is a by product of evolutionBased on an idea originally p. The book argues that the idea of gods appeared after the brain went through five specific cognitive developments significant increase in the brain Homo habilis development of self awareness Homo erectus theory of mind archaic Homo sapiens introspective ability to reflect on their own thoughts early Homo sapiens and autobiographical memory modern Homo sapiens Of course the idea that the emergence of the concept of gods was connected to evolution is not new it was first expressed by Darwin himself The author supports the theory that the most recent evolved brain areas which are termed terminal and are associated with most cognitive skills contributed to the development of the idea of godFor the need of supporting his theory he relies on several research areas1 Studies of hominin skulls for example preserved skulls can tell us about the relative brain size and thus importance of the frontal parietal temporal and occipital areas 2 Studies of ancient artifacts which speak of the overall development of the human species and of their cognitive skills for example when early hominins began creating jewelry from shells so they can be liked by other hominins3 Studies of postmortem brains4 Studies of brain imaging of living humans and primates5 Studies of child development Torrey goes into length describing various theories about ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny meaning that the rate at which certain brain areas have developed throughout human evolution are similar to the rates at which the same brain areas develop in the human fetusTorrey heavily relies on the existence of parallel evolution to support his ideas parallel evolution occurs when organisms that have had a common genetic origin continue to evolve along similar lines even though they have been separated For example parallel evolution is considered the reason for the independent invention of pottery writing animal husbandry etcThe author states that only after the last development people were able to experience death truly like the end of existing and thus to imagine a place where deceased ancestors may still exist Of course that doesn t mean that such cognitive skills were non existed before these specific periods it simply means that in these periods they were sufficiently matured to change an individual or a group s behaviourWith the last development ie autobiographical memory agriculture appeared and allowed for large groups of people to settle The burying of the dead in close proximity with the living helped the ancestor cults and worship mature With passing time these worshipped ancestors became numerous some were even arranged in hierarchies At a certain time some of these ancestors crossed a line and became regarded as gods Not long after that gods were secularized and became a political weapon Torrey writes great for the wider audience he is not one to go easy into hyper interpretations which is great and also rare especially when you deal with such a matter He is critical does not accept light heartedly ideas but presents a variety of them in detail to the reader he even dedicates a whole chapter on other theories about the emergence of the idea of gods When speaking of agricultural evolution he also looks at how it developed in China Africa and Mesoamerica many other authors usually skip that The bibliography is extensive and very very rich from scientific papers on neuroimaging or VENs to books on cave art and its significance