Review of Religion Explained The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought by Pascal Boyer (2002)

Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization -- Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 3rd Ed 686p(2017) (2017)
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You can get a quick summary of this book on p 135 or 326. If you are not up to speed on evolutionary psychology you should first read one of the numerous recent texts with this term in the title. One of the best is " The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology " by Buss, but it is big and expensive. Until about 15 years ago, ´explanations´´of behavior have not really been explanations of mental processes at all, but rather vague and largely useless descriptions of what people did and what they said, with no insight into why. We might say that people gather to commemorate an event, praise god, receive his (or her or their) blessings, etc, but none of this describes the relevant mental processes so we might say they are explanations in much the same way that it explains why an apple drops to the ground if we say its because we released it and it's heavy-there is no mechanism and no explanatory or predictive power. This book continues the elucidation of the genetic basis of human behavior which has been almost univerally ignored and denied by academia, religion, politics and the public(see Pinker´s excellent book``The BlankSlatè`). His statement (p3) that it is meaningless to ask if religion is genetic is mistaken as the percentage of variation due to genes and environment can be studied, just as they are for all other behaviors (see eg. Pinker). The title should be "Preliminary Attempts to Explain Some Aspects of Primitive Religion" since he does not treat higher consciousness at all (e.g., satori, enlightenment etc.) which are by far the most interesting phenomena and the only part of religion of personal interest to intelligent, educated people in the 21st century. Reading this entire book, you would never guess such things exist. Likewise for the immense field of drugs and religion. It lacks a framework for rationality and does not mention the dual systems of thought view which is now so productive. For these I suggest my own recent papers. Nevertheless, the book has much of interest and in spite of being dated is still worth reading. Those wishing a comprehensive up to date account of Wittgenstein, Searle and their analysis of behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my article The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language as Revealed in Wittgenstein and Searle (2016). Those interested in all my writings in their most recent versions may download from this site my e-book ‘Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks (2016)- Articles and Reviews 2006-2016’ by Michael Starks First Ed. 662p (2016). All of my papers and books have now been published in revised versions both in ebooks and in printed books. Talking Monkeys: Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle--Articles and Reviews 2006-2016 (2017) Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017)

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