Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved

Hardcover | June 11, 2010

byMatt Rossano

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In 2006, scientist Richard Dawkins published a blockbuster bestseller, The God Delusion. This atheist manifesto sparked a furious reaction from believers, who have responded with numerous books of their own. By pitting science against religion, however, this debate overlooks what science cantell us about religion. According to evolutionary psychologist Matt J. Rossano, what science reveals is that religion made us human.In Supernatural Selection, Rossano presents an evolutionary history of religion. Neither an apologist for religion nor a religion-basher, he draws together evidence from a wide range of disciplines to show the valuable - even essential - adaptive purpose served by systematic belief in thesupernatural. The roots of religion stretch as far back as half a million years, when our ancestors developed the motor control to engage in social rituals - that is, to sing and dance together. Then, about 70,000 years ago, a global ecological crisis drove humanity to the edge of extinction. Itforced the survivors to create new strategies for survival, and religious rituals were foremost among them. Fundamentally, Rossano writes, religion is a way for humans to relate to each other and the world around them--and, in the grim struggles of prehistory, it offered significant survival andreproductive advantages. It emerged as our ancestors' first health care system, and a critical part of that health care system was social support. Religious groups tended to be far more cohesive, which gave them a competitive advantage over non-religious groups, and enabled them to conquer theglobe. Rather than focusing on one aspect of religion, as many theorists do, Rossano offers an all-encompassing approach that is rich with surprises, insights, and provocative conclusions.

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In 2006, scientist Richard Dawkins published a blockbuster bestseller, The God Delusion. This atheist manifesto sparked a furious reaction from believers, who have responded with numerous books of their own. By pitting science against religion, however, this debate overlooks what science cantell us about religion. According to evolutio...

Matt Rossano is head of the Psychology Department at Southeastern Louisiana University. He is the author of Evolutionary Psychology: The Science of Human Behavior and Evolution.

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Supernatural Selection : How Religion Evolved
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Kobo ebook|May 28 2010

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 6.1 × 9.29 × 1.18 inPublished:June 11, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195385810

ISBN - 13:9780195385816

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Natural Relationships and Supernatural Relationships2. Making a Good Impression3. Every Move You Make: First Signs of the Supernatural Eye4. The African Interregnum5. The African Interregnum Part II6. Before and After the Interregnum: The Evolution of the Two nullModesnull of Religion7. Religion is (or was) an Adaptation8. Religion and Morality9. Religion's Past and Future