Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods

Early Humans and the Origins of Religion

Author: E. Fuller Torrey

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231544863

Category: Science

Page: 291

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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 question. Evolving Brains, Emerging Gods locates the origin of gods within the human brain, arguing that religious belief is a by-product of evolution. Based on an idea originally proposed by Charles Darwin, Torrey marshals evidence that the emergence of gods was an incidental consequence 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, spurring belief in an alternative to death. Torrey details the neurobiological sequence 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.
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The Evolution of Religion, Religiosity and Theology

A Multi-Level and Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Author: Jay R. Feierman,Lluis Oviedo

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1000704858

Category: Religion

Page: 302

View: 8381

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This book takes a multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary approach to religion, religiosity and theology from their earliest beginnings to the present day. It uniquely brings together the natural sciences and theology to explore how religious practice emerged and developed through the four sections into which the book is organized: Evolutionary biology; Philosophical linguistics, psychology and neuroscience; Theology and Anthropology. The volume features an international panel of contributors who develop an innovative picture of religion as a culturally-created social institution; religiosity as a more personal and subjective anthropological element of people expressed through religion; and theology as the study of god. To survive in changing times, living systems — a good characterization of religion, religiosity and theology — all must adaptively evolve. This is a vital study of a rapidly burgeoning field. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars in religious studies and theology as well as in the psychological, sociological, and anthropological study of religion.
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The Genesis Hypothesis

Nature’s Creation of the Heavens, the Earth, Man and His Gods

Author: Louis Perry

Publisher: Xlibris Corporation

ISBN: 1796019887

Category: Nature

Page: 130

View: 9024

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The Genesis Hypothesis is simple—nature created the heavens, the earth, and man and his gods. Many, maybe most people, may ask “What about a god being the creator?” To seek an answer, we will examine both what scientists have uncovered on creation and what religious narratives tell us about creation. Scientific discoveries have given insights into the creation of the universe, the earth, and biological life. And from these studies, we have learned about the evolution of Homo sapiens’s ability to conceive of god narratives that describe the creation of the universe. And from the narrative, we have learned about creation stories by gods. Thus, we have two creation stories to consider, nature and God. Nature’s story is based on observations and experiments, and religious stories are based on interpretations of supernatural religious narratives written by man. As would be expected when comparing the two creation stories based on two different authorities, there are conflicts. Using the Christian narrative as a reference, we can identify the conflicts, study and outline possible ways for lessening the conflicts. Nature’s information on the universe and religious concepts on creation will be around for many years, so it is important to learn about each, their conflicts, and possible ways to live with both.
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Mannerism, Spirituality and Cognition

The Art Of Enargeia

Author: Lynette M. F. Bosch

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1000025098

Category: Art

Page: 144

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This book employs a new approach to the art of sixteenth-century Europe by incorporating rhetoric and theory to enable a reinterpretation of elements of Mannerism as being grounded in sixteenth-century spirituality. Lynette M. F. Bosch examines the conceptual vocabulary found in sixteenth-century treatises on art from Giorgio Vasari to Federico Zuccari, which analyses how language and spirituality complement the visual styles of Mannerism. By exploring the way in which writers from Leone Ebreo to Gabriele Paleotti describe the interaction between art and spirituality, Bosch establishes a religious base for the language of art in sixteenth-century Europe. The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, Renaissance studies, religious studies, and religious history.
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Honest To Goodness

An Ethical and Spiritual Odyssey

Author: Martin Prozesky

Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers

ISBN: 1532665385

Category: Religion

Page: 328

View: 5737

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Honest to Goodness proposes a new Christian presence that is free of dogmatism, exclusivism, and biblicism. It charts a way back to the spiritual and ethical revolution begun by Jesus of Nazareth, one that can make a vital difference to needless evils such as bigotry, environmental destruction, poverty, and violence. The book reveals the author’s experience of living under, against, and after apartheid, insisting that a faith that does not confront this world’s evils is no faith at all, but a dangerous betrayal of all that is good, beautiful, and true. Honest to Goodness unflinchingly identifies the grave moral shortcomings that are embedded in traditional Christian beliefs and practices, and proposes ways of transforming them into harmony with the divine goodness that the author discerns everywhere. Embracing a world of religious diversity, science, and creative philosophy, the book describes a new way of experiencing and expressing the divine. It defends faith by moving beyond both theism and atheism.
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Evolution and the Emergent Self

The Rise of Complexity and Behavioral Versatility in Nature

Author: Raymond L. Neubauer

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231521685

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 7972

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Evolution and the Emergent Self is an eloquent and evocative new synthesis that explores how the human species emerged from the cosmic dust. Lucidly presenting ideas about the rise of complexity in our genetic, neuronal, ecological, and ultimately cosmological settings, the author takes readers on a provocative tour of modern science's quest to understand our place in nature and in our universe. Readers fascinated with "Big History" and drawn to examine big ideas will be challenged and enthralled by Raymond L. Neubauer's ambitious narrative. How did humans emerge from the cosmos and the pre-biotic Earth, and what mechanisms of biological, chemical, and physical sciences drove this increasingly complex process? Neubauer presents a view of nature that describes the rising complexity of life in terms of increasing information content, first in genes and then in brains. The evolution of the nervous system expanded the capacity of organisms to store information, making learning possible. In key chapters, the author portrays four species with high brain:body ratios—chimpanzees, elephants, ravens, and dolphins—showing how each species shares with humans the capacity for complex communication, elaborate social relationships, flexible behavior, tool use, and powers of abstraction. A large brain can have a hierarchical arrangement of circuits that facilitates higher levels of abstraction. Neubauer describes this constellation of qualities as an emergent self, arguing that self-awareness is nascent in several species besides humans and that potential human characteristics are embedded in the evolutionary process and have emerged repeatedly in a variety of lineages on our planet. He ultimately demonstrates that human culture is not a unique offshoot of a language-specialized primate, but an analogue of fundamental mechanisms that organisms have used since the beginning of life on Earth to gather and process information in order to buffer themselves from fluctuations in the environment. Neubauer also views these developments in a cosmic setting, detailing open thermodynamic systems that grow more complex as the energy flowing through them increases. Similar processes of increasing complexity can be found in the "self-organizing" structures of both living and nonliving forms. Recent evidence from astronomy indicates that planet formation may be nearly as frequent as star formation. Since life makes use of the elements commonly seeded into space by burning and expiring stars, it is reasonable to speculate that the evolution of life and intelligence that happened on our planet may be found across the universe.
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The Making of the New Spirituality

The Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition

Author: James A. Herrick

Publisher: InterVarsity Press

ISBN: 9780830832798

Category: Religion

Page: 331

View: 8078

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A 2004 ECPA Gold Medallion Finalist! One of Preaching magazine's 2004 "Top Ten Books Every Preacher Should Read"! Neo-paganism. The paranormal. Astrology. Nature religion. Holistic thinking. Healing. New Age. New spirituality. A massive shift in Western religious attitudes has taken place almost without our noticing it. The Judeo-Christian tradition of Western culture has slowly but steadily been eclipsed by a new way of viewing spirituality. This shift has been in the making for some three hundred years. James A. Herrick tells the story of how the old view has been dismantled and a new one created not primarily through academic or institutional channels but by means of popular religious media--books, speeches, magazines and pamphlets, as well as movies, plays, music, radio interviews, television programs and websites. Although the new spirituality is diffuse and eclectic in its sources and manifestations, Herrick demonstrates a significant convergence of ideas, beliefs, assumptions, convictions and images in the myriad ways this New Religious Synthesis makes its way into our culture. In fact, the new spirituality, says Herrick, directly calls into question each major tenet of Judeo-Christian tradition and so represents a radical alternative to it. Interest in spirituality increases while participation in institutional religion wanes. Many welcome this evolution of religion. However, few are familiar with its roots, and fewer still have critically examined its prospects. As we stand at a spiritual crossroad, Herrick questions whether we are wise to discard the Western religious tradition and adopt the new spirituality.
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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: 5522

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God Is Here to Stay offers new insights into one of humankind's most profound questions: Does God exist? During the past ten years, theists and new atheists have argued to prove or disprove God's existence. Examining the pros and cons of each side leads to one overarching conclusion: The existence of God can be neither proven nor disproven with complete certainty, even though both sides draw on modern science to support their views. Drs. Thomas R. McFaul and Al Brunsting approach the question of God's existence from an entirely fresh perspective. They examine scientific knowledge in several areas ranging across the physical sciences and human experience to explain how the universe operates within very narrow and highly structured boundaries. Most importantly, they create an innovative L-M Confidence Scale to establish confidence levels, not proofs, on how scientific discoveries impact belief in God. McFaul and Brunsting describe the three stages of scientific evolution. In stage 1, the world's religions developed divergent pre-scientific views. Modern science started with stage 2, during which atheists predicted that science would eventually eradicate religion. In stage 3, the authors show how science, evolution, and belief in God have become increasingly integrated and mutually supportive.
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The Philosophy of Religion Reader

Author: Chad Meister

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Religion

Page: 718

View: 9577

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Reflecting current trends and research interests in the field, this introduction explores key writings from both the Western theistic tradition and from non-Western, non-theistic sources.
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Blue Sky God

The Evolution of Science and Christianity

Author: Don MacGregor

Publisher: John Hunt Publishing

ISBN: 1846949378

Category: Religion

Page: 270

View: 8307

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Blue Sky God interprets some new scientific theories with blue sky thinking to bring radical insights into God, Jesus and humanity, drawing also on some deep wells from the past in the writings of the early Christians. In an accessible style, it looks at science research and theories in areas such as quantum physics and consciousness, epigenetics, morphic resonance and the zero point field. From there, seeing God as the compassionate consciousness at the ground of being, it draws together strands to do with unitive consciousness and the Wisdom way of the heart. Throughout, it seeks to encourage an evolution in understanding of the Christian message by reinterpreting much of the theological language and meaning that has become ‘orthodoxy’ in the West. In doing so, it challenges many of the standard assumptions of Western Christianity. It outlines a spiritual path that includes elements from all of the world's great religions, is not exclusive, and yet has a place of centrality for Jesus the Christ as a Wisdom teacher of the path of transformative love.
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