Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief

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9780393332032: Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief

"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.

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About the Author:

Lewis Wolpert is Professor Emeritus of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College, London. His books include Six Impossible Things before Breakfast, How We Live and Why We Die, and Malignant Sadness, the basis for a BBC television series.

From Publishers Weekly:

Why do we avoid walking under ladders or breaking mirrors? Why do many people believe that illness is related to wrongdoing? Wolpert, a professor of biology as applied to medicine at University College, London, attempts to answer these and other questions in his marvelously funny and provocative study of the nature of belief. He argues that our beliefs—whether everyday ones or religious ones—offer fundamental explanations of the causes and effects of events. Our beliefs thus become a way of guiding our actions as well as a means of judging others' actions. Taking a page from evolutionary psychology, the author contends that belief has its origin in the human development of language and of tools and their uses. Once our early ancestors made the connection between certain causes and effects—such as a flint causing fire—their discoveries led to other cause-and-effect beliefs. Wolpert also discusses how brain abnormalities, hypnosis and psychedelic drugs can lead to false beliefs, and he concludes that religious belief sometimes falls into this category. While he doesn't discount religious belief, Wolpert says that science offers the most reliable beliefs about how the world works. Wolpert's reflections ask us to reconsider how we look at the world every day. (Jan.)
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Descrizione libro WW Norton Co, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780393332032

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Descrizione libro WW Norton Co, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780393332032

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Descrizione libro WW Norton Co, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. 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. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780393332032

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