on 30 November 2011
"The Religion Addiction" seems a more appropriate title for this book. Most people want to cure a virus, but few are willing to give up their addictions. However, "Religion Virus" is probably a more catchy meme. And the whole point of this book is that what is passed on from person to person ain't necessarily the truth but the most appealing message.
Craig James takes you on a tour that includes genetic evolution, the history of religion, memes, quotes from famous non-believers and skeptics, and personal interludes. Using the concept of memes, Craig shows how religions evolved. His writing style is informal and engaging--it made his book a thoroughly enjoyable read!
on 30 November 2011
A well structured and informative read.
A compelling argument for not subjecting our children to religions or superstitions in their early years.
Memes and how they evolve is clearly explained, and illustrated, a process that we all should be aware of,
in addition to what we already know of genes and genetic evolution.
on 11 February 2014
Craig James very successfully compares and contrasts the evolution of genes in species, with the evolution and (some disastrous) effects of 'memes', since humans evolved the ability to communicate through speech. It is a fascinating and thought provoking read and it does indeed give a very plausible explanation for the extraordinary hold that religion has on so many humans. It is easy to read and compelling in its conclusions. The only criticism I have is that it is replete with dozens of typos, which kept jumping off the page and distracting me. Considering this was a second edition,they should have been eradicated long since. There were so many, and some so annoying, that they eventually began to somewhat spoil an otherwise very worthwhile read. I don't think it can have been proof read or properly edited at all. Ignoring all that, four stars for the good book that it otherwise is.
on 11 March 2013
The author is not primarily an evolutionary biologist, but is extremely well read. He develops Dawkins' memes concept to a sophisticated level. For example, gene selection only works on the individual, and so does meme selection. Hence, the religion meme may give the individual some perceived benefits (comfort, community etc), but actually be bad for society. This is illustrated by the `tragedy of the commons'. Read the book to find out what that means.