- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (10 Feb. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1857885600
- ISBN-13: 978-1857885606
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.7 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 889,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The God Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny and the Meaning of Life Hardcover – 10 Feb 2011
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'Thanks to evolution we naturally expect there to be a god - or gods - watching over us. Our brains interpret the world around us in ways that created God; the notion of the divine is a scratch on our psychological lenses, says psychologist Jesse Bering. Bering admits that explaining away God in this way is radical and possibly dangerous, but he handles it deftly. His writing is witty, crammed with pop-culture references, and he employs examples and analogies that make his arguments seem like common sense rather than the hard-earned scientific insights they really are. This fascinating book presents gentle, nuanced but convincing arguments for atheism. Bering knows he can't change the world, though. Thoroughly and permanently removing God from our heads would require a neurosurgeon not a science teacher, he says.'
'A balanced and considered approach to this often inflammatory topic'
'Jesse Bering is a brilliant young psychologist, a gifted storyteller and a very funny man. And his first book, The God Instinct, is a triumph-a moving, provocative, and entertaining exploration of the human search for meaning.'
Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology, Yale University, author of How Pleasure Works
'There's a place in our minds where God goes. This spellbinding book explains how: We humans find the idea of God inviting because we evolved to perceive minds all around us. Bering's own clever research on children s perceptions of the supernatural is the centerpiece in his rich portrayal of the newly unfolding science of belief in God.'
Daniel M. Wegner, Harvard University, author of The Illusion of Conscious Will
Since God didn't exist, our human ancestors found it necessary to invent him. In this scintillating book, Jesse Bering explains, with characteristic wit and wisdom, how, in the course of human evolution, God returned the compliment -- by helping individuals, despite themselves, lead better lives. --
--Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor London School of Economics and author of Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness
Since God didn't exist, our human ancestors found it necessary to invent him. In this scintillating book, Jesse Bering explains, with characteristic wit and wisdom, how, in the course of human evolution, God returned the compliment -- by helping individuals, despite themselves, lead better lives. --Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor London School of Economics and author of Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness
In this entertaining and thought-provoking book, Jesse Bering unravels the evolutionary mystery of why we grapple for meaning, purpose and destiny in life. He argues that God is not merely an idea to be entertained or discarded based on the evidence. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is easy to read, entertaining and one of the better books of its type out there on the market. Enjoy!
This capacity to think about minds is very likely the one big difference between humans and other animals. There is no question that many other species have sophisticated minds capable of all sorts of marvellous cognitive feats, but we should resist the temptation to imagine the only differences are of degree and not of kind. There is an ongoing scientific debate over whether the human species is "unique in being able to conceptualize unobservable mental states" but what is not in doubt is "that we're uniquely good at it": human beings "are exquisitely attuned to the unseen psychological world".Read more ›
The trouble is that the God Jesse is discussing is very recent in terms of human evolution. It's obvious that He is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God, such as the One revealed to Moses. I can't find out when this was reckoned to have happened but the Israelites are thought to have entered Canaan circa 1,000BC already cognisant of the Ten Commandments. Circa 1,500BC the radical pharaoh, Akhenaton, tried to introduce monotheism in Egypt. He failed, but perhaps Moses came down from the mountain with his tablets of stone around the same time. Even so, this was a mere 3,500 years ago. Compare this trifle with three million years. If the australopithecine, Lucy, could be said to be part human, she lived longer ago than that.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We develop the ability to predict the reactions of other people, even when those people are absent. From this simple statement, Bering investigates the implications for our... Read morePublished on 10 May 2014 by K. Philip Harrison
I very rarely give up on a book, especially one on this sort of topic. I am happy if someone makes an argument I think is wrong, provided they do it validly, and preverably... Read morePublished on 13 May 2013 by Dr. C. Jeynes
This is an interesting book, but the author's reasons for concluding that we have a "God instinct" don't ring wholly true for me. Read morePublished on 11 May 2013 by tartanreader
A very thought provoking and intelligent analysis of human behaviour. The explanations of why humans have been and are still attracted to religion, should make you question any... Read morePublished on 4 April 2013 by Amazon Customer
An insightful, and indeed humorous, look at why we necessarily invent/need/depend on God and his cohorts. Theory of mind is everything to humankind, but is it a good thing? Read morePublished on 17 Feb. 2011 by G. Blackburn
I've just finished "The God Instinct". It's something I've had all my adult life, although I don't now have a strong belief in a personal god. Read morePublished on 16 Feb. 2011 by David