|Print List Price:||$9.95|
Save $5.20 (52%)
The Religion Virus: Why we believe in God Kindle Edition
|Length: 215 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||
Matchbook Price: $0.00
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
More About the Author
James realized that Darwin's ideas could be extended, applied to any type of information, whether genetic, computer algorithms, or ideas passed from one person to the next. During this research, James inevitably encountered, The Selfish Gene, in which the evolutionist Dawkins lays out these same ideas, and coined the word meme.
After completing his Master's Degree at Stanford, James went on to a career in computer architecture and design, but his study of memetics, religion, sociology and evolution became his second career.
In addition to his work, James is an accomplished guitarist, a tolerable clarinet player, a deep-sea sailor, the father of three, and the executive producer of a feature-length movie. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and bicycling in the beautiful Southern California mountains.
Top Customer Reviews
The first half of the book lays a foundation for James to fully express his ideas, and while this part is a bit dry, it presents the concepts that will factor in later very well. The latter half puts that foundation into action, and the book moves along at a very brisk pace through the end, where James does explain how all of this factors into his own personal point of view.
My only complaint is that he could have fleshed out the back half of the book a bit more, as there are some great ideas that he touches on before moving onto the next one, such as how what we learn as children impacts our belief system for the rest of our lives and how this fits from an evolutionary perspective. It's a whirlwind tour of exclamation point arguments, and this frenzied pace is effective but ends all too soon.
The book is a fascinating read because it breaks down what makes organized religion tick while also giving readers a crash course in basic evolutionary theory and how it applies to the schools of religious thought that thrive today, as well as those that have fallen by the wayside over the centuries. The price on the Kindle edition means that this book is an easy recommendation to anyone curious as to how religion has survived over the centuries and what makes it such a difficult institution to shake, and the tone throughout 99% of the book is merely factual, so tolerant people of all walks have something to gain from checking it out.
The subtitle - Why we believe in God: An evolutionist explains religion's incredible hold on humanity - might confuse some readers. Indeed, I expected to read about cognitive mechanisms or the evolution of human psychology. And to be fair, chapter 7 does cover one possible explanation for our seemingly innate attraction to religion. But that's not what this book is primarily about.
Don't let that deter you from picking up a copy, though. The Religion Virus is an engaging, entertaining, and educational journey from the earliest animist religions to modern Christianity, with a focus on the meme as a unit of "idea evolution." James takes us on a guided tour of religion's development as both a reaction and a shaping force in history.
Since memes are a relatively new concept, with an evolving definition, James helps us out by discussing and explaining his use of the word. In short, a meme is an idea. More specifically, it's an idea that is passed from human to human and/or generation to generation, and "evolves" as it moves through space and time. He is quick to point out that it does not evolve precisely the same way as organisms, but the similarities are striking enough to use the term "evolution" in a colloquial sense and be well justified.
The most important characteristic of memes is that they have "survival ability." A meme's survival is not dependent on its truth value.Read more ›
The Religion Virus is a well-written book that answers quite cogently the question of why religion succeeds as a meme. It's a book that takes a Darwinian approach on how religion has evolved. The book is composed of the following ten chapters: 1. Why is Religion like an Elephant's DNA? , 2. Religion's Infancy, 3. Evolution and Memes, 4. Religion Grows Up, 5. Why Do Humans Talk? 6. Religion's Immunity System, 7. Why Is Religion So Appealing? , The Atheist's Paradox, 9. Religion, Technology and Government, and 10. Closing Sermon.
1. An excellent, well-written, accessible book that answers to satisfaction why we believe in God.
2. Great use of Darwinian concepts of evolution and cultural concepts such as memes to answer the premises of the book.
3. Non-confrontational, even-handed tone throughout.
4. Excellent Kindle value. More wisdom per dollar.
5. Great list of memes (ideas that become accepted cultural beliefs) and better explanations on how said memes help religion survive.
6. Great quotes.
7. The evolution of the concept of god.
8. Sound arguments, good use of logic and supporting data.
9. Some arguments will stay with me. "Survival isn't the relevant term - reproduction is all that matters."
10. Mr. James does a wonderful job of tying everything up.
11. Great references.
12. A treat to read. Highly recommended.
1. I would have liked a table that summarized all the memes.
2. No links to references.
In summary, "The Religion Virus", was a fun, educational, relevant book that exceeded my expectations.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Covered all the ground with facts that we have discussed in our household!! Enjoyed the writing style and especially the quotes throughout the book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Deb T
Most interesting. Will need to read it again to really get the full import of what the author is intending to say. Puts a different perspective on religion I guess.Published 4 months ago by William Allan Wright
Christians know next to nothing about their 'faith'...these books inject some reality into the discussion...Published 13 months ago by Larry in Durango
An understandable and well argued examination of the similarity of religious proliferation and a virus. Well argued and with in depth research and evidencePublished 13 months ago by Bill Manchester
Finally someone makes sense of the question that has confounded me since grade school.Published 14 months ago by The Cookie Lady
Was never certain if I was reading or Mr. James was sitting beside me and we were discussing the topics covered. His synthesis of the various topics was incite of the first order.Published 15 months ago by NJN
This is a very insightful book. I have read several works on the history and evolution of the concept of god, but this book's approach is focused more on why a given brand of... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Amazon Customer