Customer Review

49 of 122 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Since it evolved, therefore it's good, November 22, 2009
This review is from: The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures (Hardcover)
I recently purchased this book, The Faith Instinct, with high expectation, but with also reserve, I was a little hesistant mainly because of the book's subtitle, How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures; I must preface this with the fact, that I am an atheist, however I understand that certain traits must have an evolutionary basis; however, some behavior which benefited our ancestors is now dangerous to us, such as an over-indulgence of sweets and perhaps religion is just as dangerous.

What really is interesting about Wade's book is this. He attacks the main proponent of atheism, Richard Dawkins, as being really cold to religious thinking and how it benefits society. This attack is interesting in two particular areas: The first being that Wade has apparently not read, or understood, The God Delusion and I base this on the fact that Wade makes an accusation that Dawkins sees no benefit to religion-that's partly true, Dawkins does understand the evolutionary basis for religion passing on as a cultural meme-but also that religion is unnecessary for modern human beings. The other fact that is interesting is this, Wade's book was sponsered by the Templeton Foundation which Dawkins attacked in his The God Delusion...Does Mr. Wade have an axe to grind with Dawkins or did the foundation find someone to do their literary dirty work?

Another interesting and depressing fact, is that Wade seems to be a cultural relativist. He writes about in-group morality and pays heavy attention to how religion was able to force people to do things. Is there any mention in this work about the gang-rape of Lot's daughter or more recently the crimes committed against women who have the bad luck of being born in Islamic society? Of course if we followed Wade's view that religion is about morality what would follow from the formula that one can use one religion against another. For example American Christians upset with Islamic theological teachings? Would that be ok?
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 22, 2009 10:16:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2009 9:32:58 PM PST
A. Buchanan says:
Can you cite one or two things specifically? For instance, what were your "high expectations" and exactly how did the book fall short of them? Or perhaps explain how you felt the book leaned more towards "compassionate darwinism" than "reputable darwinism." Then maybe tells us what "reputable darwinism" is.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2009 11:45:44 AM PST
Me thinks the reviewer is unhappy with the book because it isn't about "Religion is evil!!! Mmmmmkkkk!"

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 6:53:10 PM PST
I voted this review as "unhelpful" for the same reasons that the previous commentors have cited as criticisms of this review: he doesn't back up his negative comments with any reasoning nor examples from the book, and he seems to admit a bias by admitting his atheism. Obviously, he was merely looking for something that would confirm his own prejudices, rather than provoke objective reasoning. I happen to be an atheist also, but I do not need to believe that everything about religion is evil, nor that is has made no positive contributions to civilization.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2009 1:35:20 PM PST
Roman Romach says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2010 4:13:16 PM PST
H. Low says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2010 12:52:28 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2010 1:04:48 AM PST
David am I supposed to be upset that you voted my review "unhelpful."? Is anyone else supposed to be impressed with your "unhelpful," vote? I doubt it. You state your vote like you just did some major Senate vote with some kind of authority. "I am David, and voted no on this bill, stand in awe of my vote."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2010 1:02:04 AM PST
Ok: Page 11, "There may be a civil procedure as well, but it does not carry the same weight. It is the religious ceremony that evokes the emotional conviction that two two people have been truly married." On what basis does a religous wedding make it morally better? Would the marriage of a 50 year old to a 13 year old be alright, as long as it's done with religiously?

Same page: "It's easy to underestimate the remarkable nature of the effect achieved by religious belief, just as it is easy to underestimate language, since we take both faculties for granted." Are we to assume that language and religion are the same product? That both have an evolutionary basis? We know that language does have a firm genetic basis due to research regarding FOXP2, but with religion we can't find a firm basis which connects it to any gene which is religious.

As for "compassionate darwinsim," it's a term that applies to some "traits," which people want to argue have an evolutionary basis, just to make people "feel" good about their current state. As for "reputable darwinism," these are traits which have been documented and peer-reviewed by numerous scientists that reinforce the main principles of Darwinism: gradual change, natural selection, sexual selection, etc.
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