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Comment: Ex-library with typical stamps and labels. This copy is the first edition (Copyright 2008 by Paradigm Publishers). It is a clean copy with a tight spine, cloth cover and no dust-jacket. Purchase of this item will help support the programs and collections of the Johnson County (Kansas) Library.
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Supernatural and Natural Selection: Religion and Evolutionary Success (Studies in Comparative Social Science) Hardcover – September 30, 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lyle B. Steadman is Professor of human evolution and social change at Arizona State University. Craig T. Palmer is Assistant Professor of anthropology at the University of MissouriColumbia and coauthor of A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion (MIT Press 2001).
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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Comparative Social Science
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594515654
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594515651
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,405,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Lawrence E. Gasch on September 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the book I've waited a long time to read. As Steadman and Palmer point out, many other researchers have come close to the conclusions found in "Supernatural and Natural Selection", however, none has so accurately hit the target.

Have you ever had disconnected ideas floating around in your head like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle still in its box? Then one day you read a book that puts all those pieces together into one coherent picture. For me, this is that book.

Without going into a lengthy discussion let me briefly mention the points that most intrigue me. First, Steadman's and Palmer's definition of religion is the only one-size-fits-all definition I've ever read. To paraphrase, they define religion as the non-skeptical communicated acceptance of another's supernatural claim. It is elegant in its simplicity yet comprehensive.

Second, they emphasize the idea that particular beliefs are inconsequential. As far as beliefs are concerned, one religion is as good or bad, true or false as any other. From ancestor worship to Scientology, all religions are poured from the same mold and share easily identifiable characteristics.

Third and, perhaps, most important, religions survive and create "descendants" by assuming the guise of a family. Priests may be called "father", fellow religionists may be called "brother and sister" and a supreme being is merely the ultimate ancestor. In any case, religions act like surrogate families in order to retain members and create descendants.

Finally, Steadman and Palmer contrast the shaman and the prophet in this way. The actions of the shaman preserve the status quo, that is, they conserve the existing religion. The actions of the prophet, however, create a new religion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Steadman and Palmer did an excellent job with explaining their evolutional theory on Religion. The examples used in each chapter to illustrate the writers theories were easy to understand. Throughout the book, the theory never changed and was consistent. It was a very well written book and easier to understand than other anthropology books.
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