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Summary The Illusion of Gods Presence

F faith the greater religiosity of women relative to men religious obsessions with sex the mysterious compulsion to pray the seemingly irrepressible feminine attributes of God even in traditionally patriarchal religions and the strange allure of cults Finally Dr Wathey considers the hypothesis that religion evolved to foster reproductive success arguing that in an age of potentially ruinous overpopulation magical thinking has become a luxury we can no longer afford one that distracts us from urgent threats to our planetDeeply researched yet elegantly written in a jargon free and accessible style this book presents a compelling interpretation of the evolutionary origins of spirituality and religion From the Hardcover edition. Very insightful Enough things to think about for a while We develop the idea of Another when we are just babes and the sense of Another stays with us until we discover where it came from and why The evolutionary byproduct of our biological underpinnings

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The Illusion of Gods Presence

Eran neuroscientist argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs As the infant grows into adulthood this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm Illusion of Gods PDF #10003 of religion where it is reactivated through the symbols imagery and rituals of worship The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion like the popular belief in a god who is judgmental and punishing yet also unconditionally loving the extraordinary tenacity o. This is a uite insightful and stimulating book I will take a little bit different review angle than other five starrers to offer additional insights and one critical bit of critiueLike Scott Atran and Pascal Boyer Wathey offers an evolutionary based account of the development of human religious belief Unlike them though he does not go down the road of cognitive theories While not rejecting the idea that agency imputation and pattern detection run amok beyond our early hominim days and hacked could have been part of the evolution of religion he says that they re insufficient To add to his thoughts the best that can do is say that Something that is Out There is causing otherwise inexplicable things to happenHowever the AtranBoyer angle can t fully explain a personal deity one whose presence countless millions believe they have ineffably experienced and whom billions believe exist as a personal deity In other words they don t explain the rise of belief in a god or gods with whom people believe they have a personal relationshipAnd that s where Wathey starts He believes that attachment theory hacked can explain just that He notes that it especially explains what people call spirituality Now he then adds that this is often feminine in nature What about the masculine image of god in western monotheisms Wathey says that comes from the organized religion side of what constitutes religion He uses parallel lists of dualitiespolarities with some as sliding scale semi polarities to illustrate this with neonatalindividualfeminineimmanent vs socialcorporatemasculinetranscendent He backs this up with surveys about people who identify is primarily religious only primarily spiritual only those spiritual and religious and those neither From there he goes in yet further directions many of which he promises will get yet exploration in a seuelAs other reviewers note so called New Atheists may not like this book any than they do Atran or Boyer Both they and he treat religious beliefs and accounts of religious experiences with respect Wathey adds that he even personallyas a secularist once had a sensation of being in the presence of what he would call the other were he religiousThat gets to the one mild criticism Wathey s clearly talking about things that could be subsumed under numinous as popularized by Rudolf Otto then Jung et al though they may not have personalized this experience as much as he does to personal mystic experiences It was surprising not to see him further explore this avenue in fact Otto isn t even mentioned by name

John C. Wathey ↠ 2 Review

An essential feature of religious experience across of Gods eBook #9734 many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence More than any rituals or doctrines it is this experience that anchors religious faith yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religionStarting with a vivid narrative account of the life threatening hike that triggered his own mystical experience biologist John Wathey takes the reader on a scientific journey to find the sources of The Illusion PDFEPUBreligious feeling and the illusion of God's presence His book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother child bond Dr Wathey a vet. The author holds that few people believe in gods or the supernatural because they are convinced by logical arguments or make a rational decision Instead belief is emotional and experiential not intellectual and I agree Most people he holds believe because they have felt a divine presence such as when they pray worship or are in despair or crisis or joy Raised a Christian Wathey has had two strong mystical experiences of God s presence after he became an atheist experiences that did not change his mind but which drove him to find a naturalistic explanation for this sense of a loving forgiving powerful divinity In explaining his view he includes a lot of interesting material on the neuroscience of infancy and child development I didn t feel his explanation was sufficient but it may well be a factor Also he considered this instinctive divine presence to be like the anthropomorphic parent God he grew up with though he brings up the judgmental punishing God as a different aspect imposed by society for its own ends But then it is his own experience and those raised like him that he is attempting to explain I found the weakest part of the book to be his arguments against mindbody dualism they didn t convinced meAs a person not raised in any religion I ve always wondered why people believe in gods like the Abrahamic Hindu or Classical ones One criticism I would have is that Wathey doesn t emphasize enough that most people believe what they do because they have been trained to do so since earliest childhood usually in a community that assumes and rewards such belief People so trained often hold that belief in such divinities is instinctive or natural but I don t find it so Until there are enough people raised without religious training in a secular context it will be hard to know how natural belief in particular types of supernatural beings really are Still Wathey s orientation toward people s felt experience would be productive for most people than trying to convince through logical argument alone Experience is hard to trump whether one s interpretation of that experience is in line with reality or not


10 thoughts on “The Illusion of Gods Presence

  1. says:

    The Illusion of God’s Presence The Biological Origins of Spiritual Longing by John C Wathey“The Illusion of God’s Presence” is a very solid book that provides biological insights into the belief of “God” Biologist John C Wathey takes the reader on an interesting journey of what’s behind the illusion of God’s presence With a great grasp of the topic this well researched book provides readers with an under

  2. says:

    The author holds that few people believe in gods or the supernatural because they are convinced by logical arguments or make a rational decision Instead belief is emotional and experiential not intellectual and I agree Most people he holds believe because they have felt a divine presence such as when they pray worship or are in despair or cr

  3. says:

    A few decades back my wife and I took the kids to Disney World In August On the third day of heat and humidity we were scheduled to go to that movie themed park which is part of Disney; I think they changed the name of it relatively recently but whatever Anyway all my wife and kids wanted to do was stay at the hotel and go to the po

  4. says:

    Wathey a computational biologist advances a hypothesis such that admits few refutations It is well presented well argued and copiously documented we're dealing here with a hard core empiricist Maybe one that will not go down in history as one of science's great explicators He is no popularizer Wathey is a scientist for scientistsHis prose is

  5. says:

    This is a uite insightful and stimulating book I will take a little bit different review angle than other five starrers to offer additional insights — and one critical bit of critiueLike Scott Atran and Pascal Boyer Wathey offers an evolutionary based account of the development of human religious belief Unlike them though he does not go down the road of cognitive theories While not rejecting the idea that agency imput

  6. says:

    There are a lot of individuals who in spite of reason and lack of evidence still persist in believing in a God There is no argument that can convince them for they claim to have 'experienced' god personally and thus can believe This book offers a naturalistic explanation for this phenomenon It boils down to INNATE predispositions that are evolutionarily formed in the human species and reside in the orbitalfont

  7. says:

    The Origin of God RevealedThe best explanation of belief in gods I have found The roots of belief lie in our extended early developmental genetic and experiential relationships with care givers mothers especially and social bonding The rather bleak ending of the book bothered me because it rang true that our course as a s

  8. says:

    Very insightful Enough things to think about for a while We develop the idea of Another when we are just babes and the sense of Anot

  9. says:

    Interesting interpretation of how religion startedOverall I enjoyed this book uite a lot I was a little bit disappointed that I wasn't reading the scientific book that he keeps teasing us with but this book was enjoyable Chapter 10 did saga bit with technicality correct science but overall is thesis seemed sou

  10. says:

    To thoughtful religious practitioners it will come as no surprise that the experience of God's presence is rooted in perfectly natural biological psychological and anthropological processes Assertions of faith at least healthy ones need not diminish nature and science On the contrary holistic spirituality recognizes the profound union of God with all creation Is God's presence an illusion? Who knows But here's a well written and

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