One by one, the… components of religion—community worship, obedience to priestly authority, ritual—receive the Thomson treatment. Every point he makes has the ring of truth, abetted by a crisp style and vivid imagery. Andy Thomson is an outstandingly persuasive lecturer, and it shines through his writing. This short, punchy book will be swiftly read—and long remembered.
—Foreword by Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion
Thomson and Aukofer have written a wonderfully concise introduction to our growing scientific understanding of religion. If you would like to learn, in the span of an hour, why we have every reason to believe that God is man-made—this is the book to read.
—Sam Harris, author of the New York Times best sellers, The Moral Landscape, Letter to a Christian Nation, and The End of Faith.
“As an amateur woodworker, I can state from experience that there’s nothing like having the right tools for the job you’re trying to do. Here Andy Thomson and Clare Aukofer have assembled an oh-so-handy tool chest for the layperson who wants to think more clearly about the ever-less-mystical origins of religious belief.”
—August E. Brunsman IV, Executive Director, Secular Student Alliance
“Simply put, this book provides the most compelling scientific explanation for religion ever advanced. Andy Thomson and Clare Aukofer explicate precisely that evolved psychological and brain mechanisms combine to produce religious experiences, and show how religious leaders exploit these mechanisms,sometimes with disastrous results. The book is fascinating from start to finish. It’s at the top of my ‘most highly recommended books’ for 2011.”
—David M. Buss, author of Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind
“Despite all the advancements we have made in science, technology, and medicine, our Paleolithic psychology continues to drag us down into the abyss ofarchaic beliefs,blind faith,and tribal conflict. Andy Thomson and Clare Aukofer explain to us not only why the human mind is so susceptible to believing the unbelievable but also why we are willing to not only die for it,but kill for it as well. Read this book, and when you are done—send it to your congressional representative.”
—R. Elisabeth Cornwell, PhD, Executive Director, Richard Dawkins
Foundation for Reason and Science
“As Andy Thomson and Clare Aukofer point out in this compelling little book, our snap judgments are ‘millions of years in the making’ and so is the human propensity to construct and to believe in gods. I know of no clearer or more concise summary of the various preadaptations that cause us to generate and sustain religious belief.”
—Sarah B. Hrdy, author of Mother Nature and Mothers and Others: The
Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding