'Religion as Magical Ideology' examines the relationship between rationality and supernatural beliefs arguing that such beliefs are products of evolution, cognition and culture. The book does not offer a false rapprochement between reason and religion; instead, it explores their interrelationship as a series of complex adaptations between cognitive and cultural processes. Exploring the nature of the tension between religious traditions and reason, 'Religion as Magical Ideology' develops a dual inheritance theory of religion - which combines the cognitive byproduct and prosocial adaptation accounts - and analyses the connection between the function of a belief and the degree of protection it gets from potential counter-evidence. With discussion ranging from individual cognitive mechanisms, general functional considerations, to the limits of evolutionary and cognitive processes, the book offers readers a systematic account of how cognition shapes religious beliefs and practices.
Preface 1 Introduction 2 Superstitious reeds 3 The superempirical 4 Magic as cognitive byproduct 5 Religion as magical ideology 6 Religion as Ancestral trait Bibliography Index
The series explores the role of religion and culture in cognitive formation and brings together methods, theories and approaches from the humanities, psychology, and the social, cognitive and neurosciences.