Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2006 - Science - 243 pages
6 Reviews
In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, the White Queen tells Alice that to believe in a wildly improbable fact she simply needs to "draw a long breath and shut [her] eyes." Alice finds this advice ridiculous. But don't almost all of us, at some time or another, engage in magical thinking? Seventy percent of Americans believe in angels; 13 percent of British scientists "touch wood"; 40 percent of Americans believe that astrology is scientific. And that is only the beginning.

In Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Lewis Wolpert tackles one of the most important causes on the horizon of public debate: the nature of belief. Looking at belief's psychological basis and its possible evolutionary origins in physical cause and effect, Wolpert expertly investigates what science can tell us about those concepts we are so sure of, covering everything from everyday beliefs that give coherence to our experiences, to religious beliefs, to paranormal beliefs for which there is no evidence.
 

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SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS BEFORE BREAKFAST: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A curious mélange of speculation, theory and fact strives to explain why humans have beliefs.Wolpert (Biology/University College, London) starts out by observing how devoted we are to our beliefs and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PointedPundit - LibraryThing

In this book Lewis Wolpert tackles the nature of belief. An English biology professor explores belief's psychological basis and its possible evolutionary origins in physical cause and effect ... Read full review

Contents

Everyday
3
Belief
23
Children
35
Animals
51
Tools
69
Believing
83
False
97
Religion
117
Paranormal beliefs
139
Health
161
Moral
187
Science
201
Believable?
217
References
221
Index
231
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About the author (2006)

Lewis Wolpert is Professor Emeritus of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College, London. His books include Six Impossible Things before Breakfast, How We Live and Why We Die, and Malignant Sadness, the basis for a BBC television series.

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