Uncommon Sense

January 12, 2022

Another Book Recommendation

Filed under: Reason,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 1:46 pm
Tags: ,

I am only part way through this one but it seems too good to keep to myself. If you, like me, are an atheist, then I think this is a must read book. The reason: well, the author says things exactly as I have been thinking them for quite some time, but almost never am I that blunt.

The book is “The Praying Ape: How Evolution Explains the Strange Phenomenon of Religious Belief” by Allan Lees.

Here is a taste.

Right out of the box, the introduction begins:
“There is one very curious fact about the human race that few people notice: alone among all the other animals on the planet, our species lives largely in an imaginary world. All other animals live in the real world, a world of predators and prey, of hunger and satiation, of inclement weather and shelter. We, on the other hand, see gods and goblins everywhere. We conjure “reasons” for events that are in fact entirely unconnected with our fantastical imaginings. We believe if we mutter ritual incantations and make suitable genuflections these actions will result in some gift being bestowed or some boon being granted by one or more invisible magical creatures for which there has never been the slightest shred of evidence and the existence of which would be contrary to everything we know about how the universe actually works.”

Later he says:

“While lamentable intellectually, it may be necessary emotionally for the vast majority of our species to indulge in this self-deception in order to be able to function adequately on a daily basis. Our minds may simply be incapable of dealing with reality in any meaningful way. Thus superstition, and by extension religious belief, may be a necessary mental crutch upon which most people hobble through life.”
“In conclusion, therefore, we can see that there are no viable arguments to be made for religion, regardless of whether one is pleading morality, utility, causality, or subjectivity. The only other potential argument would be from evidence but this is not a proposition available to religionists simply because there never has been any evidence in favor of whatever superstitious and supernatural beliefs have been invoked across time and place. No religion has ever produced anything even remotely approaching tangible evidence or even secondary or tertiary evidence of the existence of any form of invisible magical creature or “grand plan” or a plausible mechanism by means of which such a creature could create the universe in which we live.”

This book is highly recommended.

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