n Journal for Islamic Studies - The Biology of Religious Behaviour. The Evolution Origins of Faith and Religion, Jay R Feierman (Ed.) : book review

Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0257-7062



Do religious practices have any value from an evolutionary point of view? This book, edited by JR Feierman, a retired clinical psychiatrist, could be the answer to the question posed by neuroscientists, philosophers and evolutionary biologists as to why religious beliefs and practices have persisted through the ages into modern times (pp. 23-24). Using Darwin's ideas as a general theoretical framework for understanding aspects of religion, it observes the religious behaviour of people in their daily lives (p. xvi). Religion as such is supernatural (pp. 21-25) and outside the realm of scientific investigation whilst religious behaviour is observable and identifiable by the senses (pp. 28-29). It is puzzling that despite the emergence of so much scientific information about the origins of the universe and species, belief in a deity, a common denominator of all religions, despite its perceived illogicality (pp. 21-25), remains steadfast and with no sign of abating anytime soon. In Darwinian terms this would be considered an adaptation (p. xvii). Science, even to the extent that it has demystified the universe and offered explanations of various phenomena, has not replaced religion as a source of meaning and comfort to human beings! (pp. xii and 71).

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