Sunday, March 30, 2008

Further Reading from the J. A. Thomson Lecture (Updated!)

I know some of you guys wanted to check out some of Dr. Thomson's book recommendations after the lecture, so I made a list of his sources for you. (It's very very long...)

On Religion as a By-product of Cognitive Mechanisms Designed for Other Purposes:
Scott Atran - In Gods We Trust: The Evoulutionary Landscape of Religion (2002)
Justin Barrett - Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (2004)
Pascal Boyer - Religion Explained (2002)
Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
Daniel Dennett - Breaking the Spell (2007)
Lee Kirkpatrick - Attachment, Evolution and the Psychology of Religion (2004)
Robin Dunbar - "Belief Special: How Evolution Found God" in New Scientist, Jan. 28, 2006.
Richard Sosis - "The Adaptive Value of Religious Ritual" in American Scientist 92:166-172 (2004)

On Humans' Capacity for Suicide and Violence:

Lawrence H. Keeley - War Before Civilization (1996)
Daivd M. Buss - The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill (2005)
Richard W. Wrangham - "Evolution of Coalitionary Killing" in Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, 42: 1-30 (1999)

On Female Suicide Bombers:

Barbara Victor - Army of Roses: Inside the World of Palestinian Women Suicide Bombers (2003)
Mia Bloom - Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror (2005)

On Suicide Terrorism (Islamic and otherwise):
Lawrence Wright - The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (2004)
Mohammed M. Hafez - Suicide Bombers in Iraq (2007)
Christian Caryl - "Why They Do It" in The New York Review of Books, Vol. 52, No. 13 (2005)
Scott Atran - "Genesis of Suicide Terrorism" in Science, March 7, 2003

On the Evolution of Morality:
Michael Shermer - The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule (2004)
John Hartung - "Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality" in Skeptic, Vol. 3, No. 4 (1995)
Marc Hauser - Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong (2006)

Misc. Topics:
Ecology of Religion: Robert M. Sapolsky - Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals

Advocating Children's Rights Against Religious Indoctrination: Nicholas Humphrey - "What Shall We Tell The Children?" Amnesty Lecture, Oxford. Feb 21, 1997

Obedience to Authority:
Wikipedia on the Milgram Experiments (sources listed at end of article)

As Seth pointed out in the comments, he also recommended 2 movies: Paradise Now (2005) and Syriana (2005).


Make that 3 movies, including The Painted Veil (2006) as Dr. Thomson pointed out to me. There's a scene where a nun describes how she fell in love with Jesus. (It's got Edward Norton, so I'm definitely watching this one.)

1 comment:

Seth Goldin said...

Also, there were the two films he recommended, Paradise Now, and Syriana.