David Sloan Wilson, one of the world’s leading evolutionists, addresses a question that has puzzled philosophers, psychologists, and evolutionary biologists for centuries: Does altruism exist naturally among the Earth’s creatures? The key to understanding the existence of altruism, Wilson argues, is by understanding the role it plays in the social organization of groups. Groups that function like organisms indubitably exist, and organisms evolved from groups. Evolutionists largely agree on how functionally organized groups evolve, ending decades of controversy, but the resolution casts altruism in a new light: altruism exists but shouldn’t necessarily occupy center stage in our understanding of social behavior. After laying a general theoretical foundation, Wilson surveys altruism and group-level functional organization in our own species—in religion, in economics, and in the rest of everyday life. He shows that altruism is not categorically good and can have pathological consequences. Finally, he shows how a social theory that goes beyond altruism by focusing on group function can help to improve the human condition in a practical sense. Does Altruism Exist? puts old controversies to rest and will become the center of debate for decades to come.
What does it means to be human? What is the origin of religious beliefs? Why are we moral creatures? Are religious experiences different from our everyday experiences? Is my brain involved in my experiencing God? What is a soul and do I have one? Is religion a result of evolutionary processes? How might psychology and religion relate? Religious experiences (behaviors, thoughts, and emotions) are determined, at least in part, by natural physical processes. As a result, the empirical methods used in psychology to try to identify the natural mechanisms that influence why we act, think, and feel the way we do can provide important insights into the fundamental and universal phenomena of religion. Drawing on current research from a variety of disciplines, Questions in the Psychology of Religion is appropriate for college students studying psychology, pastors as they help their congregations understand how religion and science might go together, and anyone who learns about recent discoveries in psychological science and wonders how these findings pertain to religion and religious experiences.
Violent behavior has become deeply integrated into modern society and it is an unavoidable aspect of human nature. Examining peacemaking strategies through a critical and academic perspective can assist in resolving violence in societies around the world. The Handbook of Research on Examining Global Peacemaking in the Digital Age is a pivotal reference source for the latest research findings on the utilization of peacemaking in media, leadership, and religion. Featuring extensive coverage on relevant areas such as human rights, spirituality, and the Summer of Peace, this publication is an ideal resource for policymakers, universities and colleges, graduate-level students, and organizations seeking current research on the application of conflict resolution and international negotiation.
Sociobiology, Altruism and the Quest for Wesleyan Perfection
Author: Matthew Nelson Hill
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Theology needs to engage what recent developments in the study of evolution mean for how we understand moral behavior. How does the theological concept of holiness connect to contemporary understandings of evolution? If genetic explanations of altruism fall short, what role should we give to environmental explanations and free will? Likewise, how do genetic explanations relate to theological accounts of human goodness and holiness? In this groundbreaking work, Matthew Hill uses the lens of Wesleyan ethics to offer a fresh assessment of the intersection of evolution and theology. He shows that what is at stake in this conversation is not only the future of the church but also the fine-tuning of human evolution.
"This new entry into the concise single-volume encyclopedia market offers a handy, up-to-date resource for ready reference....consists of 6500 entries, 300 black-and-white illustrations, and a 16-page color map section....aims toward international coverage..."--Library Journal.