Why do 70 percent of Americans believe in angels, while others are convinced that theyve been abducted by aliens? Why does every society around the world have a religious tradition of some sort? What makes people believe in improbable things when all the evidence points to the contrary?
In Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, evolutionary biologist Lewis Wolpert delves into the important and timely debate over the nature of belief, looking at beliefs psychological basis to discover just what evolutionary purpose it could serve. Are there advantages to imaginary friends and fantasy worlds, superstitions and religions? Are we born with an evolutionary defense mechanism to believe in things that make us feel better about the world?
Wolpert leads the reader through all that science can tell us about the beliefs we are so instinctually sure of. He deftly explores these questions and the different types of belief-those of children, of animals, of the religious, and of those suffering from psychiatric disorders-and he asks whether it is possible to live without belief, or whether it is a necessary component of a functioning society. About the Author Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College London