Journal of Cognition and Culture 7 (2007) 293–312 www.brill.nl/jocc © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007 DOI: 10.1163/156853707X208521 Spandrels, Gazelles and Flying Buttresses: Religion as Adaptation or as a By-Product Tom Sjöblom Department of Comparative Religion, University of Helsinki
Edited by Stratos Constantinidis
Robert Scott Kretchmar
(1997) to conclude that, whatever the middle part of our story turns out to be, it will be a chronicle of intellectual adaptation, of increasingly sophisticated ways of solving the gritty problems of life. Pinker’s conclusions are echoed by others. Many stories about the so-called great leap forward
Essays in Comparative Criticism
Edited by Gesche Ipsen, Timothy Mathews and Dragana Obradović
The essays written for this book are by researchers from all over the world, and range in topic from the problem of translating biblical Hebrew to modern atheism, from Freud to Marlene van Niekerk, from the formation of one person’s identity to experiences of globalisation, and the relation of history to fiction. Together they display the ground-breaking, ideas which lie at the heart of an act as deceptively simple as comparing one piece of writing to another.
Essays and Testimonies Around Excision and Circumcision
Edited by Chantal Zabus
Experts have been convened in the above fields – SAMI ALDEEB ABU-SAHLIEH, DOMINIQUE ARNAUD, LAURENCE COX, ROBERT DARBY, ANNE–MARIE DAUPHIN–TINTURIER, TOBE LEVIN, MICHAEL SINGLETON, J. STEVEN SVOBODA – along with first-person testimonies from J.K. BRAYTON, SAFAA FATHY, KOFFI KWAHULÉ, and ALEX WANJALA. The volume covers various genres such as sacred writings, literary and philosophical texts, websites, songs, experiential vignettes, cartoons, and film as well as a vast geographical spectrum – from Algeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Kenya, and Somalia to the then Congo and contemporary Northern Zambia; from Syria to Australia and the United States.
In addressing many variants of excision and circumcision as well as other practices such as the elongation of the labia, and various forms of circumcision in Jewish, Islamic, and African contexts, Fearful Symmetries provides an unprecedented, panoptical view of both practices.
Joseph Bulbulia and Andrew Mahoney
considers religious solidarity to be an adaptation for group success, though it is not always clear what unit of selection is implied by “group” (see Group Selection above). Roughly, we assume the total number of groups to be ﬁ xed, that there is variation among the ratios of religionists in these groups
Karenleigh A. Overmann and Thomas Wynn
motorically (Clark, 1997). Clark’s fishy tale relates how an organism interacts with its environment: brain, body, and world are dynamically intertwined to a degree far beyond mere causal linkage. This may aptly describe the human adaptation as well, though our analog is material culture. That is, for both
says that you and most of your choices/actions are driven by the unconscious it is ironic that scientists deride astrology as both seem to share this deterministic viewpoint. However, Rupert Sheldrake asks: “If consciousness does nothing, why has it evolved as an evolutionary adaptation?” 6 According
Michael Moncrieff and Pierre Lienard
to choose from many alternative courses of action, each with its own incentives and payoffs (Skyrms, 2004). Experimental evidence suggests that humans are endowed with refined adaptations to solve such decisional hurdle (Thomas, DeScioli, Haque, & Pinker, 2014). Specific signals and events (e.g., an