Like a selfish gene or a parasite, the religion virus catches a free ride in the minds of our species, infecting our history and culture. What Guns, Germs and Steel did for anthropology, this book does for faith. It puts the pieces together into a fascinating, coherent model that makes sense! (Dan Barker, President, Freedom From Religion Foundation.) Craig A. James has written an accessible book on evolution and religion that manages to explain memetics while being both funny and touching. (Wes Unruh, author, The Art of Memetics, editor of alteratic.com.) Full of powerful, ground-breaking ideas, packaged in a deceptively simple, easy-reading style. James has created one of those rare books where, every few pages, I find myself thinking, "I need to send a copy of this to so-and-so." This is the most fun I've had reading non-fiction in a long time. (Phil Steele, Editor, Fragment and The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics)
Why do some beliefs become extinct while others adapt and flourish? James shows us how genetic evolution and cultural evolution, though operating at different rates, are one and the same. Recent science has gone a long way toward explaining the origin of religious belief in evolutionary terms, but Craig James has cracked open the mystery of its tenacity. Religion does not exist for us, it exists for its own sake. Like a selfish gene or a parasite, the religion virus catches a free ride in the minds of our species, infecting our history and culture.