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NEW AND NOTABLE

Kendrick Frazier

Listing does not preclude future review.

GOD IS WATCHING YOU: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human. Dominic Johnson. Scientific skeptics often wonder how religious belief prevails so widely. Dominic Johnson, who holds a DPhil from Oxford in evolutionary biology as well as a PhD from Geneva University in political science, presents the case that religion—and specifically the fear of supernatural observation and punishment—is an evolutionary adaptation. He says the idea of supernatural retribution has helped preserve moral order and achieve remarkable levels of cooperation. His book seeks to show that belief in supernatural reward and punishment is no quirk of western or Christian culture but is a ubiquitous phenomenon of human nature that spans all cultures; second, he argues that this is no accident but is an evolutionary adaption; and third, he asks us to think through the implications of all this. His valuable exploration into the evolutionary reasons for the power and pervasiveness of religious belief raises troubling issues for us all. Oxford University Press, 2015, 304 pp., $27.95.

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About Skeptical Inquirer

The ‘Lie Detector’ Test Revisited: A Great Example of Junk Science Trends in Scientific Knowledge, Education, and Religion The Science of Meaning Mistaken Memories of Vampires: Pseudohistories and much more.

Other Articles in this Issue


Editor’s Letter
The 2016 American presidential campaign has been in full swing
FEATURES
Recently I came across one of television’s true crime programs
Knowledge of elementary scientific facts is all too sparse among
According to the mainstream, traditional notions, science cannot answer life’s
Most people assume that the chupacabra, like its cryptozoological brethren
Crackpot scientists are very fond of abusing and trivializing science—especially
REVIEWS
Ghosts of Lincoln: Discovering His Paranormal Legacy. By Adam Selzer
Walking Among Us: The Alien Plan to Control Humanity. By
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Kudos to Dr. Morton E. Tavel for his article “Correlations:
NEWS AND COMMENT
A major new investigation thoroughly documents how a big oil
In December 2014, our Committee for Skeptical Inquiry issued a
A Rutgers-Newark professor was accused of sexually assaulting a disabled
Over a decade ago in the pages of Skeptical Inquirer
Dick Smith, a longtime fellow of the Committee for Skeptical
A triple homicide in Florida in July 2015 was suspected
Rumors of a supernatural phenomenon circulated among residents of two
CONFERENCE REPORTS
The Sixteenth European Skeptics Congress was held at Goldsmiths College,
I love attending skeptic conferences. For much of my life
SPECIAL REPORT
Nearly 500 people crowd The Fashion Institute of Technology’s Haft
COMMENTARY
T he honorary doctorate being awarded by Goldsmiths is deeply
INVESTIGATIVE FILES
Joe Nickell, PhD, a former private detective, did graduate work
PSYCHIC VIBRATIONS
Sheaffer’s “Psychic Vibrations” column has appeared in the Skeptical Inquirer
SKEPTICAL INQUIREE
Benjamin Radford is a research fellow at the Committee for
THE SCIENCE OF SCIENCE COMMUNICATION
Matthew Nisbet is associate professor of communication at Northeastern University