“Hank Davis does a terrific job in helping readers understand how ways of thinking that were both reasonable and advantageous in caveman days become illogical – and potentially destructive – when they are overextended to modern times. A stimulating, thought-provoking book!”
MADELEINE VAN HECKE
Author of Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things
“An intriguing idea - cogently argued. Hank Davis reveals the deep roots of humanity's weakness for superstitions, blind assumptions and primitive thinking, and shows how we can start to overcome ‘caveman logic.’"
Author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age
“Why do we humans suffer from delusions such as those of religion? Davis gives the best explanation yet. Our brains are still the same as our Pleistocene ancestors whose survival was enhanced by seeing dangers even when they were none there. By critical thinking we can rid ourselves of these no longer needed survival tools.”
VICTOR J. STENGER
Author of the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis
We see the face of the Virgin Mary staring up at us from a grilled cheese sandwich and sell the uneaten portion of our meal for $37,000 on eBay. While science offers a wealth of rational explanations for natural phenomena, we often prefer to embrace the fantasies that reassured our distant ancestors. And we’ll even go to war to protect our delusions against those who do not share them.
These are examples of what evolutionary psychologist Hank Davis calls “Caveman Logic.” Although some examples are funny, the condition itself is no laughing matter. In this engagingly written book, Davis encourages us to transcend the mental default settings and tribal loyalties that worked well for our ancestors back in the Pleistocene age. Davis laments a modern world in which more people believe in ESP, ghosts, and angels than in evolution. Superstition and religion get particularly critical treatment, although Davis argues that religion, itself, is not the problem but “an inevitable by-product of how our minds misperform.”
Davis argues, “It’s time to move beyond the one-size-fits-all, safety and comfort-oriented settings that got our ancestors through the terrifying Pleistocene night.” In contrast, Davis advocates a world in which “spirituality” is viewed as a dangerous rather than an admirable quality, and suggests ways in which we can overcome our innate predisposition toward irrationality. He concludes by pointing out that “biology is not destiny.” Just as some of us succeed in watching our diets, resisting violent impulses, and engaging in unselfish behavior, we can learn to use critical thinking and the insights of science to guide individual effort and social action in the service of our whole species.
FURTHER PRAISE FOR CAVEMAN LOGIC:
“What was good enough 200,000 years ago no longer works very well. Davis makes his case with illuminating examples from everyday life. Caveman Logic is written with wit, humor and compassion. A must-read for those searching beyond superstition and fear to understand our place in the universe.”
PROFESSOR HARRY M. B. HURWITZ
Director, The Lessing Institute
“Caveman Logic is a whirlwind tour through the deeper recesses of our evolved mind. Hank Davis brings to bear cutting-edge research from the cognitive sciences to reveal how mental tools designed to serve the needs of our ancient ancestors continue to exert an influence, both subtle and powerful, on human thought and behavior today. Davis argues that to allow this primitive mindset free play in a world armed with weapons of mass destruction is to court our own doom, and he makes this case in a manner that is both compelling and entertaining. This is a work that can be read and appreciated by a wide range of readers - and deserves to be.”
Associate Professor of Religion, Hofstra University
Author of In the Name of God: The Evolutionary Origins
of Religious Ethics and Violence
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Hank Davis (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) is an award-winning professor of psychology who teaches at the University of Guelph. He is the author of several books on behavioral science and popular culture and more than one hundred scientific papers.