"Thanks to evolution we naturally expect there to be a god – or gods – watching over us. Our brains interpret the world around us in ways that created God; the notion of the divine is a scratch on our psychological lenses, says psychologist Jesse Bering. Bering admits that explaining away God in this way is radical and possibly dangerous, but he handles it deftly. His writing is witty, crammed with pop-culture references, and he employs examples and analogies that make his arguments seem like common sense rather than the hard-earned scientific insights they really are. This fascinating book presents gentle, nuanced but convincing arguments for atheism. Bering knows he can't change the world, though. Thoroughly and permanently removing God from our heads would require a neurosurgeon not a science teacher, he says."
– New Scientist
"A balanced and considered approach to this often inflammatory topic."
"Jesse Bering is a brilliant young psychologist, a gifted storyteller and a very funny man. And his first book, The Belief Instinct, is a triumph – a moving, provocative, and entertaining exploration of the human search for meaning."
– Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology, Yale University, author of How Pleasure Works
"Since God didn't exist, our human ancestors found it necessary to invent him. In this scintillating book, Jesse Bering explains, with characteristic wit and wisdom, how, in the course of human evolution, God returned the compliment -- by helping individuals, despite themselves, lead better lives."
– Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor London School of Economics and author of Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness
"I'm certainly no expert in evolutionary psychology, but [after reading The God Instinct] I feel like one... a book without God but brimful of humanity."
– Simon Winchcombe, Producer, BBC Horizon
"There's a place in our minds where God goes. This spellbinding book explains how: we humans find the idea of God inviting because we evolved to perceive minds all around us. Bering's own clever research on children s perceptions of the supernatural is the centerpiece in his rich portrayal of the newly unfolding science of belief in God."
– Daniel M. Wegner, Harvard University, author of The Illusion of Conscious Will