I'm thoroughly impressed with "The Descent of Religion: Its Evolution from Nurturing to Bullying...and Back!" by Liz Carr-Harris. It is a singular work of research; fearless in its questioning of scientific consensus. I think Liz's choice of title is unfortunate. "The Descent of Religion" is a deceptive title. Her work is of such sweeping scope and originality, comparing it to books like "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris, or "The Faith Instinct" by Nicholas Wade is a disservice. Carr-Harris's book is of the same caliber as the profound just published "The Social Conquest of the Earth" by Edward O. Wilson.
Instead of drawing upon evidence from other eusocial species as Wilson does, Liz chooses the aquatic Danakil ape theory as a key element for explaining the evolution of human social culture. Edward O. Wilson draws inference from bees, wasps, termites and ants while Liz Carr-Harris constructs her cultural models from Elaine Morgan's aquatic apes. That these unconventional views represent the biases of their respective authors is self-evident. To discount their consequent insights into human behavior is to miss original thinking rarely available from any source.
Religion is such a polarizing topic. Liz considers human evolution from unicellular life through to our current modern epoch. Those failing to read Liz Carr-Harris's book because they expected her to promote a stereotyped viewpoint will be missing a work of phenomenal depth and originality.
Liz shows as good an understanding of population genetics as anyone I've read. She looks with fresh perspective at modern research from anthropology, biology, archaeology, genetics, geography, earth science, philosophy, psychology; the list of fields is too long to identify. Liz had a master’s degree in experimental psychology, but her strongest interests became archaeology and evolutionary science. She kept abreast of the latest developments in all these fields.
She interprets published science from her own matricentric perspective and has formulated some impressive theories. Liz makes too many intuitive leaps and resulting generalizations informed by her theoretic cultural model. This is understandable given the awesome breadth of her vision and willingness to detail complex interrelationships with fresh viewpoints unconstrained by current scientific consensus.
Literature is replete with authors that attempt to prove their points by selective interpretations and omissions of conflicting facts. This work of Liz Carr-Harris is not like that. Her humanity and positive spirit pervades her book. A Canadian reviewer wrote, "This book is the most amazing work that I have read in a long time. It seems that after reading it, everything that I see is colored by the lens of her writing." Few intellectual experiences ever achieve that kind of emotional impact.