It is all about modelling
This book is an attempt to provide enough hypotheses for a new model of religion to come. A new way of looking at religion is necessary. We need to have more quantitative measures to study religion. Let us think of religions as if they are viruses, they behave like viruses, they spread like viruses, and we can trace them in the same way we can trace viruses, and we can treat them in the same way we can (or can we?) treat viruses. Let us push this model forward and see if it can take care of at least a portion of the problems we have with religions.
We even can say that this is an attempt to model religions as if they exist and as if they inflict suffering upon us. If I feel the pain, then I feel justified, not in a logical sense, to write a book about what has caused me that pain. That is enough justification, for me, to go about attempting to build up a model of the thing that causes me the pain. If you have found yourself in my league, so the better for me! If not, more power to you, since you might be immune to what causes me such an intolerable pain!
“Duhem-Quine thesis – [...] Usually the term refers to the holistic doctrine that no scientific theory can be tested in isolation, since the derivation of an observation sentence from any theory requires a host of auxiliary hypotheses, theories, and assumptions. From this, it is usually concluded that falsification is ambiguous. But, some philosophers go further and conclude that the acceptance or rejection of particular scientific theories can never be justified by observational evidence. Thus, the presumed truth of Duhem-Quine thesis is often appealed to by those who wish to emphasize the role of convention, contextual value, and social forces in the decision to accept or reject scientific theories.” (Curd and Cover 1998, 1296)
A uniform theory of the origin of all religions seems to be far-fetched. The simple reason is that the emergence of a religion does not simply depend on one factor. Although the initial causes that contribute to the emergence and the evolution of a religion might be related to one another in many ways, they are not necessarily of the same kind.
Hence, it seems highly implausible to build a theory of religion based on only one cause. It means that, for example, we cannot hold charlatanism as the sole cause of a religion even where that is obviously applicable to the case of Baha’i faith. Nor can one only appeal to the biological shortages in our bodily architecture and our inherited unintelligent design to explain why some people are addicted to religion or why there are religions at all. In the case of the religions that I am aware of, the causes are always more than one. However, not all religions are caused by all possible causes. We may call these causes ingredients. A religion could be erected using a combination of sufficient ingredients. Additionally, while not all ingredients are always necessary, a particular collection of them could be sufficient.