[extropy-chat] Putting God to Rest

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Tue Apr 24 23:32:33 UTC 2007

On 4/24/07, Robert Bradbury wrote:
> They do not go back that far.  The chimp-human split is ~4 million years ago
> and there is significant discussion as to whether inbreeding took place
> post-split.  Chimps can copy/imitate but they do not have a spoken language
> (which can be used to transport an emplace memes in other repositories).
> You have a distinct analytical problem -- did or did not "belief in
> religion" predate spoken language.  Perhaps more importantly did religion
> predate the organizations which produced such ( e.g. pre-Pharaonic cultures
> 5000-10000 years BCE?)
> My primary point being that while acceptance and imitation may have biased
> humanity with respect to religion it is very difficult to make the argument
> that this is a multi-million year old trait.

Writing appeared around 3000 BCE in various cultures.

Before this period it is pretty much speculation as to what forms
religion might have taken, possibly fertility rites and goddess

23,000 years ago the Venus of Willendorf, a small statuette of a
female figure, discovered at a Paleolithic site near Willendorf,
100,000 years ago The first anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens)
appear in Africa.
150,000 years ago "Mitochondrial Eve" lived in Africa.
700,000 years ago Common genetic ancestor of humans and Neanderthals.

But pre-human cave paintings in Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania
date back to around  2.6 - 1.4 million years ago. It could be that
this is the first signs of religion starting, where they tried to
encourage hunting success.

So I don't think it is much of a stretch to say that the mental
origins of religion go back millions of years.
Now if you mean civilization and organised religion, then you are
talking about 10,000 years ago, when farming and permanent settlements


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