[ExI] Ants for spike! Dawkins and Wilson

Max More max at maxmore.com
Sun Nov 15 18:23:12 UTC 2009

>The Evolution of the God Gene
>Nicholas Wade

Thanks for posting that, spike.

What bothered me about Wade's article is the quick assumption that 
evolution has directly favored religious belief. It seems at least as 
likely to me that evolutionary pressures have led to certain general 
cognitive and emotional capabilities (including the ability to create 
narratives, and a desire for certainty) that make it easy for most 
humans to construct religious beliefs.

The distinction between a direct evolutionary effect and the more 
derivative effect could be significant. If the latter is the case, we 
should have more critical tools for resisting the religious impulse 
-- or at least its irrational and destructive aspects.

Which reminds of something else that bothered me in Wade's piece: He 
uses "religion" as if it were a simple phenomenon, rather than a 
fuzzy collection of beliefs, practices, and communities. Evolutionary 
pressures probably have different degrees of influence for difference 
components of "religion". I don't see why, for instance, (a) shared 
beliefs strengthening social bonds should be treated exactly the same 
as (b) worship of and obeisance to a higher power.


Max More, Ph.D.
Strategic Philosopher
Extropy Institute Founder
max at maxmore.com

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