[ExI] Rick Warren on religion

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 23:37:19 UTC 2018

On Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 1:15 PM "Stuart LaForge" <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:

> Keith Henson (KH) and John Clark (JC) wrote:

> KH>>  The trait of having religions, like all else in living things,
> >> evolved.  It was either directly selected or it is a side effect from
> >> some other trait that was selected. *
> Religions are directly selected for or against based upon their teachings.
> Compare Catholicism to Shakers for example.

Perhaps I should have been more specific.  When I talk about "traits"
and "evolved" the context is evolutionary psychology.

"In this view, the mind is a set of information-processing machines
that were designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems
faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors."

There are more recent selection events (see Gregory Clark), but for
wide spread traits like capture-bonding, mechanisms for religions and
those for war (if separate), you need to think about selection before
agriculture.  I.e., historical Catholics and Shakers are not
"hunter-gatherer ancestors," and should not be used as examples.

It seems really unlikely in a hunter-gatherer world long before birth
control that religion or anything related to it made any difference in
the number of children a woman had.  The proximate limit to human
populations in those days was war with other humans (top predator
argument).  The ultimate cause of the limit was the (fluxuating)
capacity of the environment to feed them.

But, as I have pointed out in other postings, the model shows that
human genes do not profit from war unless the alternative (such as
starving) is worse.

So you would expect genes to get this judgment for "a time for war"
correct, and genes that get the tribe into "attack mode" when needed
would be positively selected.

The major religions where we know something of their historical
origins seem to have started as a set of xenophobic memes.

I have been thinking about ways to locate the genes and brain
structures behind these traits.


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