[ExI] (no subject)

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Mon Aug 3 18:42:34 UTC 2020

John Clark via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Sun, Aug 2, 2020 at 6:11 PM Keith Henson via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> *> Being religious is such a  widespread psychological trait that (in
>> terms of evolution) it must have been selected at sometime in our past.*
> Not necessarily. I've heard various arguments that suggest religion
> confers some sort of evolutionary advantage

I know of no other way for the trait of being susceptible to religion
to come about except evolutionary selection.  If you can think of any
other way we got this trait, I would be very interested.

> but I've never found them to be very convincing;

I agree.  But don't forget the trait may be a side effect of something
that was under selection.  The example I often use is the trait(s)
that lead to drug addiction.  I don't think anyone can make a cast for
that trait to have been selected.  The reward pathways that opiates
activate are part of the human motivation system which was/is under

< the same thing could be said for arguments to explain the
> near universal appeal of music,

Music is not hard to explain.  It seems to be a side effect of
speaking and bilateral symmetry of the brain.

> the most abstract of all the arts. It could
> be that neither confers an advantage to individuals or to groups of any
> sort, they could be evolutionary spandrels, byproducts of other traits that
> do confirm an advantage.

That's what I think, and I strongly suspect that the trait comes from
the same selection that gave us the psychological mechanism for wars.


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