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The evolutionary basis for belief

May 15, 2007

I have long felt that there is an innate need to believe—so strong that some will die for the right or possibility to do so. Steve Paulson, writing for Salon, presents an interview with Lewis Wolpert (Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast). Wolpert, a softer, gentler Richard Dawkins, proposes that the emergence of the ability to understand cause and effect resulted in (or occurred simultaneously with) the emergence of belief. The more people came to see the results of a cause (hone this stone and throw it at the beast to kill it—mmm, good), the sharper this thinking became.

Religion, then, is an offshoot or byproduct of a means of thinking. Evolution, then, actually resulted in religion.

I can relate to this notion. I choose to no longer be religious (don’t believe it), but I would in no way want to limit or deny someone else that right. Why would I. A religious mass is, on the whole, a peaceful mass (right fringe groups notwithstanding). As long as I am not tag-teamed on my doorstep by happy-smilies, then I am good to live and let live.

I mean, after all, it is only natural.

In slightly related news, Jerry Falwell is dead.

  1. Natalia permalink
    May 15, 2007 8:00 pm

    I really don’t feel sorry for him or his family. That man caused so much pain and was so very ignorant.

    Good riddance is what came to mind, even if I will be accused by some of lack of tolerance.


  2. Coffee-Drinking Woman permalink
    May 17, 2007 2:04 am

    Evolution resulted in religion? What a fascinating theory. And how beautifully ironic!

  3. Piss Poor Prof permalink
    May 17, 2007 1:40 pm

    Religion as a by product has the feel of being right.

    This is not to say that religion is unnecessary for the collective (a flaw most atheists fall into). There is a function (the God function; if there were no god it would be necessary to invent one; that sort of thing).

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