History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Why are the ‘brights’ so stupid?

June 16th, 2006 · 1 Comment

Dennett at STN

According to Dennett, religion is a meme that benefits humanity through the process of natural selection.

Dennett’s idea of memes is completely off. Applied to religion the results are silly. Religion has nothing to do with natural selection. Religions ‘evolve’ in their own fashion, as a look at the Axial Age makes clear.

Of course, the Axial Age, and the attempts to grapple with its significance, is off limits to Darwinian consciousness, which has been put to sleep, witness the unending and repetitious stupidy of these ‘brights’.

The main importance of the concept of memes is precisely to get away from the otherwise extremely attractive position McGrath mentioned — that if religions have survived and are so dominant in human life, it must be because they aid our survival. Maybe, maybe not. They may aid our survival, or they may survive as unshakable habits. If you resist that hypothesis at the outset, you’re not doing objective science. The way to find an objective standpoint from which to investigate the hypotheses is to acknowledge that cultural items can spread whether or not they’re good for us — graffiti, pornography, all sorts of dubious fashions. You don’t have to suppose that they’re good for us to look at them with an evolutionist’s eye. Maybe some of the memes of religion are really good for us. That is an open question we can explore scientifically.

Tags: Evolution

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Stephen // Jun 17, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Self exaltation, even in the name of reason and science, brings out an odd stupidness. And the prideful stupidness is easy to spot from the view of the non-exalted – vis a vis, with help from the very critical Ann Culter.

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