History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Religion not the result of natural selection

November 15th, 2009 · No Comments

The Evolution of the God Gene

Wade continues with a vein of Darwinian fundamentalism on the subject of religion. And it simply doesn’t wash. In fact, the example he gives is well within the range of world history where we can begin to see a completely different dynamic at work than natural selection. And the example he gives is still too poorly documented to really show anything, least of all natural selection.
From where does Wade get the idea that religions evolve because they are favored by natural selection.
If we examine religion in action we see that they are favored because they answer to needs about how to understand reality, especially metaphysical reality. Here science as current is almost more primitive than the belief systems of primitive men.

The idea that ‘god gene’ is hard-wired is a misstatement of real complexity: which is that man is partially tuned to a greater reality beyond his senses, one that for good Kantian reasons he can’t make full sense of, hence the outlandish nature of many of man’s beliefs in the religious zone. But the reductionist belief that religion is total illusion but one one favored by natural selection is far more ‘weird’ than anything in earlier men.

Meanwhile a brief look at the Axial Age will show that the ‘evolution of religion’ is something scientists haven’t grasped at all.

This and other research is pointing to a new perspective on religion, one that seeks to explain why religious behavior has occurred in societies at every stage of development and in every region of the world. Religion has the hallmarks of an evolved behavior, meaning that it exists because it was favored by natural selection. It is universal because it was wired into our neural circuitry before the ancestral human population dispersed from its African homeland.

Tags: Evolution · religion

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