Register | Sign In


Understanding through Discussion


EvC Forum active members: 50 (9179 total)
5 online now:
Newest Member: Jorge Parker
Post Volume: Total: 918,207 Year: 5,464/9,624 Month: 489/323 Week: 129/204 Day: 3/26 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Born believers: How your brain creates God
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 9007
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 1 of 74 (497537)
02-04-2009 3:09 PM


Born believers: How your brain creates God | New Scientist
quote:
The origin of religious belief is something of a mystery, but in recent years scientists have started to make suggestions. One leading idea is that religion is an evolutionary adaptation that makes people more likely to survive and pass their genes onto the next generation.
quote:
An alternative being put forward by Atran and others is that religion emerges as a natural by-product of the way the human mind works.
That's not to say that the human brain has a "god module" in the same way that it has a language module that evolved specifically for acquiring language. Rather, some of the unique cognitive capacities that have made us so successful as a species also work together to create a tendency for supernatural thinking. "There's now a lot of evidence that some of the foundations for our religious beliefs are hard-wired," says Bloom.
quote:
So how does the brain conjure up gods? One of the key factors, says Bloom, is the fact that our brains have separate cognitive systems for dealing with living things - things with minds, or at least volition - and inanimate objects.
quote:
These findings also challenge the idea that religion is an adaptation. "Yes, religion helps create large societies - and once you have large societies you can outcompete groups that don't," Atran says. "But it arises as an artefact of the ability to build fictive worlds. I don't think there's an adaptation for religion any more than there's an adaptation to make airplanes."
quote:
Ultimately, discovering the true origins of something as complex as religion will be difficult. There is one experiment, however, that could go a long way to proving whether Boyer, Bloom and the rest are onto something profound. Ethical issues mean it won't be done any time soon, but that hasn't stopped people speculating about the outcome.
It goes something like this. Left to their own devices, children create their own "creole" languages using hard-wired linguistic brain circuits. A similar experiment would provide our best test of the innate religious inclinations of humans. Would a group of children raised in isolation spontaneously create their own religious beliefs? "I think the answer is yes," says Bloom.
It simply seems very creditable to me that there is something wired in since it is so pervasive and stubborn.

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by ICANT, posted 02-04-2009 11:07 PM NosyNed has not replied
 Message 6 by Larni, posted 02-05-2009 10:41 AM NosyNed has not replied
 Message 11 by uco:nin, posted 02-05-2009 10:14 PM NosyNed has not replied
 Message 18 by Phat, posted 02-06-2009 6:54 AM NosyNed has not replied
 Message 48 by MrGrim, posted 10-02-2009 11:07 AM NosyNed has not replied
 Message 49 by Phat, posted 02-28-2023 5:12 PM NosyNed has not replied

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024