What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
01-10-2012, 11:49 AM
What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
I mean, there has to be one, otherwise it wouldn't be so widespread.

To borrow a term from Object Oriented Programming, is it our brain's way of granting a kind of inheritance to a stranger who isn't in our monkey sphere?

I think if we could understand the purpose for such a mass delusion we could better understand how we work as sentient creatures.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes GabrielSun's post
01-10-2012, 11:57 AM (This post was last modified: 01-10-2012 12:29 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
See Dr. Andy Thompson's stuff on Youtube, Dr. Steven Pinker, also. A great book out this year, "Religion in Human Evolution", Robert Bellah, (Sociologist). He has this theory it's related to "play" !

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist
The noblest of the dogs is the hot dog. It feeds the hand that bites it.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-10-2012, 12:28 PM
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
Religion is a multifactorial product of various human instincts. A mix of Apophenia (Seeing patterns in random things), Pareidolia (Seeing something out of a vague representation), and factoring in obedience (probably evolved when more obedient children are less likely to die from hazards), you get religion. One might say religion is humanity's first attempt in explaining the natural world... but hey, there's a reason why alchemy is not thought in schools anymore.

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like robotworld's post
01-10-2012, 02:36 PM (This post was last modified: 02-10-2012 03:18 AM by depat.)
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
To rationalize fear. I believe that in our early evolutionary process, religion emerged as magic to protect our early ancesters from fear of darkness, and then to explain the mysteries of the heavens. We must still be growing up. Yeah, yeah, yada, yada, lets throw away the pacifier now; it's holding us back.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-10-2012, 02:38 PM
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
Mental masturbation. I also here some old cat ladies like to shove it up their ass. Consider

[Image: 4833fa13.jpg]
Poonjab
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-10-2012, 03:57 PM
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
(01-10-2012 11:49 AM)GabrielSun Wrote:  I mean, there has to be one, otherwise it wouldn't be so widespread.

To borrow a term from Object Oriented Programming, is it our brain's way of granting a kind of inheritance to a stranger who isn't in our monkey sphere?

I think if we could understand the purpose for such a mass delusion we could better understand how we work as sentient creatures.

One of my favourite to read all about!

Drooling greek gods/goddesses! Drooling
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
01-10-2012, 04:27 PM
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
(01-10-2012 11:49 AM)GabrielSun Wrote:  I mean, there has to be one, otherwise it wouldn't be so widespread.

To borrow a term from Object Oriented Programming, is it our brain's way of granting a kind of inheritance to a stranger who isn't in our monkey sphere?

I think if we could understand the purpose for such a mass delusion we could better understand how we work as sentient creatures.

No, it does not require an evolutionary purpose. It is far too recent to have an evolutionary effect.

It begs to be explained as the exaption or mis-firing of evolved aspects of the human mind, but so is science. That our brains are capable of creating models of the universe and of our origins and existence is the larger and more interesting question.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Chas's post
01-10-2012, 06:27 PM (This post was last modified: 01-10-2012 06:33 PM by PoolBoyG.)
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
Let me explain it this way...

What is the evolutionary purpose of Moths flying into fire?

There is no purpose. This is evolutionary misfiring. A moth evolved to navigate with the aid of the moon (the only bright light source). Only relatively recently with the advent of fire has this caused the evolutionary ability to be a suicidal one. But you know what? This ability is still advantageous to most moths, even if it's suicidal for some moths.

Same with religion. The evolutionary advantage to appeal to higher authorities, and giving ones self to a social group will always be advantageous on the whole. Even if it's "suicidal" for some of them (the ones that fly towards religion).
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
02-10-2012, 01:21 AM
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
There does't necessarily have to be an evolutionary benefit, though there may be an evolutionary explanation. One such explanation I've heard is that the roots of faith come from our childhood where blind faith and trust in our parents is a useful survival trait. So if we're told not to touch fire, not to stick that fork into the electrical outlet, or that god will save us from death, they are all equally adopted by the child.

Much of what we believe as adults was due to influences in our childhood, so the seed successfully planted perpetuates then when the child becomes an adult, has children, and tells the next generation the same fantasy. What explains the 'lie' in the first place? We don't like to contemplate our own demise--it isn't very pleasant. It is much more pleasant to tell your young child that they will see their dead grandparents in heaven one day.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like BryanS's post
24-10-2012, 05:36 PM
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
Although I am neither an expert on religion nor on evolutionary theory, my guess is that religion isn't as much a "beneficial factor" for evolution as it is a result of this process. On the one hand the human brain has evolved as a tool that ensures the survival of our species by developing things like complex social behaviour, logic and even what we call consciousness (even though the latter is a bit of a double edged sword). My guess is - and as I said I'm a layman - that the human brain is not content with just processing data. It likes to make sense of things and put these things into categories (like good and evil, right and wrong, living things and non living things etc. etc.) in order to create a framework in which it can work.
For someone who lived 150.000 years ago natural phenomena like lightning or earthquakes were completely beyond understanding. What are the stars? What is the sun? What happens to people when they die? Given so many frustrating variables and things that could not be categorized what does this bio-computer do? If it keeps revolving around data it cannot process it is hindered from carrying out other more essential functions. So it comes up with a "patch" to fix the problem... and starts making sh*t up.
Now all the data is wonderfully categorized and processed and can be left alone. What a satisfying feeling to know that lightning comes from an invisible spirit and that people do not really die but just "go to heaven". Enter religion.Bowing
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes WeAreOne's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: