What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
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24-10-2012, 06:00 PM
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
(01-10-2012 12:28 PM)robotworld Wrote:  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.

Well said.

That, and in the times when religions were invented/adopted, life was dangerous and insecure. People were killing each other left and right and making off with the riches and wives etc of their victims. Religion was a primitive form of law, reinforced by fear of god.

That factor is outdated now in many parts of the world (not all) and religion is slowly on it's way out in those parts.

There will, however, always be religion, because of what robotworld said.

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24-10-2012, 06:26 PM
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
Hypothesis 1: Religion gave some marginal increase in survivability to early humans, through better social cohesion or some such

Hypothesis 2: Religion has nothing to do with biological evolution, but is a successful meme that undergoes memetic evolution and selection, which allows it to stay successful even if biologically detrimental

Possibly both.

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25-10-2012, 08:27 AM
RE: What is the evolutionary purpose of religion?
I realize others here have explained this further, but I'd like to give my two cents.

Religion itself isn't what serves the purpose. Rather, it is simply the result of *other* evolutionary developments, which most certainly serve(d) a purpose. It is the result of an inherent agenticity, which is useful for assuming and, as a result, escaping a potential predator. The ape who assumed the rustle in the grass to be a lion - rather than just the wind - was more likely to run away, thus preserving his genes. Over time, this agenticity gave rise to the assumption that there is an intentional agent at work behind everything in our environment; up to and including the origin of the environment itself. This directly predisposed us to having so-called "religious" beliefs.

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