God As An Evolutionary Strategy

Okay, so that’s kind of weird. I write the post below asking what the biological advantage of religion is, and completely by chance, within 48 hours, I happen to listen to an interview with Dr David Sloan Wilson, author of the book, “Evolution for Everyone” on Quirks & Quarks. He talks about that exact thing, among other things like the evolution of art and music. Basically, his theory is that religion is one of many systems to create cooperative, functional social groups, AKA communities (which as you may guess, are a good survival mechanism)

Go here to listen to it: http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/media/2006-2007/mp3/qq-2007-06-23c.mp3

It’s really worth a listen. He even talks about the “sideshows” — the “sterile, Machiavellian intelligent design” sideshow and the Dawkinsesque “strident, angry attacks on religion” sideshow that throws the baby (such as it is) of religion out with the bathwater. These sideshows both draw attention away from what he calls the “main event” – serious study of religion from an evolutionary perspective.

Although the interview doesn’t really address the question as to why SOOOOOO MANY humans lean towards forming groups believing in superstition/God, rather than groups coming together in the Cult of Measuring Things Empirically (haha).

3 Replies to “God As An Evolutionary Strategy”

  1. Humans must be pretty messed up to need religious reasons to help each other out. Dogs, lions, wildebeasts all live in cooperative groups and they don’t need a god to tell them to play nice or sacrifice their kind in elaborate ritualistic ways…

    Although, I’m not a zoologist or a religiologist, so I could be wrong.

  2. the answer in this case is probably pretty simple. religion came before science. i suspect if science came first, people would have grouped up based on scientific beliefs and used science as a tool to manipulate the masses to forward their own agendas. as it is, religion was branded with that dubious honour. since people don’t like change…

    oh, and this one goes out to Dark Canary. apparently people without religion are just as likely to help out as people with religion, so there is some hope. at least in the case of this study…


  3. Dawkins admits that ‘Root of all Evil’ was unfairly named by the BBC. I do have a copy of ‘The God Delusion’ I can lend you which might answer some of your questions.

    I know ‘reading’ isn’t really your thing though…

    Here’s a ball… maybe you’d like to bounce it!

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