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Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?


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  #1  
August 30th, 2010, 02:23 PM
tiredmom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I thought this was interesting on NPR today about how believing in God (or invisible princesses) is in our DNA.

Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?
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  #2  
August 30th, 2010, 04:47 PM
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Overall, for society, it is. Most humans are not... for lack of a better way to put it "intelligent" enough to "Get" that NOT raping, murdering, stealing, being nasty etc... is GOOD for society as a whole. Or even if they do get it, they don't care. Instead they require a giant invisible nanny in the sky to threaten them with a spanking if they step out of line.
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  #3  
August 30th, 2010, 04:54 PM
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It is an interesting read, but I am more inclined to think society as a whole has and will continue to cooperate with each other because we feel the need to take care of each other. I think religion makes us feel better about our everyday life- not so much in the sense that we watch what we do so we don't get punished, but because it's comforting to think someone is there looking out for our well being. It's comforting to think we don't just die and cease to exist, but we go to some great magical place to continue living with our loved ones. KWIM? I don't know, it's all really interesting though.
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  #4  
August 30th, 2010, 07:37 PM
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i have to agree with melissa...and i believe there is a bit of fear in it as well....
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  #5  
August 30th, 2010, 09:25 PM
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I read this article today and was going to post it as well, lol. I thought it was interesting, and the very topic of religion as an evolutionary trait came up during my atheist meet last week. When the article mentioned that even atheists have moments where they feel a spiritual presence, I will admit that I nodded my head in agreement. I think we ALL have moments where we close our eyes and wish for something, even if we immediately stop and go "who the heck am I talking to?" (I know I do). I don't think it's that there actually IS any presence, I think it's a quirk of how our brains work, just like deja vu.

The way that it was explained at the meet up last week was in terms of prehistoric man... When walking past a bush that rustles, one must think that it could be one of two things: The wind, or a predator. Perhaps 99 out of 100 times it IS the wind, but if the skeptic refuses to run based on this assumption, he will be eaten by the predator 1 out of 100 times. The paranoid, or believer that it is always a predator, will run from the wind 99 out of 100 times, but he will also remain alive 100% of the time. It's "safer" to be paranoid and therefore believe, a trait that has been hard-wired into us through evolution. Not quite what the article was saying, but it's another take on how humankind has evolved to believe in the unknown "just in case."
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  #6  
August 30th, 2010, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melkissa2004 View Post
It is an interesting read, but I am more inclined to think society as a whole has and will continue to cooperate with each other because we feel the need to take care of each other. I think religion makes us feel better about our everyday life- not so much in the sense that we watch what we do so we don't get punished, but because it's comforting to think someone is there looking out for our well being. It's comforting to think we don't just die and cease to exist, but we go to some great magical place to continue living with our loved ones. KWIM? I don't know, it's all really interesting though.
Yeah, good point. I think that may be why so many religions are very dichotomous. Like with the loving, nurturing god that provides an after life full of heavenly goods that fulfills the need for people to make sense of life and death and the tragedies that happen and no one wants to believe are accidents.
Then there is the fire and brimstone side of God who punishes evildoers, or those that are good but stray from the path of righteousness. This fulfills societies need to have cooperation etc.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanahoria View Post
When walking past a bush that rustles, one must think that it could be one of two things: The wind, or a predator. Perhaps 99 out of 100 times it IS the wind, but if the skeptic refuses to run based on this assumption, he will be eaten by the predator 1 out of 100 times. The paranoid, or believer that it is always a predator, will run from the wind 99 out of 100 times, but he will also remain alive 100% of the time. It's "safer" to be paranoid and therefore believe, a trait that has been hard-wired into us through evolution. Not quite what the article was saying, but it's another take on how humankind has evolved to believe in the unknown "just in case."

Very interesting! I guess I donít see entirely why being paranoid equates to being a believer. Why couldnít it just mean somebody rational who knows both are a possibility? It seems like there are plenty of instances of both paranoid religious and non-religious people (ie. Nixon and Stalin). But I like that theory. I have to wrap my head around it some more!
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  #7  
August 30th, 2010, 10:25 PM
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Thats a good article, makes a lot of sense.
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  #8  
August 31st, 2010, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiredmom View Post
Very interesting! I guess I donít see entirely why being paranoid equates to being a believer. Why couldnít it just mean somebody rational who knows both are a possibility? It seems like there are plenty of instances of both paranoid religious and non-religious people (ie. Nixon and Stalin). But I like that theory. I have to wrap my head around it some more!
Sorry, I should have been more clear. We were talking specifically about the people who believe in god because it's "safer" to believe and keep yourself out of hell and if there is no god after all you really didn't lose anything by believing (which is debatable), as opposed to not believing and have that miniscule chance that you're wrong about god's existence. I have actually encountered people who argue that they would rather believe in god and risk being wrong than not believe in god and be wrong because the latter would send you to an eternity of suffering. It's a form of paranoia similar to the scenario laid out with the prehistoric men and the bush.
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  #9  
August 31st, 2010, 08:46 AM
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i dont think its a quirk in how our brains work....its what has been hammered into our brains since the dawn of religioin...in all essence we have been bred so to speak to know of a god...or gods...or what have you....now if there never was that someone who felt the need to create a magical god/gods to answer all the unknowns then we would never have those "spiritual moments"
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