Re: Origin of Religion
From: Ray Recchia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Re: Origin of Religion"
Date: Wed 25 Dec 2002 - 03:37:50 GMT
At 11:51 AM 12/24/2002 -0800, you wrote:
"effective form of camouflage
— Dr. Wilson sees religion as the product of group selection at
Group selection has got some
heavy evidence against it... interesting that a 'highly regarded'
evolutionist should consider it helpful to his argument.
You might have a point there. I was agreeing more generally with
the idea that regardless of its truth, religion creates social
cohesiveness in societies. Going back to the sociobiology angle, we
have a certain level of altruism built into us that evolved when we
operated in small tribes. Larger social groups may require larger
levels of altruism than we are predisposed to, and religion, with
its reward of an afterlife, might provide that.
David Wilson does seem to be using religion as tool to push a group
selection theory, but I'd have to understand more to get a better feel
for what he is saying before offering an opinion.
"A. Religious believers often
compare their groups to an organism, or a beehive. One of the keys to the
success of religion is its emphasis on the moral equality of those in the
community. You might be rich, and I might be poor, but in some sense
you're no better than me. This guarded egalitarianism may be fundamental
to the willingness of people to cooperate with others, including those
who are unrelated to them, and to become the primate equivalent of a
eusocial species like bees or ants."
In a beehive and ant colony,
all of the members are related and thus have a genetic advantage to being
kind to the others. It's not about group selection, it's individual
There is remarkably little genetic diversity among humans. There is
only small fraction of one percentage point of difference between all of
us. This article:
says that a tribe of 55 chimpanzees has more genetic diversity than our
entire species. I don't know how we compare to an insect nest with
its haploid males and diploid females, but I've always wondered why the
kin selection folk don't discuss actual genetic diversity in their
people have a tendency to immediately disbelieve anyone using group
selection as evidence in their theories... I am happily one of them.
Wilson seems to touch on memetics but doesn't really use it.
Wilson is definitely not a fan of the memetics movement.
===============================This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5
: Wed 25 Dec 2002 - 03:40:14 GMT