Re: The Origin of Religions, From a Distinctly Darwinian View

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Thu 26 Dec 2002 - 13:53:03 GMT

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    > If it's not an adaptation, maybe it's a spandrel a byproduct of some
    > other evolutionary process rather than an adaptation.

    This, while decently Gouldian, is the single most damning statement in an otherwise nice little piece. The whole idea that there is something operating outside of evolutionary processes, or that a host of processes, somehow 'not quite' evolutionary, may be present, is a real problem in Gould, and it remains a real problem. Gould never explains
    'spandrels' sufficiently to me, but, I have not read his magnum opus yet, where there might well be a very complete treatise. I have read Dennett's condemnation of it, and I mainly agree with that.

    The other problem I have with the 'Origins' piece, as I've said, is the placing of religion on some separate pedestal from other conventions and rituals.

    I don't think it's unique to this degree, or special, or a 'spandrel'.

    - Wade

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