Re: Origin of Religion

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Thu 26 Dec 2002 - 18:26:11 GMT

  • Next message: "Virulent Offshoots and Others"

    At 10:00 PM 25/12/02 -0600, wrote:


    > > I have been thinking about this a *long* time. While I think
    > > "religions" are helpful symbiotes, they evolved from dangerous,
    > > sometimes fatal cults which *are* memetic parasites. (Typically takes
    > > about 300 years.)
    > >
    > > The evolution of parasites into symbiotes is a common story in
    > > evolution so this is not a surprise.
    > >
    >And sometimes it happens in reverse (Wahhabism).

    You could look at it that way, or (as I prefer) you can look at these as new and virulent shoots off the stem of some belief pattern that has become relatively mellow. The new split off meme in turn requires ten generations or so to mellow out. And while the Mormons look to be about half way (at 150 years) to respectability, not every cult meme follows the same evolutionary path. Christian Science more or less attained respectability in about 100 years but it is dying out now.

    There is also a bit of a problem with this group in dating its origin, but even at the oldest it is only 200 years old. It has only been a significant force since about 1930, and it if were not for Saudi oil money it would never have come to so much influence.

    The same point could be made about the communist meme. To get Russia out of WW I, Germany funded Lenin with (for that time) an enormous amount of money.

    Neither communism or Wahhabism memes are long term compatible with modern technology. They still can cause massive disruptions to the rest of the world.

    Keith Henson

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