Re: memetics-digest V1 #1302

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Wed 05 Mar 2003 - 19:39:39 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: memetics-digest V1 #1302"

    On Wednesday, March 5, 2003, at 01:18 PM, William Benzon wrote:

    > This whole story, La Barrešs and Pearsonšs, is conjectural, but the
    > conjectures are about important matters that have yet to attract
    > consensus
    > explanations that are well-argued and documented by appropriate
    > intellectual
    > specialists. For that I reason I think they merit our further
    > attention.
    > By contrast, this story is quite different from the one David Sloan
    > Wilson
    > tells about religion. He isnšt interested in symbolism or ritual. Hešs
    > interested in moral behavior and group formation. From his point of
    > view
    > ŗreligious belief gives an authority to the system that it would not
    > have as
    > a purely secular institution˛ (p. 130). While he recognizes that all
    > religious system are replete with symbolism, he sees it as a component
    > of
    > the psychological mechanisms through which moral behavior in
    > inculcated in
    > group members. Symbolism is merely instrumental. I do not, however,
    > see that
    > there is any deep conflict between the position that the human brain
    > has a
    > need for order that can be satisfied by religious symbolism and
    > Wilsonšs
    > argument about group behavior. On the contrary, my view might provide
    > a way
    > of explicitly accounting for the authority symbolism affords the moral
    > order.

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks, William.

    - Wade

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