Re: Has anybody read this book?

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 14:48:39 GMT

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    At 01:30 AM 16/01/02 -0500, "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>

    >I just came across this title: Why God Won't Go Away by Andrew Neuberg,
    >Eugene D'Aquili and Vince Rause. The blurb says that they say the
    >religious impulse is rooted in the biology of the brain. Has anyone read
    >this? Is it any good?

    I have not read it, but I have argued this point for at least ten years.

    Memes and genes have been co-evolving for long enough for our genes to
    become fully dependant on the meme class that helps stabilize our mental
    systems against the negative effect of being able to anticipate the future
    and worry about it. The ability to anticipate has high survival value, of
    being able to plant in anticipation of a harvest, to store up firewood for
    winter, and to move with the seasons to take advantage of seasonal resources.

    But this ability comes with problems. Once you have it, it is nearly
    impossible to avoid applying it to your own future--leading to time and
    energy wasting worry about a problem (death) our ancestors could do nothing
    about. Enter the religious memes which provide "answers" to the
    unanswerable, comfort to the grief stricken, and let the genes get on with
    replicating (I.e., taking care of the kids).

    Do this long enough, give it enough of an advantage, and you get genes
    building a place in the brain to accept religious class memes. If you dig
    about in the literature the location (temporal lobe) is known. Seizures in
    this area are connected to extreme religious feelings and (for unknown
    reasons) to "hypergraphia," writing incessantly.

    It's a patch, but evolution is like that, patch upon patch.

    Keith Henson

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