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At 01:30 AM 16/01/02 -0500, "Francesca S. Alcorn" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>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.
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Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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