RE: HEA report on religion and mental health

Richard Brodie (
Tue, 12 Oct 1999 09:55:00 -0700

From: "Richard Brodie" <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: HEA report on religion and mental health
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1999 09:55:00 -0700
In-Reply-To: <>

Derek wrote:

<<A few weeks ago I was talking to somebody on the list about whether
is selected at the level of the individual (ie. is it physically good for
you?) or at the level of the meme (ie. is it bad for you but propagates fast
enough to overcome this?).
So it
seems that religion not only keeps you healthy but also makes you rich.

All in all, this is, I think, clear selection at the level of the
individual, ie. not a 'mind virus'. If religion were a mind virus,
religious people would be poor and mentally distressed (whereas that
description only seems to refer to atheist academics like me.....) >>

1. Academia is also a mind virus.
2. Feeling good about adopting a meme (because it resolves confusion about
the puzzling nature of the universe, for example) is one way that memes are
selected for. So no one should be surprised when people infected with common
memes feel good.
3. Despite the shock value of the term "mind virus," there's no reason to
think that having one is really bad for you. I've been criticized in my book
for not being hard enough on religion, but I think religion has great value
if consciously followed, especially as regards consciously choosing my
mental programming to be in alignment with my purpose.
4. The distinction you are drawing between "the level of the individual" and
"the level of the meme" is confusing to me. Individual minds are the
selective environment for memes. Are you implying that religions are
phenotypic expressions of genetic evolution? If so, how do you account for
the success of televangelism?

Richard Brodie

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