RE: HEA report on religion and mental health

Gatherer, D. (
Tue, 19 Oct 1999 09:12:09 +0200

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 09:12:09 +0200
From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <>
Subject: RE: HEA report on religion and mental health
To: "''" <>


Religion is a phenotype. Your [Derek's] comments read as if you think it is
a genotype.


What I meant to say was that there is some evidence that religiosity, ie.
the tendency to be religious and to adopt religious behaviour, is a
deep-seated personality trait, with a hard-wired neurological underpinning
(ie. you need some stiff drugs or epilepsy to modify it) and a strong
genetic basis. That doesn't mean "it is a genotype".


1) Is religion a memetic phenotype?


Individual religions are memes, competing with other religions for cultural
territory. But religiosity per se is not a meme, but a more fundamental
personality trait (probably).

2) If so, what make it so?


I don't recognise the 'meme genotype'/'meme phenotype' distinction, or
memotype/phemotype distinction as it is usually called in JoMland. I think
that it takes the genetics/memetics analogy too far.

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