RE: HEA report on religion and mental health

Gatherer, D. (
Fri, 29 Oct 1999 10:06:53 +0200

From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <>
To: "''" <>
Subject: RE: HEA report on religion and mental health
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 10:06:53 +0200


d'Aquili EG & Newberg AB (1998) The neuropsychological basis of religions,
or why God won't go away. Zygon 33, 187-201.

This discusses some aspects of the 'hard-wiring' of religiosity. If
religion is selectively advantageous to the individual (either per se or, as
Nick proposes, via a social support mechanism) then that neuropsychological
underpinning would have been genetically selected. This implies a Wilsonian
leash effect - individual religions are purely cultural, but those memes
have to press the (Brodian) button of genetically selected religious
experience in order to become advantageous to individuals.

So maybe this partly answers Nick's question about scientology? If
scientology is going to become a successful religion, it will have to engage
the kind of circuits d'Aquili and Newberg talk about.

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