19 January 2009

Oh, Gawd!

That was precisely my reaction as I read this Scientific American article about a group of "scholars" who met to discuss "the natural (that is, Darwinian) foundations of religious belief and behavior."

My reaction was prompted by the first item in the writer's summary of the weekend's topics:

As the resident psychologist, I reiterated my empirically based argument that belief in the afterlife is more or less an inevitable byproduct of human consciousness. Since we cannot conceptualize the absence of consciousness, even non-believers are susceptible to visions of the hereafter.

So if I CAN conceptualize nothingness and DO NOT believe in an afterlife, then I'm a Darwinian anomaly? Cuz, believe you me, I am human and I am conscious.

Haven't read the rest of the article yet. Can't wait to learn more about the "natural" foundations of religious belief.

...OK. This bit is interesting:

What if, as I suggested in my answer to this year’s “Annual Question” [regarding the existence of a supreme being], the data suggest that God is actually just a psychological blemish etched onto the core cognitive substrate of your brain? Would you still believe if you knew God were a byproduct of your evolved mental architecture?

No, cuz I don't believe in the first place. Ergo, might one argue that people who don't have that blemish etched onto their brains are further up the evolutionary chain?

I rather like that interpretation.

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