Monday, March 12, 2007

Are we biologically inclined to believe in God?

There's a great piece in last Sunday's times mag that discusses research that tries to identify if humans are hardwired to believe in the supernatural, ethereal and ultimately, God. It looks at it through the lens of evolution and science and is sure to stir up some debate.

Some excerpts

"Hardships of early human life favored the evolution of certain cognitive tools, among them the ability to infer the presence of organisms that might do harm, to come up with causal narratives for natural events and to recognize that other people have minds of their own with their own beliefs, desires and intentions. Psychologists call these tools, respectively, agent detection, causal reasoning and theory of mind."

"What can be made of atheists, then? If the evolutionary view of religion is true, they have to work hard at being atheists, to resist slipping into intrinsic habits of mind that make it easier to believe than not to believe. Atran says he faces an emotional and intellectual struggle to live without God in a nonatheist world, and he suspects that is where his little superstitions come from, his passing thought about crossing his fingers during turbulence or knocking on wood just in case. It is like an atavistic theism erupting when his guard is down. The comforts and consolations of belief are alluring even to him, he says, and probably will become more so as he gets closer to the end of his life. He fights it because he is a scientist and holds the values of rationalism higher than the values of spiritualism."

Darwin's God

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I happened accidentally upon your blog. Pretty interesting, but I have to say I was troubled at one thing. The fact that you don't believe in God (based on your posts). I personally don't want to live my life without believing. If for nothing more than dieing to find out that He is real. If not, then it was a noble cause. That's not why I believe.

The reason I believe is this...I have studied the bible and Jesus a good bit. I believe it to be true due to if you compare the statistics to the bible prophecies that were fulfilled (approx 2000 of the 2500), the locating of the Dead Sea Scrolls (which translate the same from well over 1000 years ago), and the fact that 11 of the 12 disciples died horrible deaths for believing/preaching Jesus' teachings after being with Christ in ministry (among many other items I find that prove God as real), they all point to proof in my mind that God is real. Then I'd say I wish you would reconsider. People matter to God. You matter to God.