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Evolutionary psychology

Guest Kevin B

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Guest Kevin B

Some of you here might be better able to talk about this than I.


I believe that most current human behavior is the result of psychological mechanisms that were shaped by natural selection. Some good books are Evolution, Attachment theory, and the psychology of religion by Kirkpatrick. The First Chimpanzee by Gribbin and Cherfas is also excellent.


Any thoughts on how humanity might have developed an inclination toward religion?

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A guy named Jaynes has something interesting to say about that very topic, along with the development of human consciousness. I plan to read his book over the summer.

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Any thoughts on how humanity might have developed an inclination toward religion?



Okay, I'm no expert but here's my impression. Humans are social animals. Their evolutionary success has been entirely dependant on the same social structure that makes wolves successful.

Except even wolves have speed, claws, and rending teeth.

Humans are pale, slow, and really weak compared to the development of other predators. At least in the physical sense.

As everyone here (well...almost) would agree, our chief success is our cerebral cortex (big brain).

Our minds developed enough for us to hunt and scavenge more successfully. With such success comes moments of time where one does NOT need to be scurrying about meeting the basic needs.

Moments of contemplation.

Moments where humanity had the leisure to look up at the sky and wonder.

Wonder brings questions.

Scary questions for a social being.

What's up there?

Why do things happen the way they do?

Those bright points (stars) look like they are moving....are they watching?

The bright spot of daytime (sun) moves....is it watching too?

The thought of being alone is too much for a young sentient species like early man.

For early man to feel like he's got a grip on things, he's got to bring these things of wonderment into the social group somehow. By making them "part" of the understood group makes them less mysterious and scary (even if the beliefs themselve wind up scary).

This gives social "structure" about things no one can knowledgeably explain at that point in time.


That's what I think anyway.

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