Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

How humans have evolved to utilize Religion

In response to recent topics on Christianity & such:

Quote
Brain scans showed that participants fell back on higher thought patterns when reacting to religious statements, whether trying to figure out God's thoughts and emotions or thinking about metaphorical meaning behind religious teachings.

"That suggests that religion is not a special case of a belief system, but evolved along with other belief and social cognitive abilities," said Jordan Grafman, a cognitive neuroscientist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland.

[...]

Unsurprisingly, statements of religious doctrine activated parts of the brain that help decode metaphor and abstractness. That contrasted with statements reflecting religious experience, which prodded the brain to retrieve memories and imagery of self in action.

[...]

One question that remains unanswered is whether religion evolved as a central functional preoccupation for human brains in early societies, or whether it simply relied on brain regions which had evolved for other types of thought-processing.
[...]
"The more interesting studies will wind up comparing different belief systems with similar dimensions to see if they also activate the same brain areas," Grafman said. "If they do, we can better define why those brain areas evolved in humans."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,507605,00.html?sPage=fnc/scitech/naturalscience

Interesting. This article seems to suggest that religion, as a natural component of human behavior, has the capacity to actually "evolve". As such, it makes a lot more sense to fight for religious reform, rather than for the destruction of religion altogether. If the article is correct about the brain's role in religious thought (and vice versa), I daresay that to destroy all forms of religion could very well be "de-evolutionary".

Quote
Even statements that believers or nonbelievers disagreed with produced intriguing results.

"Reading a statement that you have been asked to compare your own personal beliefs with certainly will activate your own belief system," Grafman pointed out. He and his colleagues observed brain regions relating to disgust or conflict lighting up in response.

Note the word "conflict". In this light, maybe blasphemous metal can play a role in helping religions to evolve into more pragmatic forms, paradoxically enough.

Re: God is in your brain
May 15, 2009, 04:33:05 PM
This article seems to suggest that religion, as a natural component of human behavior, has the capacity to actually "evolve". As such, it makes a lot more sense to fight for religious reform, rather than for the destruction of religion altogether.

The counterpart to that is that even secular ideas become religions. People treat atheism, liberalism, capitalism, etc. as religions, or as the ultimate interpretation of all truth. It makes sense instead to view religion as a philosophy, and to pick the most coherent version and fight within the system for it.

Fighting religion is becoming part of the decline on two levels: one, religion is a helpful part of social order; two, it's a surrogate activity for reforming civilization. More deconstruction, selfishness and isolation is not what we need.