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Religious belief may not necessarily be innate

According to a new paper in Trends in Cognitive Science from Yale University:

The many theories for the origin and persistence of religion divide into two classes, those that think that religion piggybacks on some aspect of human nature, usually evolved (credulity, need to attribute agency to natural phenomena, tendency to accept what parents or elders tell you, and so on), and those that claim religion is “hardwired,” that is, we have genes that directly produce in us a propensity to apprehend and/or worship God ... secular studies of religious belief have been mired down by the fact that none of these theories are obviously testable by science.  I have suggested several times on this site, though, that the “hardwired” theory is in principle testable: all you have to do is bring up children in an environment where they’re completely free of religious knowledge or influence, and see if they spontaneously come to conceive of (and maybe worship) a God. Unfortunately, that’s impossible, because we can’t do experiments with humans.

The paper takes issue with the second group of claims, namely the very popular, often-heard but scantily-evidenced thesis that religious belief is in some way hardwired, innate in the human species. As Coyne points out, this is in principle testable but not in practice, since the only method known which could test it would involve raising a child in some degree of isolation, completely cut off from any kind of religious notion at all.

Isolation, emm, then it would follow surely that developement from ape or suchlike lends itself to the isolation theory leading to a point when it became a tool of control to introduce a fear of the unknown and an affinity with the unknown?

bernard (hug) Forum Index -> All faiths and none
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