Friday, February 6, 2015

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 39

Hey, it's Friday, so let's get into some science.

What is the scientific explanation for religion?

There may be several, but today I want to talk about the theory of "natural selection" as it applies to religion.

I intend to criticize the theory as not standing up to what my eyes and ears are telling me, compared to what the theory urges, and compared to what 87-97 percent of climate scientists tell us.

Let's cut to the chase and look at the theory first:
The near universal appeal of religious belief suggests a biological component to religious beliefs and practices, and science increasingly confirms this view. There is a scientific consensus that our brains have been subject to natural selection. So what survival and reproductive roles might religious beliefs and
Religious Intelligence
practices have played in our evolutionary history? What mechanisms caused the mind to evolve toward religious beliefs and practices?

Today there are two basic explanations offered. One says that religion evolved by natural selection—religion is an adaptation that provides an evolutionary advantage. For example religion may have evolved to enhance social cohesion and cooperation—it may have helped groups survive. The other explanation claims that religious beliefs and practices arose as byproducts of other adaptive traits. For example, intelligence is an adaptation that aids survival. Yet it also forms causal narratives for natural occurrences and postulates the existence of other minds. Thus the idea of hidden Gods explaining natural events was born.
(Religion’s Smart-People Problem, emphasis added). In the past few days I have published two posts which talk about religion.

In those two posts, the topic of conversation is religious views of climate catastrophe (Global Warming / Climate Change Will Generate Dangerous Religion, The Baby Is Not The Bathwater; The Guilty Are Not The Victims).

I want to criticize the hypothesis, set forth in the quote above, that "religion evolved by natural selection—religion is an adaptation that provides an evolutionary advantage."

Yes, the quote is quite general, possibly even an over generalization to the extent that it applies to all religion, however, I intend to limit the criticism to its application toward religious beliefs that apply to global warming induced climate change.

More specifically, I want to focus on those beliefs that "God is doing the climate change if there is any, because human civilization is not capable of doing anything that could change the climate" (Ergo Anthropogenic Deigenic climate change).

Let's use the religious beliefs of two human public figures, Pope Francis and Senator Inhofe, to get the criticism in gear.

Pope Francis is of the faith that anthropogenic climate change is the reality, and that endangering and harming humanity by damaging the Earth is sin (Message of Science & Religion - Western - 2).

Senator Inhofe thinks the Pope is arrogant to have the faith that people could damage the Earth's climate ("the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate").

So, which of those two faiths evolved as a result of natural selection?

Which of those two opposing religious beliefs shows that "religion is an adaptation that provides an evolutionary advantage"?

I don't know about you, but this is one of those places where, as Yogi said, "when you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Have a good weekend.

"Losing My Religion", by R.E.M.


  1. The Pope is coming to address Congress, where some say he will mention climate change (link).

    1. The president has done the same, and is still saying it, but he is not in reference to Deigenic climate change, he is of the anthropogenic climate change consensus (Obama's National Security Strategy Lists Climate Change Among 'Top Strategic Risks' To U.S.).

      I wonder if Senator Inhofe really thinks "With God on Our Side" by Bob Dylan is a song about "God's climate change" (Deigenic climate change) being a security risk to the U.S.?

      What next, military bases outside the Pearly Gates?

  2. For those who can't understand why climate change is more than an inconvenience, note that national security is not the only thing threatened by climate change.

    Human eating is also threatened:

    "Global food poisoning? Yes, We’re maxing out. Forget Peak Oil. We’re maxing-out on Peak Food. Billions go hungry. We’re poisoning our future, That’s why Cargill, America’s largest private food company, is warning us: about water, seeds, fertilizers, diseases, pesticides, droughts. You name it. Everything impacts the food supply. Wake up America, it’s worse than you think.

    We’re slowly poisoning America’s food supply, poisoning the whole world’s food supply. Fortunately Cargill’s thinking ahead. But politicians are dragging their feet. They’re trapped in denial, protecting Big Oil donors, afraid of losing their job security; their inaction is killing, starving, poisoning people, while hiding behind junk-science

    (5 Reasons Peak Food is the World’s No. 1 Ticking Time Bomb).

    So Senator Inhofe, is "God made climate change" (Deigenic climate change) starving your future, or is it anthropogenic climate change?

  3. Dredd: It looks like your implied call could be seen a 'backwards' in that Pope Francis doesn't seem to think humanity has any effect on their own population - because it's "God's will" that we can have infinite human growth here on Earth - since he still promulgates the "go forth and multiply" meme (not to mention the "subdue the Earth" part that's also in their Holey, as in full of holes, book) whereas Senator Inhofe seems to have gained a selective advantage because he was (s)elected as a 'representative' of people of the same mindset or worldview from his state (of delirium).

    So perhaps neither of these two examples of 'evolved' climate views is valid.


    1. Yes, it may be time to consider the other hypothesis:

      "The other explanation claims that religious beliefs and practices arose as byproducts of other adaptive traits. For example, intelligence is an adaptation that aids survival."

      (quoted from the Slate article linked to in the post)

      Another problem, in addition to the ones you mentioned, is that "survival" of civilization is not likely to be the result of either natural selection.

      Like Dr. McPherson says: it is a "predicament."


    Human soul found? Quantum theory of consciousness 'Orch OR' claims both science and religion are true


    "The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?" ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review, according to Science Daily. "This opens a potential Pandora's Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, 'proto-conscious' quantum structure of reality."


    1. Let's get closer to the paper: (link).

    2. First: anyone in science who deals with the non-physical has jumped the rails.

      Second: anyone in science who looks "under the hood" as Penrose described (The Memes of Penrose), runs into a micro world that is beyond our perception at this time.

      Third: The Heisenberg uncertainty principle certainly tells us that our scientific instruments, with which we detect quanta, are not competent at those levels now (The Uncertainty Principle).

      Fourth: mixing science with a hopelessly foolish conflation of Dualism with the uncertainty principle is going to create a new dangerous religion.

      Fifth: some things are obviously insane so you can drop the "we have found the non-physical" bullshit yesterday.

      Sixth: remember that wireless is physical (A New Potential Source for Toxins of Power: Wireless Signals) but it mystifies superstitious folks.

      Seventh: ok, ok, ok, my heart throbs for the vibrating little microtubules whatever they are ... but they could be tunnelling quanta (The Uncertain Gene) ... so I am happily uncertain.

    3. I had a professor once who taught that "when consciousness becomes conscious [of itself], intelligence becomes intelligent."


  5. Looked like bullshit to me too.


  6. An infamous psychological experiment shows that people are authoritarian followers ("The Authoritarians") to the point of torturing others if commanded to do so (One of psychology's most infamous experiments on the dark side of humanity is back under the microscope).

    Thus, the deigenic climate change believers may not be phased by catastrophe since they would think "God is punishing bad people with catastrophic climate."

  7. The Pope want to reform the thinking of the Vatican bureaucracy: (link)