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(Religion’s Smart-People Problem, emphasis added). In the past few days I have published two posts which talk about religion.
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.
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
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.