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Religion and evolution.

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posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 10:15 AM
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I'd just like to point out right away that I'm not trying to offend any specific group. I've just had a few thoughts that I thought would be intresting to discuss.

As we look back on history, religion began to appear just as the human consciousness began to form as the body began to evolve. Perhaps the invention of religion was just an evolutional tool developed by the human mind. Sure they learned bodily survival skills, hunting to eat and defending themselves, but so that the human did not just waste away from lack of drive the mind perhaps developed religious ideals. Religion further began to be entangled with evolution as religious wars occured. These served as both a population control and a sort of "survival of the fittest". One of the problems in today's society is that many think that we have stopped evolving, but that is not so. Evolution is a constant ongoing process, even if "survival of the fittest" has altered to "who has the most guns". Atheism has sprung up because those human minds no longer need a religion to survive. These individuals have evolved past the identity crisis and can therefore rely on themselves other than religion or religious groups. Atheism has made the human mind fitter for survival, but just as the neaderthal's and cromagnums existed and struggled against eachother, so does the concepts of Atheism and Religion. Only time will tell if humans will continue on course with the same need of a religious stepping stone, or if the human race's next stage of evolution will become central player in the world and build its own stepping stone.




posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 10:47 AM
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I think it's moreso due to the fact that humans became aware of themselves, of other people, of nature, and above all of death. They're also very curious.

The first religions were forms of "animism" with a cult of the ancestors, a belief that is strongly tied in with nature and it's spirits. Dreams were also very important as they were seen as visions of the other side.

Organized religion appeared fairly recently really, with civilisation, and it was a form of control to a certain extent.

Religion is so succesful because it gives meaning to people lives (regardless if it's true meaning or not). There are lots of fragile people out there that would suffer depression or nervous breakdown if they realised the true nature of reality.



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 10:56 AM
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I see what you mean DarkSide.
Most of those ancient practices have either died out or have been absorbed by another ideal sadly. It would be interesting to see if any pure forms of the animism still exist.

Religion does give meaning to some people's lives. But does that hinder or help them? Can a person be strong and complete without the aid of a religion? I think so. Forgive me by being blunt, but perhaps those fragile people out there eventually won't exist anymore. Maybe it is during out generations that the fragile mind will die out as humans evolve to an indepth understanding of identity.



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 11:15 AM
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Originally posted by ShadowedRedemption
I see what you mean DarkSide.
Most of those ancient practices have either died out or have been absorbed by another ideal sadly. It would be interesting to see if any pure forms of the animism still exist.


They were replaced by polytheism, which was replaced by anthropomorphic monotheism. But they can still be found throughout the world in various tribes (in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands, Indigenous Australians, etc) and in Japan (Shinto). Now I don't think they are in their original form since in each tribe the beliefs are passed on orally also the Shinto religion in Japan has absorbed polytheistic beliefs that have added themselves to the original animistic beliefs.


Religion does give meaning to some people's lives. But does that hinder or help them? Can a person be strong and complete without the aid of a religion? I think so. Forgive me by being blunt, but perhaps those fragile people out there eventually won't exist anymore. Maybe it is during out generations that the fragile mind will die out as humans evolve to an indepth understanding of identity.


I don't think there's selective pressure on people whether they believe in supernatural beings or not. It's not something that is passed on like blue or green eyes, there are young earther parents with atheist children, and vice versa. Reality is hard to take for anyone, unless your totally confortable with the fact that life means nothing and that when you die you'll return to nonexistance like if you never existed at all. I remember reading "The selfish gene" by Dawkins, it litterally pulled the carpet from under my feet, altough I was already an atheist before I read it.

[edit on 14-8-2007 by DarkSide]



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 11:34 AM
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Originally posted by DarkSide

I don't think there's selective pressure on people whether they believe in supernatural beings or not. It's not something that is passed on like blue or green eyes, there are young earther parents with atheist children, and vice versa. Reality is hard to take for anyone, unless your totally confortable with the fact that life means nothing and that when you die you'll return to nonexistance like if you never existed at all. I remember reading "The selfish gene" by Dawkins, it litterally pulled the carpet from under my feet, altough I was already an atheist before I read it.

[edit on 14-8-2007 by DarkSide]


I disagree, there is a selective pressure--within families however if not on society as a whole. I can speak from experience that most parents will not quietly accept that their child does not follow the same theology. I have on several occasion gotten into arguments with my mother, of course I would not fully speak my mind lest she disown me. Someday I might tell her, but not until I feel she's ready. Although many like to say religion is not present in the workplace, its there. Several coworkers of mine often try to get me to take a second look at christianity, even after I've explained that my stance has not changed. (Thankfully I won't be working there for much longer.) Perhaps its human nature to shy from things different from ourselves and offensively try to change said things into ourselves. For those individuals striving for variety, there is a mass in direct opposition trying to aborb them.

As for "The Selfish Gene", it sounds interesting, I'll have to pick up a copy.



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 01:02 PM
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There is selective pressure on cultural ideas, and religion for example (see memes)
But how can that have an impact on natural selection?

Humans are particular in that way, since evolution is a response to envirronmental change through natural selection, yet humans have been and are shaping our own envirronment. So we're evolving according to an envirronment we are creating and maintaining. Also people that would already be dead for long are able to live and even have children nowadays (disabled people, diseases, malformations etc). I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but it's a reality that if you were living 30 000 years ago and you lost the usage of your arms or had an open wound you would more and likely die.



posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 01:10 PM
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Originally posted by DarkSide
There is selective pressure on cultural ideas, and religion for example (see memes)
But how can that have an impact on natural selection?

Humans are particular in that way, since evolution is a response to envirronmental change through natural selection, yet humans have been and are shaping our own envirronment. So we're evolving according to an envirronment we are creating and maintaining. Also people that would already be dead for long are able to live and even have children nowadays (disabled people, diseases, malformations etc). I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but it's a reality that if you were living 30 000 years ago and you lost the usage of your arms or had an open wound you would more and likely die.



Culutral ideas and religion impact the change on the mind. This affects natural selection, because people now have different ways of approaching challenges. 30,000 years ago a person would simply leave a fellow wounded person to die, nowadays people seem to have a sense of morality (although it is not always exercised) and will help the wounded. In this way, natural selection can no longer kill off the weak (like a person who couldn't use their legs) and as physical evolution is slowed down by this mental evolution has jumped a head--just look at the scientific discoveries that have been made.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 06:02 AM
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Originally posted by ShadowedRedemption
30,000 years ago a person would simply leave a fellow wounded person to die


I doubt it even 30 000 years ago people were still the same and morals have always existed they didn't appear with religion.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 10:29 AM
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I know that morals did not appear with religion. Its just that when you live in a world where you could potentially die of a cold, and its constantly eat or be eaten, it would be a little hard to try and care for someone wounded when you can barely fend for yourself.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 12:07 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowedRedemption
I know that morals did not appear with religion. Its just that when you live in a world where you could potentially die of a cold, and its constantly eat or be eaten, it would be a little hard to try and care for someone wounded when you can barely fend for yourself.


I wouldn't be that dramatic either. There are many animals that die of old age even in nature. Even at the times men lived in organised groups and had language so they must have been emotionally tied together.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 02:07 PM
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But something had to provide the mortar to emotionally tie everyone together. Perhaps religion developed then as a concept for the people to band together, so that they could ban together in order to evolve further. But as wars took place between religious factions, new minds evolved. Minds that did not need mortar to connect to one another. Hmm, now I'm starting to question my thoughts on atheism as the next evolutionary step. Maybe its more like a mutation that has melded with the evolutionary tree.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 04:28 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowedRedemption
But something had to provide the mortar to emotionally tie everyone together. Perhaps religion developed then as a concept for the people to band together, so that they could ban together in order to evolve further.


No, humans like apes and monkeys are social animals. They don't band together because they like to, but because their programmed to. Did you ever see a chimpanzee that lived alone in the jungle and only grouped with others to mate? It was shown in captivity that monkeys refuse unfair treatment and show altruistic behaviour, it's the same for humans.

My point is that at any moment in time humans, even early hominids, lived in groups. If you think of, the human body is not really adapted for hunting. It can't run that fast, it doesn't have that much endurance, it can't climb with ease, it doesn't swim too well, it's eyesight is good but lacks sufficient night vision, it's hearing is limited, so is it's smell. The only features that makes it special are the opposable thumd and the large brain. The only reason we're so efficient is because of tools and cooperation. Alone we'd be unmatched by every other predator and even be their prey.

Humans evolved from animals that we're already social by nature so there was never a period when humans went alone and needed religion to bond together. Religion is a merely a system that was invented to explain the unknown.



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