It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Religion may be a product of our evolved brains

page: 1
1
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Mar, 9 2009 @ 11:55 PM
link   

Religion may be a product of our evolved brains


www.newscientist.com

Once we had evolved the necessary brain architecture, we could "do" religion, brain scans indicate.

The research shows that, to interpret a god's intentions and feelings, we rely mainly on the same recently evolved brain regions that divine the feelings and intentions of other people.

"We're interested to find where in the brain belief systems are represented, particularly those that appear uniquely human," says lead researcher, Jordan Grafman of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland.

(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Mar, 9 2009 @ 11:55 PM
link   
So is religion a result of our advancement in society or the result of a improved, smarter brain?

I was under the impression that our religious belief system is passed on to us by virtue of our birth, the upbringing by our parents and our interaction with the society.

Our brain has cognitive learning capacity far beyind that imagined in other animals, primates for example.

If there is a supreme creator in this universe, or if we are being manipulated and gentically corrected by aliens, then maybe our brains are being developed to keep pace with the development and progress of the religions of the world

www.newscientist.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 12:54 AM
link   
reply to post by sunny_2008ny
 


Ahh! The throngs of biological reductionism!

Seriously though, in a population where danger is in no short supply, and whose members might become easily emotionally subject to the prospect of failure, being able to put faith into a deliberate lie might have put members at a fitness-reproductive advantage over the rest of the population, whereby they would act courageously in the face of seemingly unavoidable calamities.

In modern times, this experience is being exploited as a social phenomenon in order to mobilize individuals for purposes of moral uniformity, which depending on the rigid structure of said society, is necessary for its stable replication. Why the society came to a scenario that favors rigid social institutions is beyond me, but it might have something to do with the allocation of resources in times of stress. Obviously, if we lived in Utopia there would be no quarrels over what type of food we eat (Hinduism and their bovine gods), with whom we socialize and ultimately procreate (segregation in southern U.S. in the 1950's, etc.) and what else. Resource scarcity is one thing, but there might be other, more deeply layered forms of social selective pressures, which while unique end up invariably being tied to limits of food production.

Where religion might prevent young adults from having sex, and forcing them to a commit to a life-long marriage before hand, it might be because resources are scarce and caring for additional children would be too burdensome on their families. Spirituality, in turn, is the physiological manifestation in the brain of such a willingness to submit to popular rhetoric, or a suppression of the parietal lobe, which entails a decline in the value of self-identity and selfishness, the purpose of which is to approach an equilibrium stable strategy when considering the outcomes of all possible social actions. In this case, while it might not seem good for the individual, it's often beneficial for the population as a whole. What we might be observing with rebellious youth today could in fact be a discrepancy between a need to uphold redundant religious institutions and an actual lack of consequence for failing to adhere to them, especially in a modern society, which has all the resources and more to care for, for example, children fathered by a a young boy.

[edit on 10-3-2009 by cognoscente]



posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 11:39 AM
link   
That's funny because I figured me not falling for some silly religion was an evolutionary step on my behalf

I remember watching a TV show on discovery channel where they were talking about a section of the brain being responsible for religious beliefs. They said that people who are really religious had more activity in that part of the brain and less in the parts used for logic thinking. Don't shoot the messenger. Anyone know what that show was I am thinking of?



posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 11:44 AM
link   
Correct me if Im wrong, but isnt this a chicken an egg scenario?

I suggest that it could be equally likely that our evolved brains are a product of religion. For example it has been shown that in a survival situation, those with a higher religious belief survive more often, as they can hold out longer mentally. Maybe those who felt that sort of religious drive out-lived those who did not, and thus their brain structure was passed on to their children.



posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 11:57 AM
link   

Originally posted by sunny_2008ny


then maybe our brains are being developed to keep pace with the development and progress of the religions of the world



What evidence do you have that religions have developed and progressed?
Dogma is Dogma and has very little wiggle room for progress.

Religion is just a form of tribalism and is much more concerned with keeping the status quo than progress.

In fact imo Religion inhibits progress except in the case of metaphysics.

[edit on 10-3-2009 by whaaa]



posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 12:07 PM
link   
It may be a progression of evolution. All of our torubles.... our hopes and dreams ... all a result of evolution. The chains of causality around our necks. Maybe this is what creates sides... those who have learned to love good and those who love evil will be permenently devided by the removal of the freewill concept. can a mind truley become trapped in an idea or concept that is not the truth? Would they then need to die?

Even if so. In a place as infinite as this reality you could always just leave. What do the children of the evil deserve? to be placed in a life of suffering in ignorance. Would it be better for a life to never be born at all? Would i rather be born as a life that had a chance to understand reality? If a mind is locked in a concept it atleast dies with age and the children have a chance to redeem them, but what if there is no death in the future? Does any life deserve to be born into the bonds of such slavery? Would it not then be better for them to be dead. To give the planet another chance to produce life.... another harvest.



posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 12:29 PM
link   
Yeah, but at certain times in human history spirituality and submissiveness might have been valued more than logic and long-term rationality. Today, you could probably say the opposite.

reply to post by whaaa
 


It really depends on your value system. Progress is a 21st ideal. There's no universal reason for "progress". It's rather arbitrary actually. Progress in their interpretation might have been merely staying alive. Of course, the ancient Greeks, who abandoned a lot of religious dogma, whose Gods represented symbolic extensions of the best of human qualities, lived in a much more creative society. Removing religion in that case could only have been a positive endeavor. But you can't accomplish that without the safety of walled cities.

[edit on 10-3-2009 by cognoscente]



posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 12:59 PM
link   

Originally posted by sunny_2008ny

So is religion a result of our advancement in society or the result of a improved, smarter brain?



Both, I believe.

Society is the result of an improved, smarter brain. There are a number of aspects to 'society'.

  • Language- provides communication with other individuals for passing on information. It likely began (speculation) in the coordination of hunting and the gathering of useful plants.

  • Symbolism- provides a 'road map' of ideas which can be described as the earliest form of writing and is able to communicate ideas through generations by association. The earliest symbols I've read about are the lunar cycles etched onto a bone fragment.

  • Art- an extension of Symbolism above and the basis for the earliest forms of religion. Depiction of animals, possibly as totems to 'draw the prey to the hunters' decorates caves throughout much of the prehistoric world.

  • Abstract thought- the proverbial 'What if...' ideas we are all capable of. Such thinking is unique to Homo Sapiens Sapiens and encompasses dreams and visions. This fortunate ability of ours is also responsible for the rise of religions, ritual burials, etc.

    There are probably many more features which seperate us from (eg)Homo Erectus and Neandarthals, but, in the end, it is the Transition which gave us the tools, because of increased cranial capacity, to form society out of the points listed above.

    Here's some literature and links to explore in regard to how religion began:


    You might wonder how do the naturalists and the religious side view this "human revolution." All the naturalists can say is: "Some nucleotide in a sapien's brain must have mutated which left him -- different." That mutation must have been a fortunate one, for it took a dimly reasoning creature who couldn't find his way out of Middle Stone Age technology and turned him into a reasoning, thinking, creative dynamo who found his way to the moon and back.

    Those on the religious side respond: "The one who made the universe and created life on this planet gave man a spark of his own creative reason. That is what Genesis means when it says, 'He made them in his on image.' This divine spark is the individual soul. Therein lies our consciousness, our reason, our ingenuity, our uniqueness, and our immortality. That is what sets modern Homo sapiens apart from all other creatures past and present."

    www.articlesbase.com...



    Lascaux, France-In this cave in the Dordogne region of France close to 600 painted figures depicting such things as horses and giant oxen have been found. Like many anthropological finds the discovery of these artifacts was accidental.

    Religion appears to be a behavior characteristic of the human species. In order to have religion, one must be capapble of abstract thought and reasoning. Without such abilities, the probability of life after death or an omnipotent deity or deities coul d not even be imagined.

    The oldest grave sites have been dated at 80,000 years old and have been associated with archiac Homo sapiens or Neanderthals. Obviously these burials do not indicate the beginning of religion but instead are representative of a more advance d religious culture very similar to many of the practices people have today. Almost all of these individuals have been found buried with something, whether it be tools, flowers, or jewelry.

    www.stanford.edu...



    In prehistoric men's mentality, vital needs were highly humanized and intertwined with social life. In this view, it is likely that the diverse activities and spheres of human life -from hunting to initiation, from procreation to the organization of clans- did include a religious dimension. The propitiating of natural powers and elements, which were still mysterious and competing with humankind from many points of view, stood side by side with the need for success and safety of the group. We should better consider the caves as the "sanctuaries of prehistory", in which great artists left only fragments of the inner social life of their groups. At this moment, a more naturalistic and social side, idealizing and transcending the immediate biological needs of human beings, was added to the cosmic religiousness inherited from the previous eras ( SKY, I). We must remember that the human beings who frescoed the caves during the Upper Paleolithic period were the same that used to bury their dead and looked at the after-life with a combination of fear and, perhaps, hope.

    www.disf.org...


    Other reading material:

    anthro.palomar.edu...
    www.answers.com...



  • posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 01:12 PM
    link   
    Despite the main trend here on ATS that supports the silly atheist cause, the idea of God is not only one of the biggest Idea in mankind's history, but also the most evident to an (trivialy speaking) Enlightened mind, ie a man who discovers and realises himself as a living spirit, the strange subjectvation of a somewhat permanent counsciousness enclosed in the very middle, if not the mere center, of the entire universe, - world of which he's just a sort of flower, - a consequence - a quick vanishing detail, an instant flash of coherent syynthesis of the entire circle of Being around what all goes on...

    What created this ? Why am I ? Where does I go ? Will I live upon Death ?

    Ask yourself thses question in the middle of the desert, or at the worst time of your life. Then ask again at the most happifullistic day of your life. And see what just comes up... all in all, in both cases...



    [edit on 10-3-2009 by Rigel]



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 01:14 PM
    link   

    Originally posted by Rigel

    Ask yourself thses question in the middle of the desert, or at the worst time of your life. And see what comes up...



    most likely somthing unrealistic and delusional. Just like the god of the jews and christianity.



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 01:18 PM
    link   
    reply to post by Wertdagf
     


    Did you create yourself ? Did you create the world ? Did you create Time and Space ?

    Do you rule the subtle mecanisms that intelligently - and far beyond all what you could ever conceive- governs your heartbeat and all the mess your consciousness seems to passively crowns as in an... upper delusion of being just yourself... ?


    Search again...





    [edit on 10-3-2009 by Rigel]



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 01:27 PM
    link   

    Originally posted by Rigel
    What created this ? Why am I ? Where does I go ? Will I live upon Death ?

    Ask yourself thses question in the middle of the desert, or at the worst time of your life. Then ask again at the most happifullistic day of your life. And see what just comes up... all in all, in both cases...


    What does your premise prove? That some people have a tendency to believe certain things in extreme situations, be it in distress or while experiencing great amounts of happiness, or other feelings.

    Plenty of people claim to have found or seen God while on drugs.

    The only thing they have in common is that there are alterations in people's bodies (and in effect, minds), fueled by chemical reactions.

    But I don't see how either situation gives more validity to God's existence.



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 01:29 PM
    link   
    According to your own logic wouldnt it be ignorant to assume that i wasnt the one who created this reality?



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 02:14 PM
    link   
    reply to post by converge
     


    Emotional states was just for the decorum. The core of the matter is pure logic.

    Why a universe and not nothing ?

    Does times supposes an evolution, on the human (collective as well as individual) scale for exemple ?

    What is death ? End or butterfly-life of the soul who happened to learn to live and behave as an autonomous, spiritual unity ?

    ...

    God, as a pure Idea - and not any christian theology or what I know - gives an insight I'm afraid atheist (or so-proclaimed so...) don't grasp, or faint to not.

    One more time, consider the unity and over-timely nature of your mind. Then stretch this condition to what it all indicates by itself, which is the world, or the Universe, as a Project, a Matrix if you prefer, where Some Great Thing is supposed to Happen.

    What if that what yourself, ATSdude lurking around your screen as a -seemingly- lost soul.










    [edit on 10-3-2009 by Rigel]



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 02:17 PM
    link   
    Well i'm an atheist.

    Now excuse me while i go and torture some infidels / heretics for not believing what i don't preach.

    Thankyou.



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 02:21 PM
    link   
    reply to post by mr-lizard
     


    We're not talking of rituals and others secondary beliefs, here. Rather about the Immanent or Transcendent notion that comes sooner or later to any mind, to say so, about the all sense of this entire hecking experience that is called Life.



    [edit on 10-3-2009 by Rigel]



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 04:40 PM
    link   
    The next thing a life form understands is that there is no mystical god and free will doesnt exist. Its a pitty there was a 2000 year speed bump.



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 06:07 PM
    link   

    Originally posted by Rigel
    Emotional states was just for the decorum. The core of the matter is pure logic.
    Why a universe and not nothing ?


    I'm sorry, are you trying to argue God's existence based on logic? Did I get that right?

    The foundation of religion, or God's existence for that matter, is faith. "You have to believe to see".

    Faith, by it's own definition is an illogical thing. Faith is the belief in things not seen, not proven; it, therefor, defies logic.

    Religious people (and Churches) have long abandoned the naive idea that God's existence, will or actions have any logic or is even a logic that would make sense to man.

    Hence why when something happens and people don't understand how could it have happened (if there was a loving God) they say that it's all part of God's plan; in essence admitting that they can't find any logic to whatever event (usually a tragedy) happened.




    What is death ? End or butterfly-life of the soul who happened to learn to live and behave as an autonomous, spiritual unity ?


    While I understand that for some people the mere belief that something is a certain way because they believe it is so is enough to cope with the doubt or question, but it's far from being a satisfactory explanation in objective terms.




    God, as a pure Idea ...
    One more time, consider the unity and over-timely nature of your mind.


    Your beliefs, while probably reassuring and comforting for you, have absolutely no value to someone like me, who would rather know how things really work rather than to believe how they work, or why.


    [edit on 10-3-2009 by converge]



    posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 08:26 PM
    link   
    reply to post by masqua
     


    I'm not entirely convinced. Given sufficient time, and adequate luck, I wouldn't doubt that a Neandertal lineage, or even earlier archaic Homo sapiens, such as the heidelbergensis or rudolfensis, could have developed a sufficiently advanced technological state society. Your backward induction reasoning is hardly sufficient. Just because we are advanced today says nothing about a lack in ability for those other species to have achieved similar levels of success. Homo sapiens were stuck in the stone age until about 11,000 years ago. Agriculture was a total fluke, which came about due to a combination of observing behavioral patterns in very rare animals, which happened to be conducive to domestication. In fact, there were only 14 species, randomly distributed across the planet's surface, of approximately 200,000 large potentially domesticatable mammals that happened to make up the livestock of ancient agriculturalists. The same process occurred in plant domestication. Civilization occurred when there was no other better strategy. It was a last resort, that threw us into perpetual conflict. The relatively care free existence of hunter-gatherers, who were living absolutely marvelous lives were usurped by the needs of the power-hungry state societies that emerged out of the disaster that was a dependency on growing strange grasses in your backyards to feed your tribe at bare sustenance levels. However, on the other hand, the counter intuitive nature of agriculture, lead us to greater prospects for controlling our environment, placing an artificial demand on the expansion of intelligence of individuals and social institutions-manifesting as democracy, law, medicine, new farming techniques (irrigation, pesticides), methods of communcation, warfare, etc-albeit all at the expense of the subjection of millions of human lives to sheer poverty, which continues today in the form of the Third World's degenerate state.

    Neandertals had sedentary life styles that were very much similar to those of anatomically modern humans at the time. Even since, the gene pool of modern humans has selected for a host of increased social phenotypes, which make us remarkably different than our ancestors of 10,000 years ago. So there's no saying what exactly might be expected from a modern, sufficiently advanced Neandertal society.


    All the naturalists can say is: "Some nucleotide in a sapien's brain must have mutated which left him -- different." That mutation must have been a fortunate one, for it took a dimly reasoning creature who couldn't find his way out of Middle Stone Age technology and turned him into a reasoning, thinking, creative dynamo who found his way to the moon and back.


    Yes, it must have been a fortunate one. However, the fault is in the article's attribution of "technological progress" as if it's some miraculous phenomenon. Technological progress is just another niche, which having conveyed a significant fitness advantage, allowed this species to proliferate and acquire resources at a greater rate than its competitors. There's nothing inherently special about it. We didn't "rise up from the primordial soup destined to conquer the world". The article's attribution of our species' talents to images of heroism is revolting to any scientist. Sure, it might enhance their conceited world view, but it has no place in the philosophy of natural sciences; it's pure garbage.


    Originally posted by Rigel
    reply to post by mr-lizard
     

    We're not talking of rituals and others secondary beliefs, here. Rather about the Immanent or Transcendent notion that comes sooner or later to any mind, to say so, about the all sense of this entire hecking experience that is called Life.


    There is no part of the brain that accounts for that. There are, however, specifically locatable sections of the brain that account for the human organism's conductivity to ritualism and "submissive" faith. I can see how such activity might benefit the replication of genes over time. It could even be rational, in some circumstances, for a population to ascribe to such values and beliefs, especially those in early agricultural societies, whose health was absolutely abysmal, and who were constantly worrying about fending off animals and other invaders.

    I've personally experienced this all-sense. I've actually gone so far I have almost collapsed, I went to the hospital last week from anxiety do to this. For a week, I put my self in to such an emotional trance that I knew there was no inherent existence to me at all. I was nothing more than a rock or a tree and free will was a totally foreign concept. And no, I don't take any drugs. This is from pure meditation alone. I should probably get a brain scan, lol... but I can definitely see where blind faith would benefit your sanity. The pre-frontal cortex and parietal lobes have seen major genetic developments over the last stage of human evolution and this might have been a key adaptation in our ability to acquire resources and to demarcate land into a complex conceptual construct such as property (other mammals do have marked territories, but ours is probably more defined). It has also brought along with it mental illness, which in practical sense is merely the state of not succumbing to those parts of your brain that command you to believe you are an objectively individual organism (Ayn Rand is deluded in my opinion and her pre-frontal cortex must be in overdrive-those pesky libertarians...) Out of this I also don't believe animals can be categorized as beings with feelings that are unique to "them", seeing as how their "them" sectors of their brains are relatively deficient compared to humans. Some entity is experiencing some form of pain, but it's not "them", per se.

    [edit on 10-3-2009 by cognoscente]



    new topics

    top topics



     
    1
    <<   2 >>

    log in

    join