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Rowthorn suggests that people with strong religious beliefs tend to have more children and that this, combined with a genetic predisposition to believe, can explain the expansion of religion.
The academic cites the World Values Survey in 82 nations from 1981 to 2004, which found that people who attended religious services more than once a week had an average of 2.5 children; those who never attended averaged only 1.67.
"The more devout people are," Rowthorn wrote, "the more children they are likely to have."
This, coupled with a "genetic endowment" that his theory ascribes to strong believers, could mean the spread of faith across the broad sweep of the population.
As one example of a rapidly growing religious community, Rowthorn cited the explosion of the Old Order Amish population in the United States, from 123,000 in 1991 to 249,000 in 2010.
In practice, Rowthorn said, many people leave their childhood religions behind, or marry outside them and have less children, thus slowing the spread of the "believer's gene."
But the genetic disposition remains so strong that "the religiosity gene will eventually predominate," and a significant increase in religious believers should still be on the cards, Rowthorn suggests.
Genes may help determine how religious a person is, suggests a new study of US twins. And the effects of a religious upbringing may fade with time.
Until about 25 years ago, scientists assumed that religious behaviour was simply the product of a person's socialisation - or "nurture". But more recent studies, including those on adult twins who were raised apart, suggest genes contribute about 40% of the variability in a person's religiousness.
But it is not clear how that contribution changes with age. A few studies on children and teenagers - with biological or adoptive parents - show the children tend to mirror the religious beliefs and behaviours of the parents with whom they live. That suggests genes play a small role in religiousness at that age.
Now, researchers led by Laura Koenig, a psychology graduate student at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, US, have tried to tease apart how the effects of nature and nurture vary with time. Their study suggests that as adolescents grow into adults, genetic factors become more important in determining how religious a person is, while environmental factors wane.
The attempt to foretell the future, present, or past by finding patterns in animal entrails, tossed sticks, or by picking random passages from a holy text are often cited as examples of apophenia. A more extreme example is the pareidolia associated with finding the faces of religious figures in pieces of toast, the grain of cut wood, or other such patterns.
Recent real-world examples include the finding of a cross inside a halved potato; the appearance of Jesus and Mary inside a halved orange; and the appearance of Jesus' face on a piece of toast, in the frost on a car window, and inside the lid of a jar of Marmite
Religion as an adaptation
Richard Sosis and Candace Alcorta have reviewed several of the prominent theories for the adaptive value of religion. Many are "social solidarity theories", which view religion as having evolved to enhance cooperation and cohesion within groups. Group membership in turn provides benefits which can enhance an individual's chances for survival and reproduction.
These social solidarity theories may help to explain the painful or dangerous nature of many religious rituals. Costly-signaling theory suggests that such rituals might serve as public and hard to fake signals that an individual's commitment to the group is sincere. Since there would be a considerable benefit in trying to cheat the system - taking advantage of group living benefits without taking on any possible costs - the ritual would not be something simple that can be taken lightly. Warfare is a good example of a cost of group living, and Richard Sosis, Howard C. Kress, and James S. Boster carried out a cross-cultural survey which demonstrated that men in societies which engage in war do submit to the costliest rituals.
Justin L. Barrett in Why Would Anyone Believe in God? suggests that belief in God is natural because it depends on mental tools possessed by all human beings. He suggests that the way our minds are structured and develop make belief in the existence of a supreme god with properties such as being superknowing, superpowerful and immortal highly attractive. He also compares belief in God to belief in other minds, and devotes a chapter to looking at the evolutionary psychology of atheism. He suggests that one of the fundamental mental modules in the brain is the Hyperactive Agency Detection Device (HADD), another potential system for identifying danger. This HADD may confer a survival benefit even if it is over-sensitive: it is better to avoid an imaginary predator than be killed by a real one. This would tend to encourage belief in ghosts and spirits.
Biological mechanisms causing religiosity
See also: Neurotheology
The God gene hypothesis proposes that a specific gene (VMAT2) predisposes humans towards spiritual or mystic experiences. Proponent Dean Hamer see this predisposition as increasing optimism which has positive effects on other factors such as health and reproductive success.
Originally posted by NoRegretsEver
reply to post by sk0rpi0n
This is merely my assumption, but I think that this gene works both way, some have it and others dont.
How Human Nature Gave Birth to Religion
When something appears in every known society, as religion does, the question of whether it is “in the genes” naturally arises. Did religion confer such benefits on our distant ancestors that genes favoring it spread by natural selection?
There are scientists who believe the answer is yes—enough of them, in fact, to give rise to headlines like this one, in a Canadian newspaper: “Search continues for ‘God gene.’”
Expect to see that headline again, for the search is unlikely to reach a successful conclusion. And that isn’t just because, obviously, no single gene could undergird something as complex as religion. Things don’t look good even for the more nuanced version of the “God gene” idea—that a whole bunch of genes were preserved by natural selection because they inclined people toward religion.
Oddly, this verdict—that religion isn’t in any straightforward sense “in the genes”—emerges from evolutionary psychology, a field that has been known to emphasize genetic influences on thought and emotion.
Though some evolutionary psychologists think religion is a direct product of natural selection, many—and probably most—don’t.
This doesn’t mean religion isn’t in any sense “natural,” and it doesn’t mean religion isn’t in some sense “in the genes.”
Everything people do is in some sense in the genes. (Try doing something without using any genes.) What’s more, we can trace religion to specific parts of human nature that are emphatically in the genes. It’s just that those parts of human nature seem to have evolved for some reason other than to sustain religion.
To shift back into less technical terminology: you might say that we were “designed” by natural selection to feel love and awe and joy and fear. (So long as you understand that “designed” is a metaphor; natural selection isn’t like a human designer who consciously envisions the end product and then realizes it, but is rather a blind, dumb process of trial and error.)
But to say that these emotions are a product of “design” isn’t to say that when they’re activated by religion they’re working as “designed.”
Similarly, humans were “designed” by natural selection to be able to run and were also “designed” to feel competitive spirit, but that doesn’t mean they were “designed” to participate in track meets. Religion, like track, doesn’t seem to be an “adaptation.” Both seem to be what the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould called a “spandrel”—a phenomenon supported by genes that had become part of the species by doing something other than supporting that phenomenon. A spandrel is an incidental by-product of the organic “design” process, whereas an adaptation is a direct product. Religion seems to be a spandrel.
Originally posted by Israylite4ever
reply to post by NoRegretsEver
THE FAKE UNITED NATIONS MANMADE ISREAL IS THE ABOMINATIONS THAT CAUSE DESOLATION:
Ezekiel 38 mentions how Gog, the chief prince of Meshec and Tubal, the Son of Japhet, from the Isle's of the gentiles and lands of the north, aka Europe,(Genesis 10:2). Come against the Land of the real ISRAEL, in the latter days. Gog cannot be Iran for obvious reasons being that it is the land of Persia also mentioned in Ezekiel 38 as a separate entity. Ezekiel 38:10 mentions How the thought of "stealing" the real Israel came to the prince of Meshec and Tubal, GOG. That's why there is so much conflict in the middle east now. That's why 9/11 was an inside job. That's why they want to go to war with Iran and like talking about it everyday on the news.
GOG,MAGOG,MESHEC AND TUBAL are not descendents of Shem, read Genesis 10:2 it's there in plain english. They are descendants of Japheth, brother to Shem. They are the one's who go against the Land of Israel, by force and occupation mentioned in Ezekiel 38 in the latter days AKA NOW. They are the one's who thought the evil thought mentioned in Ezekiel38:10. That thought was to PLAGIARISE The Word of YAHUWAH and His Prophecy. YHWH even mentions how it brings His "fury upon His face", when they do it. We are in the latter days as the fake "UN" created isreal is 100% undeniable proof. The same entity that is behind 9/11 is also behind the creation of the UN's fake 'isreal'.
Also when YAHUWAH/YAHUSHUA addresses the 7 churches of Asia in the Book of Revelation, which are where the 144,000 of the lost tribe of Israel will be chosen from, they would have to be believers in order for Him to address them. The jewish people of the fake UN created 'isreal' don't believe in the one people wrongfully call 'jesus', so where does that make any sense? Gog and Magog are the sole owners of the fake UN created 'isreal'. Satanic forces under the guidance of satan deceived the world into believing who 'isreal' really is supposed to be, but it is YAHUWAH'S will because the people who were to represent Him, whom He blessed as the Sons of Shem, disobeyed Him and were sinning TREMENDOUSLY. We all are paying for sin no matter how close you are to your Creator.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Question for the people who believe in The Old Testament and not the New like the ones who study JUDAISM: WHICH IMMANUEL ARE YOU WAITING FOR? *BORN FROM A VIRGIN I MIGHT ADD*
Hope You don't fall for satan's version of immanuel, because the real Immanuel already came.
THEIR "ETHNOGENESIS" SAYS ASHKENAZI ARE FROM JAPHETH AND NOT SHEM. THEREFORE THEREFORE THEY ARE NOT SEMETIC AT ALL. THIS IS WHAT I'M TRYING TO GET ACROSS TO THE ATHEISTS. CHRISTIANS ARE PROBABLY MORE BRAINWASHED THAN THEY ARE. I NEED THE CRITICAL THINKERS WHO SPOT CONTRADICTION AND I NEED THEM TO BECOME AWARE OF THE FAKE UNITED NATIONS CREATED "ISREAL" WHICH IS CAUSING SUFFERING OVER A LIE. PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING BECAUSE YOU WANT TO ARGUE OVER A LIE.
THIS IS THE ABOMINATIONS THAT CAUSE DESOLATION. THE CREATION OF THE FAKE Untited Nations, isreali state.