The religious brain and atheism

The religious brain and atheism

As much of the world settles into the spectacle and cozy embrace of culturally reinforced magical thinking, New Scientist has several interesting recent articles about the evolved intuitive nature of religious thinking as a cognitive by-product (of the value of assuming agency in environmental phenomena, for example) and delving into how atheism is and is not like religious thinking. I find the point interesting that religion and atheism (or any ism), as social constructs, cannot be studied and compared in the same ways that objectively real objects and phenomena can, but we can learn much from systematic approaches to investigating the underlying neurological functions and their probable evolutionary value.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23631561-000-effortless-thinking-the-godshaped-hole-in-your-brain/

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328562-000-the-god-issue-we-are-all-born-believers/

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23431212-800-faith-of-the-faithless-is-atheism-just-another-religion/

If you don’t subscribe, Albuquerque Public Libraries carry New Scientist.

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Paul Watson

Will this be the focus of our next meeting? Are we meeting Monday Jan. 1st or 8th? This topic is one of my specialties. Keep in mind that most evolutionary psychologists who think of innate religiosity ( = learning instincts for religiosity) as consisting of indirectly selected traits or “cognitive byproducts” are usually limiting their analysis to the evolutionary ORIGINS of these traits. There are many such by-products, so many that it would take an act of God to render us not prone to being religious. But, some of us EP’s go on to consider what selection would have acted… Read more »

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