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Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes


Serious Notions with a Smile


Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site


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Title Author Date
Name That Pundit... hardindr , Jun 02, 2005
One pundit on this topic (I forget who) had a more useful proposal: That humans are born able to accept what they are told implicitly and
unthinkingly, because being able to follow directions without question or analysis was for a few hundred thousand years (or more) an essential survival trait, without which children could not have reached the age where
they could reproduce.

I believe Richard Dawkin's has expressed this idea before:

So why do we insist on believing in God?

From a biological point of view, there are lots of different theories about why we have this extraordinary predisposition to believe in supernatural things. One suggestion is that the child mind is, for very good Darwinian
reasons, susceptible to infection the same way a computer is. In order to be useful, a computer has to be programmable, to obey whatever it's told to do. That automatically makes it vulnerable to computer viruses, which are programs that say, "Spread me, copy me, pass me on." Once a viral program gets started, there is nothing to stop it.

Similarly, the child brain is preprogrammed by natural selection to obey and believe what parents and other adults tell it. In general, it's a good thing that child brains should be susceptible to being taught what to do and what to believe by adults. But this necessarily carries the down side that bad ideas, useless ideas, waste of time ideas like rain dances and
other religious customs, will also be passed down the generations. The child brain is very susceptible to this kind of infection. And it also spreads sideways by cross infection when a charismatic preacher goes around infecting new minds that were previously uninfected.
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Title Author Date
Name That Pundit... Zhukov, Vadim Jun 09, 2005
There is definitely truth in this idea but it's only part of the answer and very small, at that. It would not explain why grown ups sometimes become beleivers even though they where not in their childhood or why some beleivers change their faith (of course, there are a lot of those who at 30-40 years old have a mind of a child :-)).
It seems more important reason is that humans need to have an undersdanding of the world around them, 'established', 'sorted out', 'structured' view of the world and their position in it. That is how our brains work - we need a 'system', which provides a guidance for making decisions in everyday life. When some sort of the system, principal worldview is established it is easier to have 'ready' answers and easier to make everyday decisions.
However, due to genetic, social and other 'predispositions' not all the people are capable of or willing to make an effort to undersdand how real world works. So what should they do? They take it easy - instead of understanding why Earth is rotating around the Sun they happy to hear that that's because it is a God's will. No sweating and you got an answer! What a releif! Now they can concentrate on getting the bread on the table and on growing children and on the Sunday barbeque. Very comforting. And as a significant bonus you also get to know what is the right thing to do (please the God and you will be reborn a richer man or get to paradise, etc., depending on particular belief) and what is wrong (like write this very letter and God will be really upset and send you to burn in Hell eternally). Simple. And now you are trying to come over and tell this is not true, the world does not work like this... light is a beam of particles, particles are really waves and we are probably descendants of an ape. Well, be prepared for some remorse.

While some may argue there are highly educated people who are religious there is a doubtless connection between the level of education and religiousness. (Not to mention that high education certificate does not necessarily validates intelligence of the holder).
I guess, that's it in a nutshell. And high susceptability of the child's brain is a contributing factor but hardly a main reason why people become 'beleivers' instead of 'knowers'.
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