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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.