Saturday, March 06, 2010

Birth of religion? My latest Deprogram column at Salvo Magazine

On the supposed evolutionary origin of religion:
Did you know that: Religion is good for you; also, Religion is bad for you; also, Religion makes no difference; also, Religion can be explained by a God gene, or a meme, or part of the brain . . . or whatever the editor of your local paper’s “Relationships” section will buy for this weekend’s edition?

You didn’t know any of those things? Aw, no surprise. But never fear: One outreach of the new atheist movement, currently making its way around the lecture rooms of the nation, is the academic attempt to account for religious belief, and to do so on any basis whatsoever, except one.

We will get to that forbidden one in a moment. First, let’s look at the permitted ones.

[ ... ]

Okay, so what is missing from this picture?

First, common sense: Suppose I told you that flossing your teeth (1) helped; (2) didn’t help; (3) made no difference; (4) can be explained by . . . (choose an option). What would you reasonably conclude about the state of the evidence?
Go here for the rest.

Denyse O'Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

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