Monday, October 06, 2008

Ho-hum ...

... Opiate of the masses - and evolutionary aid. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

University of Toronto psychologist Jordan Peterson says the review is a quality piece of work that makes a good case for setting religion squarely in the context of human evolution and biology.
Indeed, he adds, its findings should almost be obvious, given the acceptance of other universal human traits, such as cognition and language, as being evolutionary in origin.

What should be obvious is the circularity of the argument. Something survives because it adapts, and it adapts in order to survive. So, since religion continues to survive, it must be an adaptive mechanism - because otherwise it wouldn't have survived. "Of course it's not a genetic process; it's a cultural process," says Ara Norenzayan, lead author of the paper. Well in that case it really doesn't have anything to do with biology, does it? This is a perfect example of what the late philosopher David Stove - no believer, by the way - called "Darwinian fairy tales."
It also does a serious disservice to Darwin, by the way, who did not intend that his insight into the origin of species be turned into a theory of everything.

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