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The NY Times reporter opines about the God Gene

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Here is how he ends his essay:

Religion was also harnessed to vital practical tasks such as agriculture, which in the first societies to practice it required quite unaccustomed forms of labor and organization. Many religions bear traces of the spring and autumn festivals that helped get crops planted and harvested at the right time. Passover once marked the beginning of the barley festival; Easter, linked to the date of Passover, is a spring festival.

Could the evolutionary perspective on religion become the basis for some kind of detente between religion and science? Biologists and many atheists have a lot of respect for evolution and its workings, and if they regarded religious behavior as an evolved instinct they might see religion more favorably, or at least recognize its constructive roles. Religion is often blamed for its spectacular excesses, whether in promoting persecution or warfare, but gets less credit for its staple function of patching up the moral fabric of society. But perhaps it doesn’t deserve either blame or credit. If religion is seen as a means of generating social cohesion, it is a society and its leaders that put that cohesion to good or bad ends.

Nicholas Wade, a science reporter for The New York Times, is the author of “The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures.”

Like EO Wilson I tend to accept these explanations. But they do not increase my personal inclination to believe or not. I can understand how my ancestors were moved to religious belief and practice, but I dont believe that must apply to me in this 21st Century.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/11/15 at 05:13

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