It's seems so counter-intuitive to me that so many of the people who enthusiastically support evolution over creationism when regarding the existence of humans, then turn back to folklore in preference to evidence when it comes to the creation of religion itself.
Please help me understand.
What is your foremost reason for not believing that religion is a product or byproduct of evolution?
A distinction should be made, in my opinion, between the behavioral and biological sciences. Religion is mapped into the former, and while we may say that religions have changed over time, or even that human behavior has ‘evolved,’ there is no genetic information to be passed. In other words, there is no religion gene any more than there is a God gene.
lol…some of the choices are “rich”. I have not seen enough to convince me that evolution is responsible, but do believe there is evidence to support the idea that there is a basic human predilection to believe in something “greater” than ourselves, in spite of there being nothing to support the actual existence of same.
I'm inclined to believe that religion is only one possible manifestation of a more fundamental tribalism, or group-cohesive tendency, that gives highly-organized, cooperative groups an advantage over smaller, less complex groups and individuals.
Popular science writer Carl Zimmer said that VMAT2 can be characterized as a gene that accounts for less than one percent of the variance of self-transcendence scores. These, Zimmer says, can signify anything from belonging to the Green Party to believing in ESP. Zimmer also points out that the God Gene theory is based on only one unpublished, unreplicated study.
The two main schools of thought hold: (1) either that religion evolved due to natural selection and has selective advantage or (2) that religion is an evolutionary byproduct of other mental adaptations.
Stephen Jay Gould, for example, saw religion as an exaptation or a spandrel, in other words: religion evolved as byproduct of psychological mechanisms that evolved for other reasons.
I live just fine without religion while fully accepting that evolution is an active force in nature.
Sure religion evolves, just look how the Jewish religion evolved into Christianity and in time into Islam.
However, just because something evolves doesn't mean is fit to survive.
Religion is fine for individuals so long as they don't attempt to inflict it on everyone else.
However individuals vote, so religion does affect government and national policy, exclusively in a negative way.
Decision making is only assisted by information, faith in the supernatural has no place in decision making. Perhaps faith in your fellow citizens, or your system of government, or the validity of Science has some merit, but not faith in divine intervention, or "The Secret" or any other form of Mysticism.
Advocating on behalf of religion is simply advocating for Conservatism to me.
All negative social effects come from Conservatism, Fascist are Conservatives, Marxist are Conservatives, Maoist are Conservatives, Christian Nationalist are Conservatives, Republicans are Conservatives, and the racist old Dixiecrats from the South were Conservatives... do you see where I'm coming from?
Democratic Socialist, Progressives, and Liberals are NOT conservative.
This is why the Soviet Union failed to enlist the aid of the American political left, they believed the Republican Right-Wing Propaganda that claimed non-Conservatives were aligned with Russia and they wasted decades of time and millions of dollars attempting to corrupt us, only to realize that the Republicans were far far far easier to seduce.
Anti-evolution is nothing more than Conservatives insisting that authority does not come from facts and observable science, it comes from political and religious "truths" that are pretty easy to debunk.
Even Marxist hated evolution, in their ideology everyone is equal, not in the sense we're all equal under the law here in the United States, but literally everyone is equal so they rejected evolution ages ago.
How insanely Conservative of the Marxist.
There actually does seem to be an evolutionary bias to believe in invisible beings and conscious action on the part of inanimate objects, e.g. "That rock looks like it's going to fall on someone", "Those clouds are going to rain on us," "This car refuses to start when I'm late for work." This seems to be, from what I've read (I seem to recall this was in The Selfish Gene, but I could be wrong) because humans who attributed a rustle in the grass to a predator, and acted accordingly, had an evolutionary advantage over those who said, "Well, it might just be the wind." If it is the wind, there's no penalty for acting as if it's a predator; but if it's a predator, there is an evolutionary penalty for acting as if it's just the wind. Those who tended to attribute some cause to that rustle in the grass tended to survive and breed more than the others. This led to believing in some causation and motive to everything; and if something is caused, someone must be causing it. (Or so we believed before we gained an understanding of natural processes.)
That evolutionary bias, I believe, is now a detriment to our species, since our large forebrains worked out the causes of so many natural phenomena; and, knowing the purely natural causes, we should be able to discard the belief in "someone" causing it. For instance, we know that gravity keeps the planets in their orbits; we don't need to believe there are angels pushing them around. But many seem to want to believe in the angels, nevertheless.
If I may, I think what you meant to say is that there is an evolutionary impetus for religion to form.
As others have pointed out, everything human is due to evolution so it's a bit of a tautological statement to lump religion in with as well.
So what I think you're asking, correct me if I'm wrong, is why do people malign the religious as ignorant and stupid when there is a strong evolutionary impetus for religion to form even with the knowing and intelligent.
(Posted below but will repeat.) Because the idea that religion is an evolved trait, and the idea that, it was just a bad idea that someone made up, are not contradictions. Since the capacity and ability to make up bad ideas is and evolved trait, but that does not mean that they are not still bad ideas. The same mistake appears most of all in your second point, asking if religion is just a product of criminals, which seems to assume that criminals are not themselves in many ways products of evolution.
My desire to over-eat, and put on weight, is a product of evolution, dating from the days when good meals were hard to find. But that does not mean that it is necessary, inevitable or good to over-eat. My doctor tells me that if I put on weight, it will make me unfit, unhappy and shorten my life, so it is not good. I managed to stop doing it and lost weight, so it is not necessary or inevitable either.
And the doctor's reasons for saying that I should not over-eat are many, but the greatest is the observation that people who do not over-eat, are usually fitter, happier and longer lived. So is the observation that societies which are less religious, and more secular, are generally happier and score higher on every feature of societal health, such as life expectancy, low criminality, better education, fewer unwanted pregnancies, less alcoholism etc. the list is endless. While the fact that virtually no observable single feature of religion, is common to all of them, also proves that none of it is inevitable.
Non of the above. An article in the Humanist magazine once quoted under the heading Existential Risk Analysis that it has been shown some form of religious thought is a universal phenomena. This field is being taught in places as Cambridge and Harvard.
I chose not to vote because I don't disagree with the promise. Religion is a paradigm. Similar paradigms - even those that have flaws - create cohesion in defining rolls among members of the group allowing the group to function better overall. Some members of the group may be considered more expendable than others indicating that the benefits are not necessarily evenly divided, but if the group as a whole is benefited, the evolutionary advantage is satisfied.
I don't believe that religions at their origins are necessarily a lot like they are today. For one thing, those who began religions thousands of years ago didn't know even a fraction of what we know today. For another, the world those people lived in was very different and survival needs in particular were much different. What might be the same is their need to feel they had some control over their world and some way to understand what happens around them.
One last thought: all social animals have some sort of hierarchy which defines certain rolls and behaviors acceptable for members of the society. These rules aren't "fair" or equal for all members, but they do generally benefit the survival and continuation of the group. In the fossil record, there appears to be a couple examples of smaller sized social animal species (typically predator species) which replaced larger solitary ones. The implication might be that socially cooperative species were more successful than larger solitary ones.
What exactly do you mean by product or byproduct of evolution? Evolution is a result of random genetic mutations that, sometimes, provide benefits to the organism that increase the likelihood those genes will be passed on to offspring. I personally do not believe there is a gene that causes religiosity (considering people can be both religious and non-religious over a period of time), but I suppose there are genetic traits that increase the probability or propensity for one to believe.
If you mean it's a byproduct because religion came about as a result of our evolution, then, sure, but that's literally true of every single thing ever created or changed by humans, so it's really a non-staement at that point.
Religion is a product of evolution - - a waste product. Improved cognitive capabilities can confer improved survival. The process of correlating abstractions, for example: hearing a twig snap under the weight of a stalking predator signals it's a good idea to try to escape. Having seen what predators do once, one seeks to avoid becoming prey. This gives rise to superstition, and that becomes formalized as religion.
Religion serves a purpose for some like sports does. People find meaning for life in many different things. Just like how some don't care for sports, some don't care for religion. There is more value placed on things by each individual. They have other reasons in their lives that give them purpose and meaning. Maybe I'm not religious because since I've been like 4 I focused on baseball. I moved on to music after baseball. Maybe because I can do music until I die I have no need for religion. If it was 1265 and all I had to do was milk a cow I might turn to religion to pass the time and connect with others to be part of a community. There are many different communities now for people to find meaning and to pass the time.
Religion has been on the decline for decades. The numbers of non-believers has increased or at least they feel more comfortable letting others know they don't believe. We are in a time with infinite ways to entertain ourselves, and we have science that is exploring more meaning to life with experimentation and understanding than religion ever could. Technological advances are also showing that we are capable of being in control of our own lives instead of depending on some imaginary sky daddy to guide us. As we progress as a society and gain more knowledge, it's most likely the less religion there will be. Even the religious story of Adam & Eve states that if you eat from the tree of knowledge you will damn man forever with sin. Sounds like trying to keep control over the population to me. Keep them dumb, submissive, and reliant on you for answers, etc.
Maybe religion WAS used for control and now other things take its place. Politics? Sports? Music? Celebrity? Computers? Careers? It seems religion is more abundant in poorer parts of the world and the U.S. whereas religion is less prominent in more economically rich people and/or areas. Maybe less intelligent people believe in religion more. It could be 100 different factors. Maybe religion is more abundant in societies that are more traditional like Middle Eastern countries that hold true to societal laws and norms that don't progress with the times. Maybe religion is waning because women aren't required or basically forced to be at home anymore to raise a family in most developed countries. Maybe it's linked to population. Maybe religion is or was so abundant because of fear of dying. Maybe knowledge is making us less fearful.
Viewing religion as a byproduct of evolution I arrive at the ideas of a herd, or group. You feel there is protection within your own herd but there are many different ones. Leaders of your herd might become criminal in time but none of them started that way. They simply saw opportunity for their own betterment. Society works this same way without religion. Some have more than others and everyone wants to get ahead in life. Some want to be leaders whether they deserve to be or not.
Any centralized organization that gains absurd absolute power always requires slavery to run it's worst corruption ever in the history of human kind. No matter if it's religion or politics and mainstream medical profession or pharmaceutical which is happening today.
The concept of evolution is terrifying to the bible bunch! I'm a 30-year zoo educator and use every chance I get to talk about evolution. It's interesting to see how few people frown these days. Maybe So. Calif. science classes are doing a better job?