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Brain Biology Accounts for Religiosity

  1. Dec 17, 2003 #1
    Why People Believe in God An Empirical Study on a Deep Question.
    Author/s: Michael Shermer
    Issue: Nov, 1999

    The belief in God has often been advanced as not only the greatest, but the most complete of all the distinctions between man and the lower animals. It is however impossible, as we have seen, to maintain that this belief is innate or instinctive in man. On the other hand a belief in all-pervading spiritual agencies seems to be universal; and apparently follows from a considerable advance in the reasoning powers of man, and from a still greater advance in his faculties of imagination, curiosity and wonder.

    --Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

    Several years ago I attended a most unusual conference at the Santa Monica Miramar Sheraton Hotel in southern California sponsored by the Extropy Institute. Founded in 1988, what is perhaps most striking about these "extropians" is the quasi-religious nature of their beliefs, including an almost faithlike devotion to science as a higher power. Scientism is their religion, technocracy their politics, progress their god. They hold an unmitigated confidence that, because science has solved problems in the past, it will solve all problems in the future, including the biggest one of all: death. For extropians, the vision of a paradisiacal future of longevity, intelligence, health, and wealth, delivered on the wings of scientific imagination, generates a loyal commitment (a type of faith) to a method, a body of knowledge, and a hope for a better tomorrow. Given their commitment despite their secular world view, perhaps faith is partly hard-wired in us all.

    Complete text at http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m1374/6_59/57800244/p1/article.jhtml?term=
  2. jcsd
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