X-Message-Number: 19420
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2002 09:17:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: Scott Badger <>
Subject: Re: Significance of Beliefs about the Afterlife

David Stodolsky cited the following:

> 1 April - Aaron Blaisdell UCLA Psychology
> Adaptive Significance of Beliefs about the Afterlife
> According to some evolutionary psychologists, human
> social and cultural
> behavior has been shaped by natural selection just
> as have simple individual
> behaviors.  

Thanks for this abstract, David. I'll have to ask for
the complete article. I've long had an interest in
this area. I call it "The God Instinct" and hope to
write a book on the subject someday.

Here's a section I like from another interesting
article on this subject:

The Biological Roots of Religion 
Is Faith in Our Genes? 
by Morton Hunt

"Religion serves the same purposes as science and the
arts - "the extraction of order from the mysteries of
the material world," as [Edward O.] Wilson puts it [7]
- but in the prescientific era there was no other
source of order except for philosophy, which was
comprehensible only to a favored few and in any case
was nowhere nearly as emotionally satisfying as

Still another major function of religion was to act as
a binding and cementing social force. I quote Wilson
again: "Religion is ... empowered mightily by its
principal ally, tribalism. The shamans and priests
implore us in somber cadence, Trust in the sacred
rituals, become part of the immortal force, you are
one of us." [8] Religious propitiation and sacrifice -
near-universals of religious practice - are acts of
submission to a dominant being and dominance


Scott Badger

"Vita Perpetua"

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