Catch 22: The evolutionary explanation of religion

No matter where you go in the world you are confronted with the fact that mankind is a deeply religious creature.

The religious behaviour may be a misfiring, an unfortunate by-product of an underlying psychological propensity which in other circumstances is, or once was, useful. On this view, the propensity that was naturally selected in our ancestors was not religion per se; it had some other benefit, and it only incidentally manifests itself as religious behaviour.

-Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion pg 174

This is a particularly difficult problem for materialists like Mr Dawkins to deal with since the historical evidence speaks strongly against the notion that everyone is borne as an atheist, or blank slate per John Locke.

To answer this, many evolutionists like to suppose that notions of religion arose out of the overriding need for survival.

However this presents a problem for the evolutionist. If it is true that religion is merely a survival mechanism, then it demonstrates the fact that the primary goal is not the production of true beliefs. If it is false, that religion is merely a survival mechanism, then we cannot dismiss it as merely a delusion.


2 responses to “Catch 22: The evolutionary explanation of religion

  1. Good points. I also like to remind atheists that if their worldview is true then their beloved Darwinian evolution is 100.000% responsible for my conversion from atheism to Christianity and my trust in the "false" evidence that Jesus really lived, died and rose again. So why are they so upset if their trusted mechanism produced my views?

  2. Pingback: Roundup « Eternity Matters

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