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Interesting article, kc. I agree with you that universal traits don't necessarily have to be explained in terms of evolutionary biology, but I suppose the article is about evolutionary biology... I also noted that the writer only took the "relation between different brain mechanisms" explanation, and didn't consider more straightforwardly the capacity for greater symbolic thought of an enlarged neocortex.

Adaptive or a neutral by-product, the propensity for belief is in any case apparently not negative in its effects. This is something that struck me:

But religious rituals "generate greater belief and commitment" because they depend on belief rather than on proof. The rituals are "beyond the possibility of examination," he wrote, and a commitment to them is therefore emotional rather than logical
(my bold)

Is it possible that, the more you call on people to believe, the more they respond with belief?

Or, put another way, why is proof an insufficient narrative form?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 7th, 2007 at 04:20:43 PM EST

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