Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Metaphysics, anthropology, evolutionary psychology

Came across an interesting article on NPR recently, basically saying that religion is good for the evolution of society.

Bering asserts that it is belief in God that has ensured everyone cooperates, promotes social good and stamps out cheating. With the experiment in the article in mind, sure, it makes sense. The journo then goes on to extend the example by explaining cooperation and just how complicated a concept it is. This is all true, but what I’m worried about is that it is a little too simplistic. Surely if things like cooperation, belief in unseen beings and social acceptance are going to be discussed a mention of free will should be made?

Mainly I enjoyed reading this article because it’s provided me with another perspective on God as an academic topic –something that Marilynne Robinson has been helping me to explore recently as well.

Savage Minds is an anthropology blog that I love reading about. It’s a no fuss discussion of issues current in the area, in other words, great for n00bs like me. They did a really good review of the guts of the article recently. I think I agree with them when they say: Behavioral ecology is one thing, but I’m simply not convinced that “belief” can be reduced to “behavior”.

Food for thought, I guess. Would love to hear yours if you have the time. (All two of you that is)