Monday, October 22, 2007

Religion - the importance under natural selection

Why has religion remained with humans through evolution. As human beings understand logic the need for superstition should have no place and all would need is a sound rational world. We do not understand a lot of things (for example an average buyer of choclate would rarely know how the choclate is actually manufactured) but are comfortable living with it, infact the number of things that interest most of us would belong to a specific subset.

Why then is there a need for religion, to ascribe to a superior force the actualities of a normal life? And what is the reason that every civilization or clan has had some form of religion or the other? What are the end consequences of religion? A set of rules, is it that the rules are required for humans to survive? The set of common principles across religions seem to be

at the macro level

1) Subscribe to a God
2) Believe that your God is better than the God of others

at the micro level ...

1) Monogamy
2) Do not covet the belongings of others ( yes yes women included )
3) Do not engage in adultery
4) Women have an "impurity" cycle (yes, even the religion of the divine mother hinduism has degenerated into this)
5) Do not indulge in excesses ( yeah you can read that as too much sex)

Excesses are to control resources, imagine a few rampaging groups of viruses consuming everything that they see around themselves, humanity could do that if there we no control mechanisms. The idea of monogamy ( or even if you consider polygamy as in Islam) you are still restricted the number of partners. The key being that once a 'pact' of marriage has been signed then it becomes the automatic responsibility to propagate the species, this is achieved throught the medium of security. What if this rule were broken? Theoretically nothing should matter, if we take the average gender ratio to be 1:1 across all ages of the population then mating 1 on 1 should not matter. But what if everybody wants to mate with only the best specimen? What would that do the average specimen? Sooner or later it would lead towards tremendous conflict where in the average specimen would try and decimate the better specimen. ( Note average is purely for chances of mating ). Now if you want to ensure that entire species were to propagate as quickly (in an age where average life expectancy was in low double digits this was paramount) you need a sound next generation of the species,to create which the current generation has to kept together. Bring
in religion here you are on.


The question then is- what if there is an automatic mechanism to take care of children or if you were to alter the needs of women to enjoy motherhood and children the need of being taken care off, lets say every child that is born is reared under a common soceity which would take care of all its needs, then where would religion be? A very silly or very difficult question depending on which side or you are.

My god vs your god? Does mankind have a single evolutionary root? Or are there different channels of evolution ( have to read on this), already i know that homo sapien and the neanderthal had different roots. Could it be that each wanted to protect and propagate his own species ( assuming you can take them as being unique ) and hence the need of his set of rules ( and hence his rule giver, his god) being superior?

Human beings have the highest consciousness (atleas till now) among all the species, assuming all conflict is removed from the soceity we move as a single unit, where all resources are shared equally (yes everyone looks the same has the same intelligence, all genetic engineering ( dunno if that is possible and the genes for conflict are removed) would humans survive till the planet does? Or is conflict the best way for natural selection?

Han humans design themselves?

3 comments:

Pathik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pathik said...

you are generally speaking about organized religions..how about the spirituality based amorphous ones like Hindu-Buddhism? There is no God at all in Buddhism. and a Hinduism minus an almighty God too does very much exist.

The idea of an almighty God comes from the tribal society- where each tribe's psyche is captured in its God. tribes fought and the victorious tribe imposed its psyche on the vanquished one- making its God victorious.

so indeed all this does have an evolutionary basis. and infact Sri Aurobindo brings evolution right into religion by proposing that evolution is the divine plan, that yoga is accelerated evolution!! well Sankhya-Yoga already had germs of these ideas- the idea is that the purpose of creation is to manifest pure consciousness within matter and the evidence of nature leading to man seems to point to this. now what have you to say about that?

Pathik said...

you reading a lot, thinking a lot..its brilliant! your blog is incisive, direct, creative..thoroughly enjoyable overall!