An analysis of religion and evolution

Still, even knowing that God exists, many people today fear that there is inherent conflict between the scientific claims of evolutionary theory and the Genesis account of Adam and Eve. Seeking to find a scientific foundation for Genesis, many Christians have embraced the young-earth creationist movement that 1 rejects evolution theory, and 2 insists that mankind is perhaps 6, years old and the universe some 10, years old — consistent with a literalist reading of the patriarchal genealogies found in the Book of Genesis. Still, the vast majority of mainstream natural scientists maintain that 1 evolution theory is factual, 2 the cosmos is some 12 to 15 billion years old, 3 life on earth goes back nearly four billion years, and 4 man himself gradually evolved over millions of years.

An analysis of religion and evolution

It is for this reason that chimpanzees and bonobos are viewed as the best available surrogate for this common ancestor. Barbara King argues that while non-human primates are not religious, they do exhibit some traits that would have been necessary for the evolution of religion.

These traits include high intelligence, a capacity for symbolic communicationa sense of social norms, realization of " self " and a concept of continuity.

The use of burial rituals is thought to be evidence of religious activity, and there is no other evidence that religion existed in human culture before humans reached behavioral modernity. The cerebral neocortex is presumed to be responsible for the neuronal computations underlying complex phenomena such as perception, thought, language, attention, episodic memory and voluntary movement.

His study indicates that only after the speciation event is the neocortex large enough to process complex social phenomena such as language and religion. The study is based on a regression analysis of neocortex size plotted against a number of social behaviors of living and extinct hominids.

The manufacture of complex tools requires creating a mental image of an object which does not exist naturally before actually making the artifact. Furthermore, one must understand how the tool would be used, that requires an understanding of causality.

However, recent studies of other primates indicate that causality may not be a uniquely human trait. For example, chimpanzees have been known to escape from pens closed with multiple latches, which was previously thought could only have been figured out by humans who understood causality.

An analysis of religion and evolution

Chimpanzees are also known to mourn the dead, and notice things that have only aesthetic value, like sunsets, both of which may be considered to be components of religion or spirituality. The degree of comprehension in an animal depends upon the size of the prefrontal cortex: Origin of language and Myth and religion Religion requires a system of symbolic communication, such as language, to be transmitted from one individual to another.

Philip Lieberman states "human religious thought and moral sense clearly rest on a cognitive-linguistic base". Although religious rituals usually involve dance and music, they are also very verbal, since the sacred truths have to be stated.

If so, religion, at least in its modern form, cannot pre-date the emergence of language. It has been argued earlier that language attained its modern state shortly before the exodus from Africa. If religion had to await the evolution of modern, articulate language, then it too would have emerged shortly before 50, years ago.

While the former does not require prior development of language, the latter does. The individual human brain has to explain a phenomenon in order to comprehend and relate to it. This activity predates by far the emergence of language and may have caused it.

The theory is, belief in the supernatural emerges from hypotheses arbitrarily assumed by individuals to explain natural phenomena that cannot be explained otherwise. The resulting need to share individual hypotheses with others leads eventually to collective religious belief.

A socially accepted hypothesis becomes dogmatic backed by social sanction. Morality and group living[ edit ] Main articles: Although morality awareness may be a unique human trait, many social animalssuch as primates, dolphins and whales, have been known to exhibit pre-moral sentiments.

According to Michael Shermerthe following characteristics are shared by humans and other social animals, particularly the great apes: Pre-moral sentiments evolved in primate societies as a method of restraining individual selfishness and building more cooperative groups.

For any social species, the benefits of being part of an altruistic group should outweigh the benefits of individualism.

For example, a lack of group cohesion could make individuals more vulnerable to attack from outsiders. Being part of a group may also improve the chances of finding food.The Emergence and Evolution of Religion: By Means of Natural Selection (Evolutionary Analysis in the Social Sciences) 1st Edition by Jonathan H.

Turner (Author), Alexandra Maryanski (Author), Anders Klostergaard Petersen (Author), Armin W. Geertz (Author) & 1 more5/5(1). The conflict between religion and science is what naturally occurs to our minds when we think of this subject. It seems as though, during the last half-century, the results of science and the.

Statistical modeling shows religious differences in affiliation and worship service attendance come to the fore when the issue is related to human evolution or the creation of the universe. At the same time, people’s religious differences do not play a central role in explaining their beliefs about a range of other science topics, including some in the realm of biomedical issues.

Evolution and religion may not be at war after all. True, the two may sometimes seem like incompatible, competing worldviews: evolutionary science is regularly rejected by prominent figures with.

The Creation/Evolution Continuum | NCSE

Nov 08,  · Theistic evolution – A belief held by some religious groups, including the Catholic Church, that God is the guiding force behind the process of evolution.

This report was written by David Masci, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. Probability, Statistics, Evolution, and Intelligent Design By Peter Olofsson. Posted November 24, In the last decades, arguments against Darwinian evolution have become increasingly sophisticated, replacing Creationism by Intelligent Design (ID) and the book .

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