Maybe religion is the answer claims atheist scientist

September 7, 2009

That something is true is no guarantee that it's helpful to the survival of homo sapiens. Religion may in fact be an artifact of evolution that we can discard without long lasting harm to the species. But then again, some functions of religion such its ability to foster mass cooperation, may be indispensable to our success. The scary thing is that it may not be a kind, gentle, liberal, and peaceful religion that plays this role.  

I am sometimes met with confused stares and comments by atheists who can't imagine how something that is untrue, often harmful, sometimes brutal and barbaric, could be vital to our evolutionary fitness. Let me make my position very clear: I am NOT taking the position that religion is necessary to our survival as a species. But I am saying that it could be. It is not inconceivable that Islam or some other undreamt religion will be our saving grace, so to speak. Such a world is not one I would wish to live in. The better world we all hope for may well be our undoing, but life will be better for having lived it that way, even if that life comes to an early end.

Maybe religion is the answer claims atheist scientist
The world may have to turn to God to save itself from climate change, claims one of Britain’s most eminent scientists.

Lord May, the president of the British Science Association, said religion may have helped protect human society from itself in the past and it may be needed again.

Speaking on the eve of the association’s annual conference, the committed atheist said he was worried the world was on a “calamitous trajectory” brought on by its failure to co-ordinate measures against global warming.

He said that no country was prepared to take the lead and a “punisher” was needed to make sure the rules of co-operation were not broken...

...“A supernatural punisher maybe part of the solution.”

He said in the past a belief in a god, or gods, that punish the unrighteous may have been part of the mechanism of evolution that maintains co-operation in a dog-eat-dog world.

Having a god as the ultimate punisher was possibly a logical step for a society to take, he added.

"Given that punishment is a useful mechanism, how much more effective it would be if you invested that power not in an individual you don't like, but an all-seeing, all powerful deity that controls the world," he said

"It makes for rigid, doctrinaire societies, but it makes for co-operation."

[From Maybe religion is the answer claims atheist scientist - Telegraph ]

Comments:

#1 Kritikos on Monday September 07, 2009 at 4:48pm

I would never have expected the Daily Telegraph to show such incompetence in written English. The string of words “Maybe religion is the answer claims atheist scientist” needs a comma after the word “answer” to be intelligible, and “A supernatural punisher maybe part of the solution” uses the adverb “maybe” in place of the phrase “may be.”

#2 Noah (Guest) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 at 6:32pm

Oh how pathetic people are, when we require religion to make idiots act remotely civil. I think more often than not, however, religion causes the opposite.

In the case of environmental treatment, Christianity, in my opinion, is a major offender. To many doomsday Christians, there is no reason to reduce pollution. What’s the point? The Left Behind books and their pastors tell them that the end is near and the earth will be destroyed regardless. If their religion gives them a reason not to care, then it is more harmful than no religion at all.

#3 jlh (Guest) on Saturday September 12, 2009 at 3:21am

Shermer makes the same case, somewhat in his avowed
libertarian stance. He says ..let the religious deal with the poor..“Neurotheologians” would argue too that religion was a part of brain evolution. Connecting the predator/prey dots in the dark, the mystery of birth, eclipses, etc..  Progressives, Freethinkers, and Humanists here in Southwest Florida are considering the same ideas you talk about. How do you create a mass movement without that religious superglue in the brain and body? ...
Go back to worshipping the small case (thunder)gods and mythologies or mountains, trees, and turtles?
Maybe THE GLUE is simply the STORY and the new story is the INTERNET…i dunno. What would Kurzweil say
if he’s still respected?

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