January 19, 2020
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An atheist in Defense of Religion – rejecting Richard Dawkins’ idea that faith is a delusion.


Patrick McNamara, associate professor of neurology at Boston University and author of “The Neuroscience of Religious Experience”
said “I get attacked by everyone. Atheists hate me because I’m saying
religion has some basis in the brain and fundamentalist Christians hate me
because I’m saying religion is nothing but brain impulses.” That was in the
the English Telegraph newspaper, Friday June 20th 2014. There’s a division of atheism within the
scientific community and its supporters appear to be at war with one another. One
group, the most vocal, considers religion and spirituality to be little more than
delusions and seems to believe that truly strong-minded person will have no
need for spirituality. This view seems to be based on the idea that religion can
be reduced to an echo of our dependence on our parents when we were very young. There’s a correspondence between the
internal working models of parents and God and I quote “the more attached we are
to our parents, the closer we are to an illusory God later on in life.” This leads to the conclusion that we
call out to God in the same way we once called out to our parents when we
expected our parents to come to our aid when we were young. We created a habit
that was then expressed differently later on. We set ourselves up to start
expecting that our prayers will be or should be answered. We come to expect
that someone has to help us when we’re suffering. This view that God is a
reflection of her parents seems to imply that if we could address our problems with
positive coping styles we wouldn’t cry out or perhaps you wouldn’t need to cry
out to an invisible God for help. We wouldn’t look outside ourselves in
moments of suffering. In other words, according to this view, belief in God is
a kind of symptom of a nearly universal subclinical mental disorder. Subclinical
means – for mental disorders – disorders that are quiet enough
that they don’t send us to the clinic. This kind of atheism tells us that
something is wrong with people who believe in God. This view which we’ll call
“The Delusion Model” of spirituality seems to be based on the idea that untruths
are inherently damaging. Not surprisingly, it seems to be most popular among
scientists who see themselves as bearers and defenders of truth. If the
real truth belongs only to science, then scientists are the most heroic people on
planet earth. Like many religions, this kind of atheism upholds its own faith; in
this case, faith in the scientific community, as the sole source of the
highest knowledge. The other type of atheism we’ll look at here is the kind
represented by Dr. Michael a Persinger, to some extent, and myself. Dr. Persinger’s
God Helmet provided evidence that religious and mystical experiences arise
from specific brain functions. These functions are intrinsic to the brain’s
operation and are the result of our evolutionary history. This kind of
atheism quietly rejects the delusion model, and recognizes that we have not
evolved to see the truth, but rather to survive. The psychological traits we show;
the ones within the normal population, appear because they confer biological or
social advantages, like staying alive and getting along with other people –
including that cute girl (or boy) sitting next to you in class. They help us to survive and
achieve social success. Our evolutionary history has selected beliefs that
encourage adaptive behaviors and discourage maladaptive behaviors; the
destructive ones. These become less likely. Religion is perhaps the single
most powerful cohesive force in human cultures and culture is our survival
strategy. We rely on one another for everything, including staying alive. In
the face of threats, this means that spiritual beliefs; religious beliefs, are
intrinsic to human beings. Our minds may even be configured to avoid challenges
to them. In our early evolutionary history, our thoughts and words had to be
integrated with our religious beliefs. It didn’t matter if these beliefs were true;
threats to our survival don’t spare those who speak the truth. They ARE
likely to spare those whose beliefs motivate them to behave adaptively and
to act constructively. Human beliefs endured when they gave us a reason to do
things that kept us alive. If you believe that there is a wrathful spirit in the
soul of a tiger that lives in a nearby forest, you’re more likely to stay away
from it than if you think that one Tiger is like another and decide to hunt it for its skin.
If there’s no God and no great spirit; if your ancestors cannot look down on
you from above; then it’s hard to see how there would be any sacred acts. Some
acts are important, of course, but not sacred. If you believe that saving a baby
from a hungry lion helps your people thrive, and your nation survive, you act
to save the baby. The tribe needs you to do that. If you also believe that the
gods will be pleased with you, and the shaman will give you a blessing, and the
people will stand around. (and) The women will sing your name, you may try harder
than you would if it were only a social reward. God will reward you for saving
that baby. The people do the same. If it’s nothing more than a social reward
and if the life of the baby is not somehow
sacred, then you only get one kind of reward. If it’s sacred then you get two
kinds – the ones from the gods and the ones from the people around you. If the
gods tell you to share with others as a religious obligation – like the Islamic
injunction to tythe 10% of your income. More sharing will go on, and fewer people
will die of starvation or exposure. The population will grow just a little bit
faster than otherwise and so, charity towards your fellow man or woman or
child, becomes a force for the survival of our species. We rely on one another as
we raise our children, find food, protect each other, and obtain the pleasures of
life. We need one another to feel good, so we work hard to impress people, because
we want their friendship and respect. Belief in God, or the gods, allows the
behaviour we need to live in complex cultures to be expressed – openly – in the
context of religious codes, morals, ethics and beliefs. We need to defend one
another, so we accept Gods who tell us to act with compassion and sympathy more
easily than Gods who tell us “to thine own self be true”. There are schools of
philosophy and mysticism who uphold this as one of the principles of the “art of
living” but few popular religions. The gods councel peace within a community,
the tribe, the nation, or the people whenever possible. Buddhism encourages us to look within
but the children in Buddhist Sunday School are more often told to practice
compassion and lovingkindness; to honor their parents, and to observe the
precepts against lying, stealing, drunkenness, and committing adultery or
rape. Most of the beliefs of this seemingly introspective religion are
centered around rules for living with other people. The Hindu scripture, “The laws of Manu”
contains all sorts of laws for how people should relate to one another, like
the duties of sons, how husbands and wives should treat each other, and as
you’d expect – how people of different castes should relate or not relate with
one another. Religion is not a way to know God but rather – a priori – knowing
God as the way to other people. The existence of God, or the lack of it,
has nothing to do with it. If you go along with the common beliefs, you’ll get
along with most of the people around you, and that has heavy social rewards. At the
dawn of our species, getting along with others was also a matter of survival. There’s a survival of the fittest at
work in the evolution of our religious beliefs, and that’s why the beliefs we
find in all or most religions have been so successful. The species we see around us are the
survivors; the ones best adapted to their physical environments, and the most
common human beliefs are the ones best adapted to living with other people; adapted to the cultural environment. No
religion that regards birth and death as ordinary events can never survive next
to one that treats them as sacred. The profound changes in the lives of those
whose loved one dies, or to whom a child is born, invite a larger-than-life interpretation.
Our religious beliefs about these events see them as sacred, making it easier to
encourage people to be emotionally sensitive around those affected by them. Everyone gives some space to those in
grief and tries to avoid triggering conflicts during times when people are
most emotional; during grief or celebrations. Religion is a projection of
our evolutionary strategy displayed on the screen of belief and edited so that
only its practical features appear. Religious behavior, overall, reflects the
principles that human cultures are based on. while (encoding them in) religious beliefs
make them easy to remember, pass on to others, and available to act on,
even in the non-religious moments. You know the saying “form follows function”?
Usually it’s applied in architecture. The shape of the building reflects what the
building is used for. Religious forms follow cultural functions. When a truth
has no function in a culture, it will tend not to be remembered by its people.
It will become a worthless meme. A “meme” is a unit of imitated behavior, or a unit of
imitation. This is a simple definition of the word and for those who want to look into it
more deeply, I cannot recommend anything better than the works of Richard Dawkins.
Some religious ideas, such as those unique to metaphysics, may be preserved,
but in most cases, true beliefs that don’t guide behavior won’t last and
false beliefs that do help us know how to behave constructively will be
remembered and passed on. Since the invention of writing, and then later on
printing, many worthless religious memes have been preserved. Teachings about
Atlantis, Lemuria, or ideas like “the quantum-mechanical baby Jesus” can be
preserved and spread in a tiny minority of the population, but ideas like these
probably wouldn’t have survived for long in our early evolutionary history. In
her own times, using quartz crystals as a means to attain enlightenment had its
heyday from the 1980s to the 1990s, and is rarely heard of
today. Nevertheless Google showed
over 659,000 results for the phrase “crystal healing”. In June of
2014, it showed over two million results for “compassionate loving-kindness”; a
classical Buddhist phrase. The internet preserved the doctrines about crystal
healing, which few spiritual healers rely on anymore, and so the number of them
remains high, in spite of the fact that the idea has lost its popularity. Worthless memes survive, even memes
that may not be worthless but seem to have limited value; crystal healing being
a case in point. Our evolutionary heritage has made it
advantageous to believe in nonsense. Our eyes only see the section of the
electromagnetic spectrum that helps us see threats and opportunities (that’s visible light). There are other
frequencies, including gamma rays, infrared, ultraviolet, and so forth.
We are blind to those sections of the electromagnetic spectrum. Those
sections of the electromagnetic spectrum don’t present us with tigers that want
to eat us or foods we can eat. Our eyes hear only in the range were sounds mean
something to us – from 20 to 20,000 Hertz. So our eyes and ears do not represent
the world; they give us access only to the information we need. Our adaptive
beliefs don’t represent the world either – they give us access to the
information we need about the cultures we live in, and the people we live with.
That process may be more efficient if we build our beliefs slowly, forgetting the
ones that don’t work, and remembering the ones that do. Their truth or lack of it
is not the trait being selected, and if a nonsensical idea works as the core of a
set of religious beliefs; social beliefs, then it will be used, and its truth or
falsehood will have nothing to do with it. So there is no God, but you’re better off believing that there
is, because it allows you a context in which to know how to relate, not to God,
but to the people around you. The beliefs that survive among humans
are selected through the survival of the fittest beliefs, by means of cultural
selection. The worthless memes that don’t survive might be overly complicated,
based on metaphors that are too obscure, or are simply incomprehensible to most people,
or express a morality that’s too different from ordinary experience, to name only a
few of the problems with some of them. Since the written and the printed word
appeared in our history, few unproductive ideas have died out
completely, but the vast majority of the population won’t pay any attention to
them. The Hindu scriptures that delve into the metaphysics of creation and
subtle energies like Prakriti and Prana, to name only two. There’s
another one, better known, – Kundalini, a force or subtle energy that we carry in
our bodies. Most Hindus are much more interested in prayer, devotional
practices, and spiritual practices like meditation, chanting, and reading the
scriptures. The Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana command huge audiences when
they made into television series, but nowhere near so many people are
interested in the metaphysics of that religion. Hinduism’s metaphysical memes are
far from dead, but neither do they thrive, which the popular beliefs do. Metaphysics
can make people feel they understand deeper truths, but the kind of religion
most people practice; that most people want, helps them understand and live
their daily lives. The ten commandments are useful guides to ordinary living
while the mysteries of the Kabbala are harder to apply, and that’s probably why
they’re so much less popular than the Sermon on the Mount that tells us that “blessed are the meek for
they shall inherit the earth” is quoted much more often than the somewhat
mysterious logos doctrine in the first verses of the Gospel according
to John that tell us “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God
and the Word was God”. That’s difficult to understand, and far fewer people try to
understand them than attempt to apply Jesus’ more loving messages in their lives. one impossible content concept can
create contexts for many adaptive ones. The will of God can explain the
inexplicable and create a basis for libraries of moral code. Its ability to
motivate adaptive behavior isn’t diminished by the fact that the
existence of God cannot be proven and that God may not exist at all. As a
scientist, I do not believe in God; certainly not the way most Christians
and Jews and Muslims and and so forth believe in God, but I will still leave a
little room for those who do and say it again – the ability of this belief
to motivate adaptive behavior isn’t diminished by the fact that the
existence of God can’t be proven. The adaptive value of the behavior can be
proven. “Alice laughed – there’s no use trying, she said. one can’t believe
impossible things”. “I daresay you haven’t had much practice” said the Queen. “When I
was younger I always did it for half an hour a day. Sometimes I’ve believed as
many as six impossible things before breakfast” (from Alice in Wonderland by
Lewis Carroll) One of the main exponents of the
delusion model is Richard Dawkins, whose book “The God Delusion” is one of the most
influential works of active atheism in existence. He maintains that atheism is
as worthy of respect and representation as any religion. Unfortunately, atheism – the
belief that there is no God – is a religion based on rejecting religious
ideas rather than embracing them. For most people, it’s not at all clear that
atheism is a religion. Above all, it lacks the indefinable ethos that
appears in the beliefs and paraphernalia of all religion. The architecture, the Art
(and) the music. Most, if not all, religions encourage certain states or moods or
states of consciousness; compassion, devotion, awareness, awestruck wonder,
faith, mercy, kindness, equanimity, love, silence, the dream state, calm, joy, empathy,
and receptivity to name only a few. For atheism to become a religion, it would
have to sanctify the discoveries of science, and that won’t work because
scientific truth keeps changing. I also cannot help but stop and wonder that
one of the principal adages of scientific method is that you can’t
prove a negative, and scientific atheists whose beliefs
are based on things that can be proven begin with the recognition that there is
no God – a negative statement and by the rules of Science you cannot prove a
negative. Atheism offers little basis for the classical religious and spiritual
values, although that may change as science requires a deeper understanding
of them. Its religious ethos appears to be limited to two points. The first is
the sense that (and I quote) “A proper understanding of the magnificence of the
real world, while never becoming a religion can fill the inspirational role
that religion has historically- and inadequately – usurped. That’s a quotation
from Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion”. The second religious ethos of skeptical
atheism is a rigorous adherence to “TRUTH” as revealed by science. Unfortunately,
atheism has its fundamentalists and like the religious kind, they actively oppose
and even hate ideas they disagree with. Of course not all scientific skeptical
atheist hate religion – most of them are merely critical. Not long ago, someone
brought to my attention a group called “guerrilla skeptics”. These
are people who write against “pseudoscience” on Wikipedia, including
people and things like Deepak Chopra, alternative medicine, Rupert Sheldrake, neuro-linguistic
programming, and the “cosmic pineal gland” to name only a few. Such people are not
writing for their beliefs but they write against those of others. Putting opposition to conflicting
beliefs at the forefront is one of the hallmarks of fundamentalism. Perhaps the
scientific worldview is so impoverished that it cannot be sustained without
attacking those of others. More likely, aggressive skepticism appeals to those
with aggressive personalities. The sense of awe at understanding or trying to
grasp the sheer size and elegance of the universe and the mysterious fact that
anything exists it all seems to be the only religious sentiment atheism can
offer. With this in mind, we’ll think of atheism as a school of philosophy and
not a religion. In order to fully justify this decision, we’d have to create a set of
criteria for what does and what doesn’t define a religion. The problem is that
religious believers and delusionalists who see religious belief as nothing more than or
“just” delusions will both offer different criteria and both will claim
jurisdiction over the definition for the word. Traditional religion and mysticism
encompasses a much broader range of spiritual states. For people who have
experienced them, being overwhelmed with compassion, bliss, or moments of very
deep calm, “the peace which passeth all understanding” (a phrase from T.S. Elliott)
the inspiration the scientific worldview offers will always seemed insipid. Carl
Sagan expressed the ethos well in his TV series and book “Cosmos”. Like any
other mood or ethos it can’t really be expressed in words. He told how, as a
child, he was amazed by the fact that the stars were suns, very far away. It imposed
a sense of the sheer size of the universe on his young mind and filled
him with a sense of profound curiosity. He also repeated a phrase that seemed
designed to amaze his audience – “billions and billions” numbers so
large that the mind cannot grasp them. He invoked mind-bogglingly large spaces
and numbers. Of course, having your mind boggled (which means to be astonished
overwhelmed when trying to imagine something) is one possible point of entry
for spiritual faith but it can also appear in response to scientific
discoveries. Those who experience it may become convinced that learning sciences
the best way to the most fulfilling subjective experiences life has to offer.
However, being astonished at the thought of the complexities of nature, the size
of the universe, or the power of the mind in its attempts to come to grips with it,
is a sensation that came late in our evolutionary history. The confrontations
that our early ancestors had with the mysterious were probably far more
likely to motivate adaptive behavior. The birth of a child may not be very
mysterious, especially to obstetricians, but our emotional responses to it leave
us acting as though it’s one of the most sacred experiences possible. The child
lives! The mind boggles at it. It’s not a miracle, but we respond as though it were,
and so the phrase “miracle of life” is found in almost every language. Every
mother becomes the Blessed Mother and every newborn becomes like the infant
Jesus. Now, to a person who’s had an experience – a spiritual experience with a
personal meaning – like the kind that can happen during near-death
experiences, or a spiritual epiphany, or deep in the depths of meditation, or in
the rapture of prayer, or the kind where someone feels they have found their
purpose in life, the sheer size of the universe means nothing. When a mother is
handed her newborn baby for the first time and cries her joy, feeling that
nothing could ever be so important is the infant in her arms the fact that there are billions and
billions of stars organized into galaxies galactic clusters and even
super clusters of galaxies, becomes
trivial. Nor can you tell her to be amazed at the
seemingly miraculous biological complexity involved in conceiving a
child and then giving birth. To her, the miracle is the love she feels not the
biological processes that stand behind it. To mention them in that moment could
even be insulting. Complexity does not make something sacred, especially for
those who express their sense of the sacred through prayer.
Complexity and the beauty we find in it is an ethos – it’s a mood. It may be
spiritual but it certainly does not define spirituality. The magnificence of
the real world runs deeper for those who engage it through their spirituality. The
way we feel about “factual truth”, whether it appears in science, law courts, or
anywhere else, can’t compete with the states of consciousness that appear in
religion or mysticism and that’s one of the reasons why religious beliefs have
flourished throughout our evolutionary history. A mind in a state of silence
brought on by meditation or the experience of being in God’s
presence is not going to be moved by large numbers – even Googleplexes.
10x10x100 or ten to the 10th power to the hundredth power. An
atheist of the delusion school might argue that these experiences are based
on delusions and that it’s self-evident the truth is better. Of
course, the whole idea of self-evident truth runs contrary to the mindset of
science as all assertions call for evidence. Such an atheist might also
argue that believing only the truth can save you from – this is a favorite skeptical atheist catchphrase – “cognitive
dissonance”. Yes, religions including atheism, offer salvation. The trouble with
this view is that there isn’t any such thing as scientific truth. The major
scientific truths embodied in our dominant theories, like quantum mechanics,
evolution, and relativity, are subject to change. New theories replace and alter older
ones regularly. Tthough the process isn’t so obvious to the general public. Darwin’s original theory has been
challenged and amended by things like punctuation evolution, Baldwinian
evolution, and the Selfish Gene model, again the work of Richard Dawkins. All of
these complimentary the older “survival of the fittest” view, but the picture of
how biological evolution operates has changed considerably since Darwin’s time.
Naturally, anyone who believes in classical Darwinian evolution will
experience cognitive dissonance when confronted by one of these newer and
controversial amendments to the original theory of evolution. Some of them might even lash out at them. Truth is not enough. Spirituality and
religious faith are based on feelings and sensations. These paraphrased words
are repeated from Richard Dawkins “a proper understanding of the
magnificence of the real world conceal the inspirational role religion
has usurped”. Anyone who has ever had a spiritual experience will know that
these are the words of a person who’s never had one. The sense of wonder that comes from
magnificence in the real – meaning physical – world usually includes a sense of
meaningfulness – the feeling that its magnificence “means” something – that its
somehow important. Of course, this feeling is something we project onto the
physical world. Neither a snail nor a star cluster perceives themselves as
magnificent. They are what they are. The magnificence
of the real world, in the sense that one has been saved by freedom from
superstitious delusions, was the focus of another school of atheist thought.
Soviet communism. There, we also heard hymns in praise of rivers, forests, and
yes, factories and mines, in celebration of the magnificence
of the world that surrounded them. Dawkins and Carl Sagan might have been
amazed by different things in the real world than the Soviets celebrated, but when
spiritual beliefs and religious sentiments are thought of as delusional
the only religious sentiments that remain are those of love of nature and
pride in believing that one has been saved from superstition. The soviets
focused on their forests, rivers and plains, while today’s atheists are more
likely to show you pictures of single-cell animals and images from the
Hubble telescope, but both of them will tell you in different ways, that if your
spiritual aspirations go past contemplating the wonders of the natural
world, then something is wrong with your mind. Your beliefs are backward and
history will leave you behind. Interestingly, both modern
skeptical atheists and Communist Party anti-religionists actively agitate
or agitated against religions, though today’s atheists primarily do it online.
I would like to give my thanks to my colleague for pointing out the
similarities between Soviet Communist atheism and the kind we now find in
today’s radical skeptics. If I ever meet Dawkins, I would ask him, after expressing
my honest admiration for his work on The Selfish Gene and the notion of memes, who
religion usurped its inspirational role FROM? He implies that religion acquired its
inspirational role unfairly and that makes no sense to me. There was no one to
steal it from in the early days of our species, when presumably it came into
existence, at least as humans experience it. The idea that there are spiritual
feelings beyond “truth” or being amazed by the physical world, offers a challenge to
the delusion model. If spirituality is based on delusion, then spiritual
feelings become symptoms of a psychiatric disorder. Any feeling that
seems to be an expression of spirituality acted out through spiritual behavior
automatically becomes a symptom; a sign of a pathology. If religion and
spirituality are delusional, then religious people are in the grips of a
psychiatric pathology. If God is a delusion, then the people who believe in
him are at least a little crazy. The
extraordinary claim that everyone but atheists are delusional abandons one
scientific idea – that clinically normal people are, in fact, healthy. When normalcy
includes an average degree of religious faith, atheism especially the assertive
kind, becomes abnormal and may not be so healthy. Mental health can and usually
does include a certain amount of faith in things that are untrue. A touch of
myth and faith can enrich people’s lives. The person who lives without it may not be
very happy among their fellow humans, though they might delight in their own
company. Naturally, skeptics and atheists who
believe in the delusion model try to discredit anything that implies that
religious experiences are within the repertoire of normal repertiore of states
of consciousness. This includes evidence from the God Helmet. Skeptics try to explain religious
experience brought on by drugs as temporary psychosis. They try to explain
near-death experiences as brain malfunctions that happen when the brain
stops working. Often, more spontaneous religious
experiences are explained as epilepsy. When skeptics are confronted by the idea
that religious experiences and faith are part of our survival strategy, they
usually respond with silence. Most of them are more comfortable
opposing religious beliefs based on religious sources. if spirituality is a
part of our evolutionary heritage, then spiritual experiences are normal and
should be expected in some part of the population. Skeptics and atheists are
accustomed to responding to religion with arguments from evolutionary theor.y
They’re not so used to responding to evolutionary arguments that see an
adaptive role for religion. Because of its pivotal role in the debate between
religious and science in what can I call “the Battle of creationism”,
skeptical atheists have come to see evolution has their territory. However
very few of today’s more vocal atheists have any background in anthropology and
often fail to appreciate the role religion played in early evolutionary
history. I would go so far as to say that in the dawn of humanity, there was no
difference between culture and religion. when a skeptical atheist talks about
evolution, they’re talking about biological evolution – in opposition to
the belief that the biological world that surrounds us was created by God.
They rarely take the next step in understanding evolution or human
evolution and begin to look at the evolution of our species and the roles
that belief and disbelief would have played. It’s been argued that the propensity to
hold religious beliefs is based on suggestibility, because suggestibility is
crucial for holding religious beliefs, and religion and spirituality are
crucial parts of our cultures. It may be more useful to consider it as a skill
rather than a trait. Like so many social skills, it can be applied without the
person knowing they’re doing it. Being able to believe in fictional ideas that
both facilitate and motivate adaptive behavior – good, positive, constructive
behavior – would have helped to raise a person’s social rank in our earlier
evolutionary history. The better they observed their religious morality and
ethics, the more respect they would receive from the people around them. More
recently, sharing the adaptive but untrue beliefs of one’s group helps to be
elected to government office. At least, it’s not easy easy for atheists to be
elected in most of the world and many religious men have been elected
to public office, especially in the USA, by touting “family values” which usually
means religious morality. If you lack suggestibility, you might well be more
intelligent than most, but you would also be less imaginative. Above all, this seems
to refer to visual imagination – seeing pictures in your mind, and even in the
clouds. Seeing pictures in the clouds, by the way, is called Paradolia. A lack
of imagination can alienate those who are very imaginative.
Those who find the facts more interesting can seem a bit boring and
flat to the people to those who respond to things more emotionally, or through their imaginatio,n or allow themselves to
be reminded of other unrelated things; looking for indirect associations
that turn things into jokes or finding romantic or spiritual connotations.
Suggestibility draws you into jokes so that you can laugh at the punchline as
much as it contributes to being superstitious. It’s a skill that helps us
interact with other people and keep a shorthand version of the rules of our
culture in our minds within arms reach at all times. Being suggestible helps you
integrate yourself into the culture and the people around you. Being suggestible
helps you accept what other people think as well as thinking for yourself and so
you fit into your culture. That helped us – and everyone around us – to survive in
early evolutionary history. One difference between the two schools of
atheism; the delusional model and the evolutionary one, lies in the way they
explain why people are not all equally spiritual. Why we don’t all have
religious urges and why some have religious and mystical experiences and
others – that is, most people – don’t. understanding the adaptive role of
religious belief is not enough. We also have to look at the role of mystical
experiences in our evolution.

Jean Kelley

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Me. Jingles Posted on August 22, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you for this!

    Reply
  2. E Capers Posted on September 8, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    This is one of the most beautiful thing I've heard on the net. This should be published.

    Reply
  3. Chirag Neb Posted on October 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Dr Murphy, I love the way you speak and what you have to say.

    Reply
  4. Ed Perry Posted on October 22, 2017 at 11:04 am

    You have eloquently expressed my own mumbled, inner ideas.Thank you . I must also echo what many others have told you, you have a wonderful speaking voice, not just intonation but pronunciation. I wish more Americans spoke like you!

    Reply
  5. Nil C. Mazi Posted on November 15, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    You are one one the most inspiring and bright minded people I've ever known. And yes… what a voice!

    Reply
  6. Nick Clutterbuck Posted on December 30, 2019 at 12:56 am

    Thank you!! ❤❤
    The world needs to hear this

    Reply
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