Are Atheists Genetically Damaged?

(Mar 22, 2019 06:06 PM)Yazata Wrote: Couldn't apes say the same thing about human genetic differences from ape DNA? Degenerate, mutant apes, one and all. Skinny hairless things.
It depends on whether the mutation confers survival fitness, like intelligence over that of apes. When humans can capture apes, or even drive them to extinction, it's pretty clear which one has a survival advantage. IOW, there's a difference between mutations that confer fitness and ones that don't. Whether it's adaptive or maladaptive. No one has yet to argue that atheism confers any survival fitness.

Quote:I think that some of these recent theories about genetics, cognitive science and religion are guilty of the fundamental error of imagining that DNA encodes particular beliefs (like belief in God, whatever 'God' means.) There's an idea that human beings have a theism gene or something and that believing in God has some evolutionary selection value.
Does anyone seriously ascribe beliefs to genes, or is that a straw man? Most believers certainly do not, as they ascribe belief to the soul, rather than any sort of material determinism. So that argument may just be a case of the a-theistic trying to explain away rather than explain.
The cooperation founded upon religious belief has obvious survival value, and as such does have a selection value...even if only sexual selection.

Quote:I think that a better way of thinking of it is that genetics preconditions us to think in ways that lead to religious belief as kind of an unintended consequence.
That's a cute hypothesis, but unless or until someone comes up with a way to test it, it's just conjecture.

It seems to be a way for the a-theistic to brush off the obvious survival benefits of theism as accidental, as if anything in evolution isn't. IOW, it's a distinction without difference.
Whether we are directly, naturally geared to be theistic or whether we are only predisposed as a side effect, evolution doesn't actually "intend" any of it. What traits randomly arise are reinforced or not based only on their survival value...or lack of counter-survival effects.

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