My personal reflections on this blog take inspiration from the Bahá’í teachings.

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Is religion adaptive?

An interesting discussion has been taking place on the Migrations blog on the question: is religion adaptive? The point of view being explored is whether the capacity for religious experience is an evolutionary adaptation, and assuming that it is, whether it is still useful. Dan, the "owner" of the blog, feels that religion has had its day. I've offered some observations to the contrary.


Dan said...

Thanks again for the comments and thoughtful analysis! I really liked this section, which you left in one of your later comments, and nicely frames the point:

I don’t think we will ever be able to get away entirely from myth and treat all levels of reality with complete objectivity. We are never going to know enough about everything to reduce it all to scientific language. So our hunches and intuitions will still need to be expressed in allusive, mythical language. Also, stories, poems, the visual arts, etc., express perceptions that really can’t be put in scientific language. They are nevertheless objective representations in their own way, inasmuch as they make explicit the subjective experience of the artist, making it accessible to others.

John Bryden said...

Dan, thank you for your kind words. A lot of the ideas I've put forward on your blog's discussion have come from my reading of William Hatcher's philosophical studies on Baha'ullah's concept of the relationship between science and religion, and related subjects. Hatcher's last book before he passed away in 1995 is available for download here:

His collection of essays, "Logic and Logos", is also very good.

Phillipe Copeland said...

Hi John, I just tripped over your blog and realized that you have linked to Baha'i Thought. Thanks for doing that. I can see that we have some common interests and look forward to hearing your thoughts about religion and sharing some of my own.

All the best to you brother.

John Bryden said...

Thanks for the friendly greeting, Phillipe. Your blog is certainly lively and interesting! Best wishes to you.

Dan said...

Hi John,
It's been a few months, but if you're still interested in this topic, I've posted an essay on it:

Religion and Ethnocentrism: Is Religion Adaptive?

If you're interested, I would enjoy your feedback! In the meantime, I hope all is well with you.