Beliefs In Ghosts And Gods Might Be Based In Early Evolution Of Brain



The Nature Spirits told me to share this with you.

Notions of gods arise in all human societies, from all powerful and all-knowing deities to simple forest spirits. A recent method of examining religious thought and behaviour links their ubiquity and the similarity of our beliefs to the ways in which human mental processes were adapted for survival in prehistoric times. It rests on a couple of observations about human psychology. First, when an event happens, we tend to assume that a living thing caused it. In other words, we assume agency behind that event. If you think of the sorts of events that might have happened in prehistoric times, it’s easy to see why a bias towards agency would be useful. A rustling of a bush or the snapping of a twig could be due to wind. But far better to assume it’s a lion and run away. The survivors who had this tendency to more readily ascribe agency to an event passed their genes down the generations, increasingly hard-wiring this way of making snap decisions into the brain. This is not something that people need to learn. It occurs quickly and automatically.

via Our ancient caveman instincts may explain our belief in gods and ghosts.

16 Comments on "Beliefs In Ghosts And Gods Might Be Based In Early Evolution Of Brain"

  1. erte4wt4etrg | May 21, 2014 at 8:27 pm |

    How hopelessly reductionistic

  2. BuzzCoastin | May 21, 2014 at 9:10 pm |

    I’d like to know what makes modern humans believe in A god
    despite the vast collection of defrocked gods from past eons
    and the lack of unambiguous modern communication to the sheeple

    • VaudeVillain | May 21, 2014 at 10:47 pm |

      Virtually all of them believe in a different version of A god… pretty much the same as where we started, we’re just more aware of which A god other people believe in.

      • BuzzCoastin | May 22, 2014 at 12:56 am |

        the Hawaiian People gave up their gods
        torn down their idols & desecrsted their temples
        after years of being subjected to western usurpers
        causing them to collectively realize their gods were impotent

    • Really man? You’ve never explored the “The antipodes of the mind” via various entheogens? Or else you have and still believe there is no god?
      I hate the word “god,” btw.

      • BuzzCoastin | May 22, 2014 at 1:02 am |

        There was something formless and perfect
        before the universe was born.
        It is serene. Empty.
        Solitary. Unchanging.
        Infinite. Eternally present.
        It is the mother of the universe.
        For lack of a better name,
        I call it the Tao.

  3. I’ve encountered a goddess in my travels.

  4. Rhoid Rager | May 21, 2014 at 9:59 pm |

    And that’s how the tiger got its stripes, Mowgli!

    • Always liked Kipling’s work, even if he was a colonial rat bastard.
      But yeah, the above is simply a postmodern Just So Story designed to sooth the minds of the masses.
      SCIENCE! Striking a blow for reason and sanity.

  5. Echar Lailoken | May 21, 2014 at 10:07 pm |

    The new fairy ring is the internet, the new ghosts are conspiracies. If you fall asleep it can take you for a walk through the woods, and disperse like smoke when poked only to spread out in another direction.

  6. Grew up in a house that was occupied by some sort of independent intelligence. It’s antics were witnessed by too many people over the years to say it was simply a product of early evolution.

    Science is the new Church, and scientists are the new high priests. Just say no to naive realism.

    Looks like we’re in Vico Gambattista’s Final Age.

    • Gordon Klock | May 22, 2014 at 3:54 pm |

      Some Hindus say that this is the last throes of the ‘Kali-Yuga’,(dangerously ignored, delinquent & decaying technologies being a sure sign,) & I also was raised in a “haunted” house…..

  7. heinrich6666 | May 22, 2014 at 11:53 am |

    In other news: Belief that “Beliefs In Ghosts And Gods Might Be Based In Early Evolution Of Brain” might be caused by recent evolution of the brain.

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