Evolutionary origin of religions There is general agreement among scientists that a propensity to engage in religious behavior evolved early in human history. However, there is disagreement on the exact mechanisms that drove the evolution of the religious mind. There are two schools of thought.
Readers with little interest in religion can be assured that the sections on Evolution, Games, and Morality are not somehow compromised by the presence of the small minority of evolution of religion papers.
I found Evolution, Games, and God highly useful and was delighted to better understand the various, sometimes conflicting, positions presented. As the editors say, this book "aims to provide a compact and thought-provoking account of the scholarly advances and disagreements in this intriguing field of study, and to serve as a platform for debate.
Perhaps some readers will find them useful. We are told in the introduction that "Cooperation is a form of working together in which one individual pays a cost in terms of fitness, whether genetic or cultural and another gains a benefit as a result. The cooperation definition is more accurately called "costly cooperation".
Other forms of cooperation, such as mutualism and coordination in which no one necessarily pays a cost, may have nothing to do with morality and leaving them out of the definition of "cooperation" is confusing.
A definition like "Altruism is a form of costly cooperation in which an individual acts without consideration of future benefits" is much better tailored for science of morality discussions.
It avoids nonsense conclusions such as: Costly cooperation strategies solve a cross-species universal dilemma: This dilemma is inherent in our physical reality, independent of any biology or mathematics, and therefore morality's actual ultimate source.
Descriptively moral behaviors such as those motivated by empathy and advocated by enforced cultural moral norms are most revealingly understood as just different solutions to this universal dilemma.
I would have liked to have seen a good discussion of the necessary and central role of punishment in maintaining virtually all costly cooperation strategies as the game theorist Herb Gintis likes to point out.
Such a discussion would make it much easier to understand the common selection force cooperation benefits responsible for the evolution of the emotion guilt which provides efficient internal punishment for moral violationsindignation provides motivation to punish other's bad behaviorcultural moral codes when internalized, violations trigger guilt and synchronized group indignationreligion supernatural detection and punishment of bad behaviorand rule of law formally organized and authorized community detection and punishment of standardized definitions of bad behavior.
The book's moral philosophy papers largely focus on how the science of morality enables us to better understand moral intuitions which are arguably the grounding basis for much of moral philosophy.
I found it curious that there was no discussion of the simplest and most obvious means of making the science of morality culturally useful. Perhaps it was considered too obvious to discuss how the science of morality can reveal the best strategies for increasing the benefits of cooperation in groups the evolutionary function of morality.
These comments focus on my disagreements with the text.
But disagreements are fully consistent with the book's goals. Those goals were to coherently present well-informed positions in the field to prompt discussions and "to serve as a platform for debate.The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 7: the genetics of Native Americans Ancient Beringians.
This week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts and Stitcher) Razib Khan and Spencer Wells discuss the genetics and history of Native Americans, from the icy shores of the Arctic and to the frigid windswept plains of Patagonia, and all places in between.A 15, years story of migration and settlement.
To ask other readers questions about Evolution, Games, and God, please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Evolution, Games, and God This is an absolutely fascinating book. It addresses the ineffable, in one sense.
The book explores evolutionary theory from several perspectives--scientific /5(5). Evolution, Games, and God. The Principle of Cooperation. By met periodically for three years at Harvard under the leadership of theologian Sarah Coakley and mathematical biologist Martin Nowak.
The book’s purpose is to show that evolutionary processes can give rise to many forms of cooperation.
The vast background of evolutionary. Charles Darwin was born in , seven years after his grandfather Erasmus had died. Charles grew up during a conservative period in British and American society, shortly after the Napoleonic Wars.
At a time of unprecedented expansion in the life sciences, evolution is the one theory that transcends all of biology. Any observation of a living system must ultimately be interpreted in the context of its evolution.
This is strikingly beautiful – one of the best I’ve read from you. One somewhat rambling thought I took away from this post, oddly enough, is that – in the face of a potential superintelligence – the status quo is not the only alternative to trying to build a Friendly AI.