Sunday, March 04, 2007

Did you make mankind after we made you?

I was enthralled by this article in Sunday's NYT Magazine. It's not about whether there is a god, but rather why people BELIEVE there is a god. Was there some evolutionary benefit to belief in a supernatural being? Or is god just a byproduct of some other more obviously beneficial trait? Incidentally, they call these byproducts "spandrels", which is kinda awesome. Where two arches (functional) meet, they form a spandrel (which can be pretty and decorative, but is not necessarily functional). Check it out if you're so inclined. Fascinating.

PS Yes, I'm a (barely) 40something man who has never lived outside the Midwest and I read the New York Times. I know. Stereotypically gay much?


jason said...

If you dug that, you may also want to check out this Atlantic story.

Michael said...

That's interesting and more "spandrel-centric" than the NYT piece. It does make understandable the near universality of religion. It's hard-wired into us.

Personally, it supports my feeling that it's harder to be an atheist than a religious zealot. It goes against our nature!

Ur-spo said...

CG Jung went so far to say in a now famous quotation (when asked if he believed there was a God) "Oh, I don't have to believe, I know".
Which he meant man's longing for the Self was a psychological phenomena towards connecting with God. Well.

Peter from Amsterdam said...

Michael you are not the only who reads the NYT in the Midwest, I know of a few others. BTW they are all gay so you have something in common.

Michael said...

ur-spo, I'm confused. So what was Jung saying?

Peter, welcome, and I guess that means I'm a cliche', just not unique! ;-)