A origem da religião: um sub-produto da evolução

sexta-feira, fevereiro 19, 2010

Professor Rethinks Origins of Religion
Religion may be by-product of moral intuitions, Professor Hauser says
Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A new study finds that religion may have evolved as a by-product of non-religious, cognitive processes, dispelling a competing theory that religion served as an adaptation to help unrelated individuals cooperate.

The findings, published Monday in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, suggests that people’s gut instinct for what is right and wrong operates independently of religious upbringing.

Harvard psychology professor Marc D. Hauser, who co-authored the study, argues that from an evolutionary perspective, cognitive mechanisms involved in moral decision-making precede organized religion.

“Morality is far more ancient than religion,” Hauser said. “Most, if not all, of the psychological ingredients that enter into religion originally evolved to solve more general problems of social interaction.”

Hauser claimed the findings help explain recent studies indicating that people’s moral intuitions vary little across different religions.

Read more here/Leia mais aqui: The Harvard Crimson


Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 08 February 2010



The origins of religion : evolved adaptation or by-product?

Ilkka Pyysiäinen1, and Marc Hauser2

1 Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, P.O. Box 4, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

2 Departments of Psychology and Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA


Considerable debate has surrounded the question of the origins and evolution of religion. One proposal views religion as an adaptation for cooperation, whereas an alternative proposal views religion as a by-product of evolved, non-religious, cognitive functions. We critically evaluate each approach, explore the link between religion and morality in particular, and argue that recent empirical work in moral psychology provides stronger support for the by-product approach. Specifically, despite differences in religious background, individuals show no difference in the pattern of their moral judgments for unfamiliar moral scenarios. These findings suggest that religion evolved from pre-existing cognitive functions, but that it may then have been subject to selection, creating an adaptively designed system for solving the problem of cooperation.


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