God, QED

This week’s Economist has a long article about a European science project designed to investigate the mechanisms and worth of religion. The project aims to look at how religious thought might manifest in the brain, and whether religious behavior has any evolutionary benefit. There does appear to be a reasonable amount of evidence that belief in God makes people behave in a more socially responsible manner. The article also notes:

Dr Wilson himself has studied the relationship between social insecurity and religious fervour, and discovered that, regardless of the religion in question, it is the least secure societies that tend to be most fundamentalist.

Which suggests that the best way of combating fundamentalism might be to make the people who are prone to fundie views better off.

Sadly the scientists are no further forward in solving the age-old dilemma of determining how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

One thought on “God, QED

  1. Even if I never seriously advocated parachuting free television sets into Islamic countries as a better investment than military action, I can see in hindsight they wouldn’t have used them to watch Bonanza in translation, as Egyptians reportedly loved to do in the 1960s.

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