Friday, April 21, 2006

The Capacity for Religious Experience Is An Evolutionary Adaptation to Warfare?

I am still more than happy with DS Wilson's explanation but this hypothesis is very intriguing:
Putting all of this together, it appears likely that the capacity for religious experience and the capacity for warfare have constituted a coevolutionary spiral that has intensified with the transitions from a hunting/gathering existence through subsistence agriculture to the evolution of the modern nation-state. As pointed out earlier, there is a correlation between the type of intergroup violence and the ecological context within which that violence occurs. Generally speaking, raiding/rustling is correlated with hunting/gathering and pastoralism, militia warfare with village agriculture, and professional warfare with urban society and the nation-state. There is a corresponding progression in the basic form of religious experience and practice: animism is most common among hunter-gatherers, while polytheism is more common among agriculturalists, and monotheism is most common in societies organized as nation-states. This is not to say there are no exceptions to this correlation. However, the fact that such a correlation can even be made points to the underlying ecological dynamics driving the evolution of subsistence patterns, patterns of warfare, and types of religious experience.
What do you think?

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 6:47 PM | permalink | (3 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink