Science Daily reports “A three-year international research project, directed by two academics at the University of Oxford, finds that humans have natural tendencies to believe in gods and an afterlife.”
As my friend added, “This research was quite costly – they could have saved money by reading the Bible!”
I wonder how the New Atheists will take this research. There are two possible logical spins on it I can see, if you take the research’s conclusions at face value. You could say, “Belief is hard-wired – that’s why it’s so hard to reprogram people to think rationally!” But this avoids the key issue of why it would be hard-wired. That leads to the second possible response: “Belief is hard-wired; which is exactly what you’d expect if we were beings who were deliberately created to worship”.
If the “why” question is answered by the New Atheists with the “selective advantage” gambit, then you’ve got the horns of a dilemma: it means that so-called “rational thinking” could actually be dangerous, and Dawkins et. al. are doing humanity a dis-service by promoting it. On the other hand, if it conferred no selective advantage, then it shouldn’t be there (which would cast doubt on the reality of the evolution of the mind via natural selection).
What do you think?