Dismissing Religion by Evolving It
Religion evolved, and a computer program shows it. This is the claim made by an article on New Scientist. “God may work in mysterious ways, but a simple computer program may explain how religion evolved,” remarked Ewen Callaway with sweeping implications for the majority of earth’s population.
James Dow, an evolutionary anthropologist at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, wrote a program called “Evogod” that supposedly demonstrates how “believers in the unreal” spread in a population of early humans. He began by assuming that the desire to spread religious information to others has a genetic basis. The rest falls out of the software:
The model assumes, in other words, that a small number of people have a genetic predisposition to communicate unverifiable information to others. They passed on that trait to their children, but they also interacted with people who didn’t spread unreal information.
The model looks at the reproductive success of the two sorts of people – those who pass on real information, and those who pass on unreal information.
Under most scenarios, “believers in the unreal” went extinct. But when Dow included the assumption that non-believers would be attracted to religious people because of some clear, but arbitrary, signal, religion flourished.
“Somehow the communicators of unreal information are attracting others to communicate real information to them,” Dow says, speculating that perhaps the non-believers are touched by the faith of the religious.”
Dow thus feels he has demonstrated that the transmission of “unreal information,” such as belief in an afterlife, has adaptive value and will be preserved by natural selection.
Richard Sosis, another evolutionary anthropologist (U Connecticut) who has also speculated about the evolution of religion, believes that “the forces that maintain religion in modern humans could be very different from those that promoted its emergence, thousands of years ago.”
For previous entries on the evolution of religion, see 09/25/2006, 02/02/2006, 03/16/2005, and commentaries from 08/16/2002 and 04/23/2003
In spite of the movie Expelled, and years of sophisticated criticisms of evolutionary theory, the Darwinists continue to flaunt their stupidity in public. We don’t persist in the tedious task of unraveling their tangled logic with any hope of changing them. They are incorrigible, hooked and stoned on Darwin beyond recovery. For our sophisticated and discriminating readers, in hopes of empowering the paradigm revolution, let’s do the analysis.
Always start by looking for pertinent questions to ask. To an evolved monkey-brain, what is the difference between real information and unreal information? What is information in the first place? What is reality? Can a theoretical system built on chance and necessity include abstract concepts and laws of logic? (Remember, without laws of logic, you can prove anything, and if anything is true, nothing is true – including evolutionary theory.) How can a genetic trait produce abstract concepts such as information? What kind of genetic trait attracts the members of the population who do not have the trait? What is an evolutionary force? Can you write an equation for it? How can I tell a selection force that maintains unreal information from one that causes real information to “emerge”?
Good questions just warm the discussion up. Next, test the evolutionists’ logic on their own assumptions. They are assuming that their theorizing is immune from the same selection forces. That’s a no-no. Inconsistency and arbitrariness are two sins in logic. If you commit either, you can prove anything, even opposite propositions, therefore you prove nothing. Let’s see if evolutionary theory itself survives Dow’s Law. He said that selection pressures on a genetic trait caused a population to wish to spread unreal information. We observe that many Darwinists are eager to spread their ideas with evangelistic fervor. Could we propose that the Darwin-dogma trait is genetic, that it emerged from selection pressure, and that evolutionary theory consists of unreal information? Indeed we could. The evolutionist has no basis to define reality, information, logic, truth or evidence. He’s just doing what selection forces in his animal past are making him do. He cannot stand outside the world of the evolved like some all-wise Yoda on a platform of neutrality and wisdom, observing what the silly humans are doing.
Once you diagnose the Yoda complex in the evolutionist, the argument is over. It becomes obvious his theory is self-refuting. If it refutes itself, guess what! It is refuted – it is necessarily false. Dow’s own theory cannot survive itself. The gig is up. Salvation requires repenting of this sin of arbitrariness and inconsistency, and accepting the premise that at least some religious beliefs (certainly not all) might be real. Why? Because meaning requires an ultimate reference point. Reality requires a reality-Maker. Information requires an intelligent Communicator. Logic requires a Thinker who is neither arbitrary nor inconsistent. Truth requires a truth-Teller. Only with those presuppositions can one reason inductively and deductively. Only with those presuppositions is there a standard by which to make sense of the world. The evolutionary world view does not provide a pole star; it wobbles uncontrollably and chaotically. What’s up one moment is down the next.
For overkill, let’s remind the evolutionist that writing programs requires intelligent design, and human designers are subject to bias (see 04/26/2008 commentary). Dr. Dow conveniently defined his parameters to guarantee the outcome his bias preferred. Could his critics design a computer program that shows Darwinism emerging and becoming established in a population? Certainly. Could they decide that Darwinism represents unreal information? Why not? Sounds like fun.
A perceptive reader offered these additional thoughts:
The analysis assumes that those first promulgated the ‘unreal info” had no real experience–in other words they were liars. The moral standards of religious people either do or do not support their claims.
In the case of Judaism and Christianity, the high moral standard–perhaps the highest moral standard on earth–that developed at exactly the same time and by the exact same people who supposedly developed the “unreal info” contradicts the assumption that they were liars.
It is more likely that Moses, for example, when he came down the mountain with the Ten Commandments described the truth about what he saw and heard than that he fabricated it. If he had been lying, he quickly would have been exposed by the multitude that didn’t like his standards very much.
So you see that selection pressure in a population would actually work against someone commanding them to not bear false witness. Let’s ask Dr. Dow if he agrees that bearing false witness is wrong. Did that standard evolve? Does it ever change? Don’t let him appeal to the Ten Commandments. He doesn’t believe in them. When you cut off the Judeo-Christian grounding assumptions (truth, morals, logic, absolutes) from the evolutionary belief network, it short circuits. When you force Darwinism to run on its own operating system, without a proper BIOS (Bible input-output system), every algorithm produces a blue screen of death.