The Origins of Religion

See this Secular Right thread.

My thoughts?

Paranoia.

When it comes to pattern detection, accuracy isn’t always the best thing. If you’re unsure whether that shape in the tall grass is a trick of light and shadow, or a lurking tiger, which side should you come down on? Overreacting to moving grass is likely to have less-worse consequences than ignoring a tiger, so we tend to see tigers where there aren’t any.

Why might it be important to have hypersensitive purpose-detection systems? My guess is that, in a social milieu where your interests don’t always match those of the schemers around you, it’s so important to be alert to the slightest sign of a plot that constantly jumping at shadows is an acceptable trade-off.

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3 Responses to “The Origins of Religion”

  1. Sounds reasonable.

    Also sounds like a just-so story.

  2. I’ve heard that before. Perhaps from Pinker?

  3. I think it’s a robust concept. Paranoia seems like over-compensation to account for incomplete information in our pattern detection systems. Every known unknown is a potential threat, and reacting to everyone of them up to a certain threshold is healthier than ignoring them.

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