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Excellent BeautyThe Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World$
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Eric Dietrich

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171021

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171021.001.0001

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Justifying the Ways of God to Man via Evolution

Justifying the Ways of God to Man via Evolution

(p.51) Five Justifying the Ways of God to Man via Evolution
Excellent Beauty

Eric Dietrich

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines recent scientific attempts to explain religion as just another natural, biological aspect of being human, by proposing an evolutionary theory of the existence of religion. Its main consequence is that religion is a natural human phenomenon like learning and speaking a language or like making music. The theory is that, for very good evolutionary reasons, humans overrecognize agents, and that human beings have a capacity to produce interesting explanations. Finally, for good memory resource reasons, our memory favors memorable combinations, which can often be weird (since weirdness is memorable). Combining the production of interesting explanations with remembering weird combinations gives us our penchant for producing and remembering weird explanations. Combining this with our hyperactive agent detection device gives us our fiction-generating device.

Keywords:   evolutionary theory, religion, fiction-generating device, human phenomenon, memory resource

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