Joined: Feb. 2006
|Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Mar. 12 2007,11:33)|
|And I'm skeptical that most of these mutations will be beneficial or even neutral, because they might be working against the historical selective forces that "chose" religious societies over nonreligious ones.|
It's not clear that religiousness was ever directly selected for. Didn't you read the recent posts on spandrels?
|Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Mar. 12 2007, 15:08)|
|The question becomes, "How can we minimise harm?" I don't know the answer either, but a society predicated on an ethical, life-affirming philosophy seems like a good place to start.|
Religion is not necessarily a requirement for such a philosophy.
|warfare for instance. Have nations fought each other for religious reasons? Certainly. But if your hypothesis was true, we should have seen a net reduction in bloodshed in the more secular 20th Century. |
Only if you assume there were no confounding factors. That's hardly the case. Societies and technologies have both changed enormously since the 1900s. It's ludicrous to ignore those changes and only cite increased secularism.
I doubt you could ever tease out all the confounding variables, but if you were going to try, you'd do better to compare more versus less secular societies in a given time period. At least then you could attempt to control for relative wealth, technology, etc.
If you take that approach today, my guess is the more religious societies will not look so good by comparison, but I freely admit it's purely a guess.