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Esbarrei com um texto interssantíssimo acerca desta intrigante interseção:

Medical writer Tom Rees devotes his blog Epiphenom to the scientific study of religion. Last week he examined a study on the relationship between intelligence and religious belief. Published in Social Psychology Quarterly, this study by Satoshi Kanazawa replicated the results of several earlier studies in showing that strong religious belief was correlated with lower intelligence. In this case, adolescents who scored higher on intelligence tests were less likely to be religious as adults.

But Rees says Kanazawa’s study goes beyond those earlier studies to arrive at a potential explanation of why less-intelligent people are more religious: Intelligence evolved in order for people to adapt to novel situations. Kanazawa’s analysis of two data sets found that intelligence is also correlated to political beliefs (liberals tend to be more intelligent), and some moral beliefs such as attitudes about promiscuity (smarter males believe promiscuity is bad). It’s not correlated to attitudes about things like children, family, and friends, that don’t change much over generations.

Eis uma bela pergunta:

But if religion is associated with low intelligence, and intelligence helps us handle novel situations, why did humans become religious at all?

São duas as teorias:

Myers writes that there are two competing theories explaining how religion evolved. One says that religion itself gave humans some survival-related advantage, so that early religious humans survived while their non-religious competitors did not. The other says that religion is a by-product of some other trait that is useful. Which theory is correct?

Eu achei essa parte interessantíssima pois me lembra uma palestra do TED (que eu não me lembro de jeito nenhum) sobre evolução. O cara falava que o queixo não tem nenhuma vantagem para o homem, e que ele existe como um preço a se pagar por alguma outra função que a evolução nos brindou. Seria um efeito colateral, digamos assim.

Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Marc Hauser address this question in a study published this year in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. The authors argue that cooperation is the key. Cooperation is clearly beneficial for human social groups in hunting, defense, child-rearing, and many other survival behaviors. Religion, they say, is a way of reinforcing the principles that join members of a group. Brembs points out that observing a religious ritual like a rain dance allows communities to identify loyal members and punish those who don’t seem to be contributing to the group.

O mais recente estudo sobre a ciência da religião apresenta uma outra teoria interessante, embora eu considere a teoria aí de cima bastante plausível.

I’m a little more convinced by Linden’s explanation of religious behavior. He claims it’s a result of the natural tendency of the human cognitive system to fill in gaps. For instance, patients whose brains have been damaged so that their two hemispheres cannot communicate with one another will consistently fabricate elaborate explanations for why one isolated hemisphere acted in a particular way. Similarly, the human visual system works by preserving the illusion that we process an entire scene at once, when in fact we are only able to focus on a tiny portion of our visual field. We simply and subconsciously fill in the rest with our imagination, believing it to be manifest truth. Such may also be the case with religion.

O fechamento é foda, e me lembra uma outra apresentação, que mais uma vez não façco idéia qual seja, em que o maluco diz que tão fervorosos quanto os religiosos são os cientistas, que também acreditam em coisas que são impossíveis de se provar:

Linden ultimately argues that these beliefs are not incompatible with science, and that science itself is full of beliefs that, like religious beliefs, cannot be proved.

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