27th January 2012

“One hypothesis for the origin of religion is that it's a kind of 'costly signaling' – a way for people to prove their loyalty to the group by participating in complex rituals and extravagant shows of devotion. But there's an under-appreciated danger to this: when everyone in a community already follows a strict interpretation of faith, religious belief will have a tendency to spiral out of control into extremism, as group members go to greater and greater lengths to express their piety.”

Adam Lee

5 Responses to “27th January 2012”

  1. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Extremism? What like Mecca, the Vatican, or the promised land? Like wearing of the burqa, or those silly curls of the Hasidic. or the Pope’s phallic hat?

    Expressing piety like bombing buses, burning the other guys book, these kinds of expression?

    Mother Teresa telling the poor “don’t use condems”. Newsflash: Faith is off the rails!

  2. Defiantnonbeliever Says:

    I like the quote, and wonder what other hypothesizes might be and how they might be evaluated.

    1) Based on no evidence I say x
    2) oh yeah well I say x+1
    3) you two are liberals it’s x+2 and since y is against x it should be suppressed
    4) nonsense we all know x is wonderful but given the grave threat of y, I say x squared, and drop the y as irrational
    5) x cubed!
    6) x is all knowing and everywhere into infinity
    7) I love x, everyone loves x, y must die…

  3. Jeff Says:

    Both the quote and DNB’s response at 9:08 are both positive feedback loops. Stimulus X causes response Y which increases X which then increases Y into infinity.

    In sound systems, it causes that annoying screech until the sound man turns the volume down. In humans, it causes addiction. In religions, it causes violence. In economics, it causes the boom/bust cycle (AKA bubbles).

  4. R J Says:

    …………. ” express their PIETY ” ????????????????

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!!!!!

  5. Atheist MC Says:

    Adam’s blog Daylight Atheism is one of the best written in the atheosphere IMHO. So I thought I’d post a link.