God’s Software June 3, 2008Posted by Dwight Furrow in Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts, Science.
There is a good deal of interest in evolutionary explanations of religious belief. This research project is using computer simulations to mimic an evolutionary process.
The computer model begins with assumption that some people have a genetic disposition to communicate unverifiable information to others and then compares the reproductive success of people who communicate real information with those who pass on unreal information.
“Under most scenarios, “believers in the unreal” went extinct. But when Dow [the writer of the program] included the assumption that non-believers would be attracted to religious people because of some clear, but arbitrary, signal, religion flourished. ”
‘” Somehow the communicators of unreal information are attracting others to communicate real information to them,’ Dow says, speculating that perhaps the non-believers are touched by the faith of the religious”.
So what is this clear signal? Why would non-believers have been touched by the faith of the religious? Could it perhaps be the sense of psychological certainty possessed by believers, facing conditions of real uncertainty, that made non-believers willing to communicate with believers.