Evolution of Faith

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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HappyProletariat
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Evolution of Faith

Post by HappyProletariat » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:27 pm

I've heard this topic discussed before on the news and in personal discussion. Most recently, in the documentary Ape Genius, they discussed what "held chimpanzee's back." One of the causes provided was that apes are able to copy and imitate, but they are not able to learn; furthermore, it doesn't appear that the are able cumulate on their skills and tools. Humans, on the other hand, seems like sponges. We are not only able to copy, but learn and build on that knowledge. However, this ability for humans to absorb information may also be a cause of faith.

In the documentary they showed tests comparing chimps to human children (about 6 years old if I remember correctly). They were given an opaque box with some pointless "locks" (not knowing that they were pointless) that they have to push with a tool and at the end they got candy or food. The chimps and the children both followed the steps to get the food in the same manner. In the next test, they were given a transparent box with the same locks. This time those locks could be clearly seen to be pointless and all they had to do was open the little door to get the food. The chimps skipped all the needless steps to get the food, but surprisingly, all the children followed the same steps of undoing the pointless locks before opening the door to get the food.

Getting to my main point; human children accept things that are told to them by authority figures instead of being critical. This appears to be why most people keep the same faith that they grow up with as a child, and why children accept faith. As Richard Dawkins has said, if you told a child to not go by the river because their are alligators in it, any child who look at that scientifically would most likely be in danger. However, we all see the benefits of critical thinking in our daily lives and through our studies. So my question is: does faith evolve as a beneficial cause of evolution or is faith merely a byproduct of evolution?
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."
-Bertrand Russell

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alextemplet
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Post by alextemplet » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:32 pm

This has been a hotly debated topic for quite some time. With regards to your study, was it only the human children who were six years old or the chimps as well? I ask because chimps mature faster, and it might not be fair to compare adult chimps with juvenile humans. While human children do tend to accept what they're told on blind faith, human adults tend to be much more inquisitive and able to learn things on their own. So perhaps chimps display the same traits, just going through the stages faster.
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Post by mcar » Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:13 pm

I see that conditioning plays a role why we tend to follow or do things unconsciously at the same time.
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