This is why, according to the Theory of Evolution, religion is supposed to exist.
I was thinking about evolution, in the shower.
You know how some people ask why we still have monkeys around, if monkeys evolved into humans?
It’s because of a parallel process. Some primeval monkeys evolved into modern monkeys, some primeval monkeys evolved into modern man.
Right. And some species went extinct along the way. Some branches reached evolutionary dead ends.
Neanderthals. They reached an evolutionary dead end and disappeared. Their parallel species, Cro-Magnons, became the early Homo sapiens.
So it got me thinking about how some people wonder why religion still exists, if science evolved out of philosophy, which itself evolved out of religion.
Ah, parallel evolution.
Right. Ancient religion evolved into modern science on one hand and ancient religion evolved into modern religion on the other hand.
Religion can evolve?
Sure. Old Testament to New. Patriarchy to equality. Racism to human rights. Slavery to abolition. Superstition to scientific inquiry. It happens all the time, whether people realise it or not. Or admit it or not. But, you know what?
Just as some species reach evolutionary dead ends, so do some ideas. Chemistry and alchemy sprang from the same branch. One reached a dead end, while the other has become the booming industry of our age.
And how about religion?
Some religions have actually died out, except as historic relics; just as Latin is a historic relic of language.
Off the top of my head, the Egyptian gods. The Worldwide Church of God. The ancient Incan religions. They reached dead ends. Many cults die out after a while.
But many are still going on strong.
If you apply the principles of evolutionary biology to ideas — memes, as they call them — then these memes that have survived survive for a reason. If they survived, they deserved to survive. But some will die, eventually.
Some Christian orders were formed for warfare, to defend the Holy Land, for example, to minister by the sword. These orders have become extinct completely, or in all but name, because they reached evolutionary dead ends. There are not enough Christians in existence who believe in conversion by violence, to sustain these orders. So they died.
How about Muslim jihad groups?
Most modern Muslims may condemn religious violence, but there are still enough who support it, that such groups can exist still. The day will come when Islamic terrorism will become extinct, just as Christian crusaders have gone extinct.
I hope you’re right.
So do I. But the point is, evolution has a self-ordering force to it. Whether you think God is behind it, or pure chance, it doesn’t alter the fact of the results.
So, what do you think is going to happen?
I can’t speak for the whole world, but I predict, by looking at the evolutionary tree, that religion that denies science will eventually go extinct, as will science that denies religion.
The fact that religion continues to evolve and exist means that it’s supposed to exist. By Darwin’s own theory. If you agree that Darwin’s theory can be applied to memes as well as genes.
A science that pretends religion is not a phenomenon — or worse, hopes and believes that it should not be a phenomenon — is ignoring the evidence, and not very scientific at all.
Sounds about right. What about religion that denies science?
Religion is supposed to concern itself with the truth. If religion denies the physical evidence of an old earth, for example, and insists that it’s six thousand years old, it’s not being truthful, and thus not very religious, is it?
No. I mean, yes. I mean, you know what I mean.
Yes. That’s why I predict that the forms of religion that ignore science and the forms of science that deny religion will die off and be superseded by more evolved forms of religion and science.
Not one unified system of thought?
It is all one unified system of thought, as the physical planet is one unified ecosystem of myriad organisms. The force of biological evolution trends toward diversity when it’s healthy. Likewise for the world of thoughts, which is really just our attempt to see the real world as it really is. Multiple systems of assumptions, philosophy and inquiry will continue to evolve and bring us closer and closer to the truth, whatever it is.
Multiple -logies point to the Logos that we’re all searching for.
Originally published at planbpilgrims.com.