Quote for the day
From page 9 of Natural Reflections:
…contemporary research and theory suggest that the cognitive tendencies that give rise to much of what we call religious behavior, from the positing of superior invisible beings to the performance of ritual sacrifices, are indistinguishable from the capacities and dispositions that give rise to what we call culture more generally. Thus it appears that we could not eliminate the conditions responsible for religion and, with it, the recurrent emergence of some of its most troublesome features without risking the loss of much that we value in culture and, with it, the conditions for human existence.
Another point may accordingly be added. Given the fundamentally ambivalent operations of cognitive conservatism as described here, it is not surprising that lists of the individual costs of religious commitment and of the many crimes against humanity committed under its sway can always be countered with equally long and impressive lists of the personal benefits of religious faith and of the many achievements for humanity performed by those inspired by it. Not is it surprising, given the demonstrated general power of cognitive conservatism, that the final tallies in such cost-benefit assessments appear to have everything to do with the prior cognitive commitments of those doing the tallying.