Thursday, December 20, 2012

Would Tarzan Believe in God?

Would Tarzan believe in God? Conditions for the emergence of religious belief

Konika Banerjee & Paul Bloom, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:  Would someone raised without exposure to religious views nonetheless come to believe in the existence of God, an afterlife, and the intentional creation of humans and other animals? Many scholars would answer yes, proposing that universal cognitive biases generate religious ideas anew within each individual mind. Drawing on evidence from developmental psychology, we argue here that the answer is no: children lack spontaneous theistic views and the emergence of religion is crucially dependent on culture.

So, would God believe in Tarzan?  I think not.  That whole story of being raised in the jungle is pretty implausible.  I think God prefers nonfiction--biographies and sweeping histories--to those kinds of fantasy novels.

Nod to Kevin Lewis, who believes in Tarzan, I believe

1 comment:

Hasdrubal said...

Shouldn't there be a natural experiment here? There's that one tribe in Borneo or somewhere with no religious myths, it's the one human group in all of our known history without the concept of God.

So, that a-religious tribe, there had to have been missionaries sent, right? So it seems like a straightforward question: Did any of the missionaries gain converts?

Oh, and does the fact that Every Other Group of Humans in History have a religion have any bearing?