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Grace Fellowship Assembly of God, Bloomington, Indiana – Fellowship is what primarily draws people to religion. Credit: Vmenkov/Wikimedia Commons
Grace Fellowship Assembly of God, Bloomington, Indiana – Fellowship is what primarily draws people to religion. Credit: Vmenkov/Wikimedia Commons

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Religiosity is moderately heritable—25 to 45% according to twin studies (Bouchard, 2004; Lewis and Bates, 2013). These figures are of course underestimates, since any noise in the data gets classified as ‘non-genetic’ variability. So the estimates would be higher if we could measure religiosity better.

But what does it mean to be religious? Does it mean adhering to a single organized religion with a clergy, a place of worship, and a standardized creed? This definition works fairly well in the Christian and Muslim worlds, but not so well farther afield. In East Asia, people often have more than one faith tradition: “If one religion is good, two are better.” Moreover, ‘religion’ has never controlled East Asian societies to the extent that Christianity and Islam have controlled theirs, as Francis Fukuyama notes in The Origins of Political Order. This word becomes even more problematic in simple societies. Did hunter-gatherers have religion? If we take the example of the Inuit, they believed in spirits of various kinds, but those spirits were indifferent to humans and their concerns, being not at all like the fellow in the Christmas jingle:

He sees you when you’re sleeping.

He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

Simple hunter-gatherers had no idea that a moral God exists. Nor did they see morality as being absolute or universal. A human action could be good or bad, depending on who was doing what to whom. Morality could not be separated from kinship. Your first moral obligation was to yourself, then to your family, then to your close kin. Beyond, who cares?

So what exactly is the heritable component of religiosity? Or should we say components? These questions were addressed by a recent twin study, which concluded that “religiosity is a biologically complex construct, with distinct heritable components” (Lewis and Bates, 2013). The most important one seems to be ‘community integration,’ which is the desire to be among people who befriend each other and help each other on a regular basis. Much research shows that religious people have stronger social needs than the rest of us, and they tend to lose interest in religion when such needs are no longer met. When former Methodist church members were asked why they left their church, the most common response was their failure to feel accepted, loved, or wanted by others in the congregation (Lewis and Bates, 2013).

The second most important component seems to be ‘existential certainty’—belief in a controlling God who will ultimately take care of everything. Belief in divine control reduces anxiety and actually increases one’s sense of personal control. As such, it provides “an epistemic buffer from a range of factors such as unpredictability, instability, and concerns over mortality that exist in this world.”

In sum, this study found that community integration accounts for 45% of innate religiosity and existential certainty for 11%. These two components represent most of what we call ‘religiosity.’

Just one thing. The study was done with a sample of Americans who were 85.1% Christian, the rest being mostly atheist, agnostic, or ”no religious preference.” Would the results have been similar with participants from the Middle East, Africa, or East Asia?

I don’t think so. Religiosity, by its very nature, should be very sensitive to gene-culture coevolution. It’s moderately heritable and serves different purposes in different cultural environments. Any one religion will favor its own ways of being and acting, and people who conform will do better than those who don’t. Thus, over successive generations, the gene pool of believers will become characterized by certain predispositions, personality traits, and other heritable aspects of mental makeup. These characteristics will tend to persist even if the believers cease to believe and become secularized.

This point is made by the authors, albeit indirectly. On the one hand, a community of believers will modify their religion to suit their social and existential needs:

[...] religion per-sé may not be the sole organization or system able to fill the niche created by human needs for community and existential meaning. The succession, displacement, and evolution of religions can be viewed in this light as the shaping of religious systems by their adherents to maximize the extent to which their needs are met.

On the other hand, a religion will modify its community of believers by favoring the survival of those with the “right” mindset and by removing those with the “wrong” mindset:

[...] this ”exchangeable goods” notion of religion may fail to acknowledge the tight fit between religious belief and human psychology: ”religious practices and rituals co-evolved with religiously inclined minds, so that they now fit together extremely well.”

In short, Man has made religion in his own image, but religion has returned the favor. In a very real sense, it has made us who we are.

References

Bouchard, T. J. Jr., (2004). Genetic influence on human psychological traits: A survey. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13, 148-151.
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Thomas_Bouchard2/publication/241644869_Genetic_Influence_on_Human_Psychological_TraitsA_Survey/links/00b7d524a1ab5b5f9d000000.pdf

Lewis, G.J. and T.C. Bates. (2013). Common genetic influences underpin religiosity, community integration, and existential uncertainty, Journal of Research in Personality, 47, 398-405.
http://www.aging.wisc.edu/midus/findings/pdfs/1268.pdf

(Republished from Evo and Proud by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Science • Tags: East Asians, Kinship, Religion, Twin Study 
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  1. It’s interesting how Christianity and Islam have the same origins but the former became a guilt-based belief system and the latter a honor-based one.

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  2. I associate religiosity with subjective and egocentric thinking – the notion that some all-powerful agent is going to reward a believer for behaving properly. Properly usually meaning adherence to the moral norms of the ingroup.

    Religiosity has evolved as man’s mental sophistication has but still remains impervious to objective thinking.

    “to the extent that all theological thinking presupposes the existence of supernatural beings and a ‘psychic’ or ‘spiritual’ dimension to the human mind, you could see it as similarly hyper-mentalistic. Indeed, such an approach readily suggests an intriguing new evolutionary insight into religion. According to this way of looking at it, theory of mind originally evolved to facilitate purely psychological inter-personal interactions in primeval societies. However, in the absence of the more mechanistic, scientific understanding of the physical world that was not to evolve until recently, existing mentalistic adaptations were applied to the universe as a whole, transferring concepts like agency, intention, culpability and prescience to deities, demons and supernatural entities of all kinds. As a result, reality as a whole – and not just social reality – became peopled with mental agents who could be influenced in ways analogous to those in which ordinary humans could be: through supplication (prayer), generosity (sacrifice), or contrition (penance). In this way, personal needs, failings and frustrations beyond the remedy of mere mortals could be redressed, and a mentalistic pre-adaptation set the scene for the evolution of religion, magic and superstition as independent cognitive systems.”

    http://www.thegreatdebate.org.uk/MentalismCB.html

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  3. The late Robert Anton Wilson used to remark that “B.S. controls the world,” with B.S. in this instance being the less profane part of the double entendre “belief systems”.

    Those interested in “B.S.” might enjoy the free download on Gutenberg.org, of the short book, “The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature” by William James, compiled from a series of lectures given by James in 1901 and 1902; the Gutenberg copy published in 1917.

    This book by William James was once considered a breakthrough investigation of religion and the religious impulse of man in which he proposed that religious inclinations were a universal quality of human life, found in every society on Earth but exhibiting unique tendencies based on the native environment and culture of the various religious votaries. A quick example of this would be that a woman in France might have a vision of the Virgin Mary, while a similarly religious woman in India would experience a vision of Vishnu. With the cultural overlays of symbolism removed, the religious experience of the woman in France and India would be the same.

    James grounds “the religious experience” within a scientific investigation while resisting evaluating those elements of the religious impulse that are metaphysical, spiritual and not easily quantified. James doesn’t deride religion, he examines it with the finesse and deference found in other early psychiatrists and medical doctors, like Carl Jung.

    When you hear people claim that their religion is the “only true religion,” send them a copy of “The Variety of Religious Experience” to read. After reading James’ if they are at all honest in their thinking, they will come to realize that B.S. really does control the world.

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  4. In sum, this study found that community integration accounts for 45% of innate religiosity and existential certainty for 11%. These two components represent most of what we call ‘religiosity.’

    No, you have not demonstrated this. Your evidence shows these components account for most the genetic variance of religiosity, which itself may be more than half environmental.

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  5. It’s interesting how Christianity and Islam have the same origins but the former became a guilt-based belief system and the latter a honor-based one.

    Both religions were altered by the populations they expanded into. As the geopolitical center of Christendom shifted north and west, Christian faith became more influenced by the guilt cultures of Northwest Europe. It thus became a vehicle for this mindset of guilt proneness, affective empathy, and moral universalism/moral absolutism.

    Islam remained within the shame/honor cultures of the Middle East. Guilt proneness has thus had a weaker influence on its development. There is for instance no doctrine of original sin.

    I discussed this in an earlier post:

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/a-fruitful-encounter/

    I associate religiosity with subjective and egocentric thinking – the notion that some all-powerful agent is going to reward a believer for behaving properly.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people need to believe in an all-powerful agent. Uncertainty has a paralyzing effect that can cause people to lose control and put off important decisions. Paradoxically, belief in a controlling God can actually increase your sense of personal control. You can more easily take charge of your life if you feel someone is always around to back you up. God is the ultimate Father Figure.

    With the cultural overlays of symbolism removed, the religious experience of the woman in France and India would be the same.

    I used to believe that. I no longer do.

    Your evidence shows these components account for most the genetic variance of religiosity, which itself may be more than half environmental.

    Good point. I’ve changed the wording in the original post. If gene-culture coevolution has shaped these innate components of religiosity, I would nonetheless expect the environmental components to show a similar pattern, i.e., community integration is more important than existential certainty.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond

    I would nonetheless expect the environmental components to show a similar pattern, i.e., community integration is more important than existential certainty.
     
    What about the promise of eternal life that many religions offer (such as Fred Reed mentions in a comment)? This is different from existential certainty. For one thing, it may be enhanced by an element of uncertainty (heaven or hell).

    It seems an obvious component, and people who have recently defected from religion seem prompted to search for some other after-life promise - for example, cryonics or Singularity myths. If the fear of death isn't genetic, then we might suppose it is environmental (as opposed to nonexistent as a determinant of religious commitment).
    , @Scipio9
    Are some of the differences between Christianity and Islam today due to that Christianity expanded into an agricultural region, and Islam expanded into a historically predominately nomadic, low-population density region?
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  6. Sean says:

    On the other hand, a religion will modify its community of believers by favoring the survival of those with the “right” mindset and by removing those with the “wrong” mindset

    Gregory Clarke:“But why after more than a thousand years of entrenched Catholic dogma was an obscure German preacher able to effect such a profound change in the way ordinary people conceived religious belief?”” I’m not sure about Catholicism having a efficiency edge on Calvinism say, because despite theories like this Catholic Austria seems not so different to Calvinist Switzerland in economic dynamism. The celibacy of clergy and many feast days of Catholicism may have become less desirable once commerce began to take off

    The most important one seems to be ‘community integration,’ which is the desire to be among people who befriend each other and help each other on a regular basis.

    Given that one has to be among people and forming alliances to become successful in anything, being religious was likely normal for most of human history and given the serious material disadvantages for those not joining in religious worship those who didn’t must have very often had a serious aversion to being around other people, which sounds like schizotypal personality disorder “a personality disorder characterized by a need for social isolation, anxiety in social situations, odd behavior and thinking, and often unconventional beliefs. People with this disorder feel extreme discomfort with maintaining close relationships with people, so they avoid forming them”. In my opinion, what religion takes out of the gene pool is the tendency to isolate oneself. The median age in the early 1970s to be married in the US was 21 for women and 23 for men, having 2-3 children by 25 years old was typical. That sounds like the influence of religion, but how many met their spouse through church in 1970?

    Interestingly, dissidents in the late Soviet Union were diagnosed with “vyalotekushchaya” or creeping schizophrenia, a variant of schizotypal personality disorder. I suppose it does not really matter what the system is, a certain type of person has a tendency to be the odd one out.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    How does schizotypal personality disorder differ from mere introversion?
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  7. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Sean

    On the other hand, a religion will modify its community of believers by favoring the survival of those with the “right” mindset and by removing those with the “wrong” mindset
     
    Gregory Clarke:"But why after more than a thousand years of entrenched Catholic dogma was an obscure German preacher able to effect such a profound change in the way ordinary people conceived religious belief?"” I'm not sure about Catholicism having a efficiency edge on Calvinism say, because despite theories like this Catholic Austria seems not so different to Calvinist Switzerland in economic dynamism. The celibacy of clergy and many feast days of Catholicism may have become less desirable once commerce began to take off

    The most important one seems to be ‘community integration,’ which is the desire to be among people who befriend each other and help each other on a regular basis.
     
    Given that one has to be among people and forming alliances to become successful in anything, being religious was likely normal for most of human history and given the serious material disadvantages for those not joining in religious worship those who didn't must have very often had a serious aversion to being around other people, which sounds like schizotypal personality disorder "a personality disorder characterized by a need for social isolation, anxiety in social situations, odd behavior and thinking, and often unconventional beliefs. People with this disorder feel extreme discomfort with maintaining close relationships with people, so they avoid forming them". In my opinion, what religion takes out of the gene pool is the tendency to isolate oneself. The median age in the early 1970s to be married in the US was 21 for women and 23 for men, having 2-3 children by 25 years old was typical. That sounds like the influence of religion, but how many met their spouse through church in 1970?

    Interestingly, dissidents in the late Soviet Union were diagnosed with "vyalotekushchaya" or creeping schizophrenia, a variant of schizotypal personality disorder. I suppose it does not really matter what the system is, a certain type of person has a tendency to be the odd one out.

    How does schizotypal personality disorder differ from mere introversion?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    People with schizophrenia spectrum disorders have difficulty taking fitting in, while introverts can fit in if there is a structured community. So introverts benefit more from religion.
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  8. Realist says:

    Religion is used to control the ignorant.

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  9. whatever says:

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that our world didn’t come about through random dumb chance, this is what I believe, but I am not sure about much else.

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  10. But why after more than a thousand years of entrenched Catholic dogma was an obscure German preacher able to effect such a profound change in the way ordinary people conceived religious belief?””

    It wasn’t a thousand years. Catholicism didn’t become the faith of most Germans until the ninth century or so (St. Boniface did his missionary work in the eighth century). There then followed a long process when the Church adapted itself to the local culture. This involved superficial changes to Christianity (adoption of pagan symbols and holidays) but also more profound ones, like a growing emphasis on guilt, penance, and original sin. The guilt cultures of Northwest Europe transformed Christianity just as much as Christianity transformed them.

    Protestantism was the product of a faith evolution that was already under way in Northwest Europe before the official split from Catholicism.

    Given that one has to be among people and forming alliances to become successful in anything, being religious was likely normal for most of human history

    Yes, but in a modern social environment where can you go to experience fellowship? Your local bar? (I went a few days ago. It was full of lonely men watching football on big TV screens). Many people join churches not because they are fundamentalists but because they have strong social needs. They can’t satisfy those needs in a socially atomized culture.

    Religion is used to control the ignorant

    Nowadays, the mainstream media fulfils that purpose.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that our world didn’t come about through random dumb chance

    Natural selection is not a random process.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Natural selection is said to operate on differences ultimately generated by random mutations.
    , @Sean

    Protestantism was the product of a faith evolution that was already under way in Northwest Europe before the official split from Catholicism.
     
    NW Europeans with a inherent tendency to guilt may require less social structure, and the high guilt cultures' religions are dying, but the need for group selection is also declining. Frequency of successful reproduction among Catholics seems to have been greater where they felt themselves to be part of an embattled group in places like Holland, the UK and Canada. I think there are two things going on in religion:-
    1) Social needs.
    2)Where people feel themselves to be members of an embattled group, especially as underdogs.

    Re 2, one wonders about the birth of religions such as the Bahá'í Faith and Mormons, which got off the ground despite persecution, or maybe because of persecution. John of Leiden and the German Peasants revolt seemed to be doomed from the begining but the religious aspect gave rebels courage to defy the wider society. Religion priming and an oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism interact to affect self-control in a social context., but on the other hand


    http://www.sfu.ca/biology/faculty/crespi/pdfs/178-Crespi2015.pdf A third, less-explored dimension for effects of oxytocin involves increases in social aggression, whereby this europeptide reduces thresholds for defence of one’s family, social relationships, or larger social group
     
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  11. whatever says:

    lol, I’m not talking about natural selection, I’m talking about the whole thing, from the big bang to all the different and innumerable things that led to our planet and life arising on our planet.

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  12. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Peter Frost
    But why after more than a thousand years of entrenched Catholic dogma was an obscure German preacher able to effect such a profound change in the way ordinary people conceived religious belief?””

    It wasn't a thousand years. Catholicism didn't become the faith of most Germans until the ninth century or so (St. Boniface did his missionary work in the eighth century). There then followed a long process when the Church adapted itself to the local culture. This involved superficial changes to Christianity (adoption of pagan symbols and holidays) but also more profound ones, like a growing emphasis on guilt, penance, and original sin. The guilt cultures of Northwest Europe transformed Christianity just as much as Christianity transformed them.

    Protestantism was the product of a faith evolution that was already under way in Northwest Europe before the official split from Catholicism.

    Given that one has to be among people and forming alliances to become successful in anything, being religious was likely normal for most of human history

    Yes, but in a modern social environment where can you go to experience fellowship? Your local bar? (I went a few days ago. It was full of lonely men watching football on big TV screens). Many people join churches not because they are fundamentalists but because they have strong social needs. They can't satisfy those needs in a socially atomized culture.

    Religion is used to control the ignorant

    Nowadays, the mainstream media fulfils that purpose.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that our world didn’t come about through random dumb chance

    Natural selection is not a random process.

    Natural selection is said to operate on differences ultimately generated by random mutations.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. Fred Reed says: • Website

    A large part of the religious impulse arises from the fear of death, and from the associated questions that can arise when one wakes at three a.m. and thinks, “Where the hell are we, and what is this all about?” Religions solve the problem by making up answers, Big-Bang/evolution by ignoring the questions. Given that we all die, it would seem reasonable, to me anyway, to regard the matter as having a degree of importance. What, if anything, does an evolutionist believe comes after death, and how does he know?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    An evolutionist believes that every human alive is at the end of a very long line of ancestors; I suppose death represents the end of the line.
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  14. Sean says:
    @Anonymous
    How does schizotypal personality disorder differ from mere introversion?

    People with schizophrenia spectrum disorders have difficulty taking fitting in, while introverts can fit in if there is a structured community. So introverts benefit more from religion.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. Sean says:
    @Fred Reed
    A large part of the religious impulse arises from the fear of death, and from the associated questions that can arise when one wakes at three a.m. and thinks, “Where the hell are we, and what is this all about?” Religions solve the problem by making up answers, Big-Bang/evolution by ignoring the questions. Given that we all die, it would seem reasonable, to me anyway, to regard the matter as having a degree of importance. What, if anything, does an evolutionist believe comes after death, and how does he know?

    An evolutionist believes that every human alive is at the end of a very long line of ancestors; I suppose death represents the end of the line.

    Read More
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  16. Sean says:
    @Peter Frost
    But why after more than a thousand years of entrenched Catholic dogma was an obscure German preacher able to effect such a profound change in the way ordinary people conceived religious belief?””

    It wasn't a thousand years. Catholicism didn't become the faith of most Germans until the ninth century or so (St. Boniface did his missionary work in the eighth century). There then followed a long process when the Church adapted itself to the local culture. This involved superficial changes to Christianity (adoption of pagan symbols and holidays) but also more profound ones, like a growing emphasis on guilt, penance, and original sin. The guilt cultures of Northwest Europe transformed Christianity just as much as Christianity transformed them.

    Protestantism was the product of a faith evolution that was already under way in Northwest Europe before the official split from Catholicism.

    Given that one has to be among people and forming alliances to become successful in anything, being religious was likely normal for most of human history

    Yes, but in a modern social environment where can you go to experience fellowship? Your local bar? (I went a few days ago. It was full of lonely men watching football on big TV screens). Many people join churches not because they are fundamentalists but because they have strong social needs. They can't satisfy those needs in a socially atomized culture.

    Religion is used to control the ignorant

    Nowadays, the mainstream media fulfils that purpose.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that our world didn’t come about through random dumb chance

    Natural selection is not a random process.

    Protestantism was the product of a faith evolution that was already under way in Northwest Europe before the official split from Catholicism.

    NW Europeans with a inherent tendency to guilt may require less social structure, and the high guilt cultures’ religions are dying, but the need for group selection is also declining. Frequency of successful reproduction among Catholics seems to have been greater where they felt themselves to be part of an embattled group in places like Holland, the UK and Canada. I think there are two things going on in religion:-
    1) Social needs.
    2)Where people feel themselves to be members of an embattled group, especially as underdogs.

    Re 2, one wonders about the birth of religions such as the Bahá’í Faith and Mormons, which got off the ground despite persecution, or maybe because of persecution. John of Leiden and the German Peasants revolt seemed to be doomed from the begining but the religious aspect gave rebels courage to defy the wider society. Religion priming and an oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism interact to affect self-control in a social context., but on the other hand

    http://www.sfu.ca/biology/faculty/crespi/pdfs/178-Crespi2015.pdf A third, less-explored dimension for effects of oxytocin involves increases in social aggression, whereby this europeptide reduces thresholds for defence of one’s family, social relationships, or larger social group

    Read More
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  17. @Peter Frost
    It’s interesting how Christianity and Islam have the same origins but the former became a guilt-based belief system and the latter a honor-based one.

    Both religions were altered by the populations they expanded into. As the geopolitical center of Christendom shifted north and west, Christian faith became more influenced by the guilt cultures of Northwest Europe. It thus became a vehicle for this mindset of guilt proneness, affective empathy, and moral universalism/moral absolutism.

    Islam remained within the shame/honor cultures of the Middle East. Guilt proneness has thus had a weaker influence on its development. There is for instance no doctrine of original sin.

    I discussed this in an earlier post:

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/a-fruitful-encounter/

    I associate religiosity with subjective and egocentric thinking – the notion that some all-powerful agent is going to reward a believer for behaving properly.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people need to believe in an all-powerful agent. Uncertainty has a paralyzing effect that can cause people to lose control and put off important decisions. Paradoxically, belief in a controlling God can actually increase your sense of personal control. You can more easily take charge of your life if you feel someone is always around to back you up. God is the ultimate Father Figure.

    With the cultural overlays of symbolism removed, the religious experience of the woman in France and India would be the same.

    I used to believe that. I no longer do.

    Your evidence shows these components account for most the genetic variance of religiosity, which itself may be more than half environmental.

    Good point. I've changed the wording in the original post. If gene-culture coevolution has shaped these innate components of religiosity, I would nonetheless expect the environmental components to show a similar pattern, i.e., community integration is more important than existential certainty.

    I would nonetheless expect the environmental components to show a similar pattern, i.e., community integration is more important than existential certainty.

    What about the promise of eternal life that many religions offer (such as Fred Reed mentions in a comment)? This is different from existential certainty. For one thing, it may be enhanced by an element of uncertainty (heaven or hell).

    It seems an obvious component, and people who have recently defected from religion seem prompted to search for some other after-life promise – for example, cryonics or Singularity myths. If the fear of death isn’t genetic, then we might suppose it is environmental (as opposed to nonexistent as a determinant of religious commitment).

    Read More
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  18. Sean says:

    Many suicide bombers have been communists. North Korean soldiers commandos are notorious for suicide rather than surrendering. Singularity is an interesting modern version of age old myths about a change in the human condition, but not really what most people would call a religion. Compare it with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synanon

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  19. I’m not talking about natural selection, I’m talking about the whole thing, from the big bang to all the different and innumerable things that led to our planet and life arising on our planet.

    I, too, am talking about the whole thing. Evolution by natural selection is limited to biological organisms, but natural selection itself applies to everything. There is a continual process of selection against things that are unstable and ephemeral, and this is as true for chemistry and physics as it is for biology.

    A large part of the religious impulse arises from the fear of death

    I rediscovered Christianity in my late 20s, and I got to know many other young adults like myself. For us, fear of death wasn’t a reason. We had strong social needs, and those needs weren’t being met in secular society. A related reason was a desire to meet “serious” people of the opposite sex, i.e., a single person who is willing to commit to a lifelong relationship and family formation. In modern society, such a desire is considered “religious.”

    For me, another reason was a desire to rediscover my roots . I was interested in genealogy and history, and I wanted to learn more about my heritage. It was an identitarian thing.

    What, if anything, does an evolutionist believe comes after death, and how does he know?

    Biologically, we continue to live after death in our children and, to a lesser extent, in our kinfolk. You can verify this by looking at your children and your kinfolk. Do you see yourself in them?

    I have no problem with people who believe in a spiritual life after death — as long as this belief doesn’t compromise the other life after death, the kind that really does exist and whose existence is verifiable.

    An evolutionist believes that every human alive is at the end of a very long line of ancestors

    Each of us is both the end of a long line of ancestors and, potentially, the beginning of a long line of descendants.

    one wonders about the birth of religions such as the Bahá’í Faith and Mormons, which got off the ground despite persecution, or maybe because of persecution.

    I knew a fervent Catholic who said that Catholicism was in a healthier state in countries where it’s persecuted. Wherever Catholicism is the majority faith, it falls victim to dry rot and apathy. The same can be said for any religion.

    What about the promise of eternal life that many religions offer (such as Fred Reed mentions in a comment)? This is different from existential certainty. For one thing, it may be enhanced by an element of uncertainty (heaven or hell).

    This is a reason for older people, so it probably didn’t show up in that twin study (the participants were mostly in their 40s). In my opinion, fear of death is a terrible reason for becoming a Christian. It can also do more harm than good. When I left the United Church, there were many elderly churchgoers who felt the same way as I did but they were afraid to leave. If they left, they would have to start anew in another church whose traditions would be different.

    Speaking for myself, I can’t think of a single church I would feel at home in today. Almost all of them are punch-drunk on globalism. In some ways, the “conservative” churches are worse.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Speaking for myself, I can’t think of a single church I would feel at home in today. Almost all of them are punch-drunk on globalism. In some ways, the “conservative” churches are worse.
     
    Protestants can and do start their own churches though. There are anti-globalist denominations like Christian Identity:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_identity
    , @Stephen R. Diamond

    There is a continual process of selection against things that are unstable and ephemeral, and this is as true for chemistry and physics as it is for biology.
     
    But this is but a metaphor - actually a tautology - when applied to physics. Real (biological) natural selection is contingent. (One can imagine the end of biological natural selection - preceding the demise of all organisms, if previous conditions come to mispredict future conditions.)

    Natural selection must always operate on some substrate, which (deterministically) produces the necessary (relative) variation. It can't be natural selection all the way down - as Smolin more or less concedes in his last book.
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  20. (The brilliant and prolific) Fred Reed writes:

    “A large part of the religious impulse arises from the fear of death, and from the associated questions that can arise when one wakes at three a.m. and thinks, “Where the hell are we, and what is this all about?” Religions solve the problem by making up answers, Big-Bang/evolution by ignoring the questions. Given that we all die, it would seem reasonable, to me anyway, to regard the matter as having a degree of importance. What, if anything, does an evolutionist believe comes after death, and how does he know?”
    ——-
    ——-

    How right Fred Reed is, that “three a.m.” insomnia can be the source of much creative contemplation of life and death, as similarly Friedrich Nietzsche opined that ‘men don’t easily take themselves as gods because they have too much bowel,’ a lurid suggestion that proposes bouts of food poisoning have more universal and immediate impact on mans’ existential considerations than all the religious faiths combined.

    The “fatalist,” the “rationalist,” the “devout,” the “hedonist” and several other character stereotypes are all found in Ingmar Bergman’s movie “The Seventh Seal” stringing along hand in hand behind the hood-ied personification of “Death” who is dragging them pell mell along the hilltop ridge-line in fits and starts to their unknown destination. If you are not of saturnine bent, “The Seventh Seal” is hilarious especially in the final scenes where Death brushes aside all the questions and concerns of those in his immediate clutch, dismissing their inquiries about their ultimate disposition and plaints about their treatment as beyond his knowledge or interest. Death, “don’t care nothin’” about your pieties, social status, or Mensa score; he’s rigid and unimaginative in his duties (though he did play chess for the knight’s life, showing that Death, at least in Bergman’s view, has a bit of a sporting side).

    Similar stereotypical opinions grace this comment section; they are instructive in that it shows how others approach the curious “fellowship” behavior of organized religion. Men like to belong and they enjoy identifying with a group, especially “the right group”. What’s even more instructive is the lengths individuals go to defend “their opinions” about “their interpretations” of what is essentially one man’s version of moonlight and just as evanescent.

    Marginalized natural scientist Wilhelm ReichMD wrote about the use of pipe organs in churches as a means to elicit viceral responses from the congregants by creating heightened emotional excitement. The singing of hymns also helps to loosen diaphragm rigidity and increases oxygen intake similarly working to heighten response. Modern religion is an emotional experience performed in a safe environment where spiritual revelation is anticipated and permitted. Man (the clock-watcher) has compartmentalized his life to the point where everything he does is performed in discrete locations at specific times, and the truth of this statement is that if someone was seen walking down the street openly “talking to God” (and not just gesticulating wildly while barking on a cell phone) they would be instantly hauled away for psychiatric evaluation.

    In the fascinating show “Snake Salvation,” a television program produced a few years ago, the snake handling Christian sects recorded in the series used loud electric guitars, drums, and electric bass to evoke a sense of excited intoxication facilitating their handling of poisonous reptiles as a primal religious experience. Does the function of “snake handling” have any less of a ritualistic importance than the sacrament of the Eucharist where a priest has effectively transmuted wine and bread into the body and blood of Jesus Christ? I would say that while the process is different, the effect is very much the same.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    But religious people rarely die from pestering serpents, they are more likely to live to be elderly, they look after their health (simple things like brushing their teeth). There isn't much doubt that (Shakers aside) religious people have greater reproductive fitness. If the irreligious view is biologically maladaptive, in what sense is it true? The truth about that "truth" is we would have been better off not hearing about it. it.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need_to_Know_(The_Twilight_Zone)

    "Men like to belong and they enjoy identifying with a group",

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tend_and_befriend Tend-and-befriend is a behavior exhibited by some animals, including humans, in response to threat. It refers to protection of offspring (tending) and seeking out the social group for mutual defense (befriending). Tend-and-befriend is theorized as having evolved as the typical female response to stress, just as the primary male response was fight-or-flight [...] Oxytocin has been tied to a broad array of social relationships and activities, including peer bonding, sexual activity, and affiliative preferences.[11] Oxytocin is released in humans in response to a broad array of stressors, especially those that may trigger affiliative needs. Oxytocin promotes affiliative behavior, including maternal tending and social contact with peers.[12] Thus, affiliation under stress serves tending needs, including protective responses towards offspring. Affiliation may also take the form of befriending, namely seeking social contact for one's own protection, the protection of offspring, and the protection of the social group. These social responses to threat reduce biological stress responses, including lowering heart rate, blood pressure, and hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA) stress activity, such as cortisol responses.[13]
     
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  21. Sean says:
    @Blogsworthy
    (The brilliant and prolific) Fred Reed writes:

    "A large part of the religious impulse arises from the fear of death, and from the associated questions that can arise when one wakes at three a.m. and thinks, “Where the hell are we, and what is this all about?” Religions solve the problem by making up answers, Big-Bang/evolution by ignoring the questions. Given that we all die, it would seem reasonable, to me anyway, to regard the matter as having a degree of importance. What, if anything, does an evolutionist believe comes after death, and how does he know?"
    -------
    -------

    How right Fred Reed is, that "three a.m." insomnia can be the source of much creative contemplation of life and death, as similarly Friedrich Nietzsche opined that 'men don't easily take themselves as gods because they have too much bowel,' a lurid suggestion that proposes bouts of food poisoning have more universal and immediate impact on mans' existential considerations than all the religious faiths combined.

    The "fatalist," the "rationalist," the "devout," the "hedonist" and several other character stereotypes are all found in Ingmar Bergman's movie "The Seventh Seal" stringing along hand in hand behind the hood-ied personification of "Death" who is dragging them pell mell along the hilltop ridge-line in fits and starts to their unknown destination. If you are not of saturnine bent, "The Seventh Seal" is hilarious especially in the final scenes where Death brushes aside all the questions and concerns of those in his immediate clutch, dismissing their inquiries about their ultimate disposition and plaints about their treatment as beyond his knowledge or interest. Death, "don't care nothin'" about your pieties, social status, or Mensa score; he's rigid and unimaginative in his duties (though he did play chess for the knight's life, showing that Death, at least in Bergman's view, has a bit of a sporting side).

    Similar stereotypical opinions grace this comment section; they are instructive in that it shows how others approach the curious "fellowship" behavior of organized religion. Men like to belong and they enjoy identifying with a group, especially "the right group". What's even more instructive is the lengths individuals go to defend "their opinions" about "their interpretations" of what is essentially one man's version of moonlight and just as evanescent.

    Marginalized natural scientist Wilhelm ReichMD wrote about the use of pipe organs in churches as a means to elicit viceral responses from the congregants by creating heightened emotional excitement. The singing of hymns also helps to loosen diaphragm rigidity and increases oxygen intake similarly working to heighten response. Modern religion is an emotional experience performed in a safe environment where spiritual revelation is anticipated and permitted. Man (the clock-watcher) has compartmentalized his life to the point where everything he does is performed in discrete locations at specific times, and the truth of this statement is that if someone was seen walking down the street openly "talking to God" (and not just gesticulating wildly while barking on a cell phone) they would be instantly hauled away for psychiatric evaluation.

    In the fascinating show "Snake Salvation," a television program produced a few years ago, the snake handling Christian sects recorded in the series used loud electric guitars, drums, and electric bass to evoke a sense of excited intoxication facilitating their handling of poisonous reptiles as a primal religious experience. Does the function of "snake handling" have any less of a ritualistic importance than the sacrament of the Eucharist where a priest has effectively transmuted wine and bread into the body and blood of Jesus Christ? I would say that while the process is different, the effect is very much the same.

    But religious people rarely die from pestering serpents, they are more likely to live to be elderly, they look after their health (simple things like brushing their teeth). There isn’t much doubt that (Shakers aside) religious people have greater reproductive fitness. If the irreligious view is biologically maladaptive, in what sense is it true? The truth about that “truth” is we would have been better off not hearing about it. it.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need_to_Know_(The_Twilight_Zone)

    “Men like to belong and they enjoy identifying with a group”,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tend_and_befriend Tend-and-befriend is a behavior exhibited by some animals, including humans, in response to threat. It refers to protection of offspring (tending) and seeking out the social group for mutual defense (befriending). Tend-and-befriend is theorized as having evolved as the typical female response to stress, just as the primary male response was fight-or-flight [...] Oxytocin has been tied to a broad array of social relationships and activities, including peer bonding, sexual activity, and affiliative preferences.[11] Oxytocin is released in humans in response to a broad array of stressors, especially those that may trigger affiliative needs. Oxytocin promotes affiliative behavior, including maternal tending and social contact with peers.[12] Thus, affiliation under stress serves tending needs, including protective responses towards offspring. Affiliation may also take the form of befriending, namely seeking social contact for one’s own protection, the protection of offspring, and the protection of the social group. These social responses to threat reduce biological stress responses, including lowering heart rate, blood pressure, and hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA) stress activity, such as cortisol responses.[13]

    Read More
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  22. Scipio9 says:
    @Peter Frost
    It’s interesting how Christianity and Islam have the same origins but the former became a guilt-based belief system and the latter a honor-based one.

    Both religions were altered by the populations they expanded into. As the geopolitical center of Christendom shifted north and west, Christian faith became more influenced by the guilt cultures of Northwest Europe. It thus became a vehicle for this mindset of guilt proneness, affective empathy, and moral universalism/moral absolutism.

    Islam remained within the shame/honor cultures of the Middle East. Guilt proneness has thus had a weaker influence on its development. There is for instance no doctrine of original sin.

    I discussed this in an earlier post:

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/a-fruitful-encounter/

    I associate religiosity with subjective and egocentric thinking – the notion that some all-powerful agent is going to reward a believer for behaving properly.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people need to believe in an all-powerful agent. Uncertainty has a paralyzing effect that can cause people to lose control and put off important decisions. Paradoxically, belief in a controlling God can actually increase your sense of personal control. You can more easily take charge of your life if you feel someone is always around to back you up. God is the ultimate Father Figure.

    With the cultural overlays of symbolism removed, the religious experience of the woman in France and India would be the same.

    I used to believe that. I no longer do.

    Your evidence shows these components account for most the genetic variance of religiosity, which itself may be more than half environmental.

    Good point. I've changed the wording in the original post. If gene-culture coevolution has shaped these innate components of religiosity, I would nonetheless expect the environmental components to show a similar pattern, i.e., community integration is more important than existential certainty.

    Are some of the differences between Christianity and Islam today due to that Christianity expanded into an agricultural region, and Islam expanded into a historically predominately nomadic, low-population density region?

    Read More
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  23. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Peter Frost
    I’m not talking about natural selection, I’m talking about the whole thing, from the big bang to all the different and innumerable things that led to our planet and life arising on our planet.

    I, too, am talking about the whole thing. Evolution by natural selection is limited to biological organisms, but natural selection itself applies to everything. There is a continual process of selection against things that are unstable and ephemeral, and this is as true for chemistry and physics as it is for biology.

    A large part of the religious impulse arises from the fear of death

    I rediscovered Christianity in my late 20s, and I got to know many other young adults like myself. For us, fear of death wasn't a reason. We had strong social needs, and those needs weren't being met in secular society. A related reason was a desire to meet "serious" people of the opposite sex, i.e., a single person who is willing to commit to a lifelong relationship and family formation. In modern society, such a desire is considered "religious."

    For me, another reason was a desire to rediscover my roots . I was interested in genealogy and history, and I wanted to learn more about my heritage. It was an identitarian thing.

    What, if anything, does an evolutionist believe comes after death, and how does he know?

    Biologically, we continue to live after death in our children and, to a lesser extent, in our kinfolk. You can verify this by looking at your children and your kinfolk. Do you see yourself in them?

    I have no problem with people who believe in a spiritual life after death --- as long as this belief doesn't compromise the other life after death, the kind that really does exist and whose existence is verifiable.

    An evolutionist believes that every human alive is at the end of a very long line of ancestors


    Each of us is both the end of a long line of ancestors and, potentially, the beginning of a long line of descendants.

    one wonders about the birth of religions such as the Bahá’í Faith and Mormons, which got off the ground despite persecution, or maybe because of persecution.

    I knew a fervent Catholic who said that Catholicism was in a healthier state in countries where it's persecuted. Wherever Catholicism is the majority faith, it falls victim to dry rot and apathy. The same can be said for any religion.

    What about the promise of eternal life that many religions offer (such as Fred Reed mentions in a comment)? This is different from existential certainty. For one thing, it may be enhanced by an element of uncertainty (heaven or hell).

    This is a reason for older people, so it probably didn't show up in that twin study (the participants were mostly in their 40s). In my opinion, fear of death is a terrible reason for becoming a Christian. It can also do more harm than good. When I left the United Church, there were many elderly churchgoers who felt the same way as I did but they were afraid to leave. If they left, they would have to start anew in another church whose traditions would be different.

    Speaking for myself, I can't think of a single church I would feel at home in today. Almost all of them are punch-drunk on globalism. In some ways, the "conservative" churches are worse.

    Speaking for myself, I can’t think of a single church I would feel at home in today. Almost all of them are punch-drunk on globalism. In some ways, the “conservative” churches are worse.

    Protestants can and do start their own churches though. There are anti-globalist denominations like Christian Identity:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_identity

    Read More
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  24. Fred Reed says:

    Is the heritability of atheism known and, if so, how does it compare to the heritability of religiousness?

    Read More
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  25. Are some of the differences between Christianity and Islam today due to that Christianity expanded into an agricultural region, and Islam expanded into a historically predominately nomadic, low-population density region?

    Not really. Historically, much of the Middle East was inhabited by sedentary, agricultural peoples. This was the case with the “Fertile Crescent” (Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia).

    Islam tended to impose a nomadic, pastoral psychology because it was primarily driven by nomadic, pastoral peoples. This point was made by Ibd Khaldun in The Muqaddimah (1377):

    Places that succumb to the Arabs are quickly ruined.

    The reason for this is that (the Arabs) are a savage nation, fully accustomed to savagery and the things that cause it. Savagery has become their character and nature. They enjoy it, because it means freedom from authority and no subservience to leadership. Such a natural disposition is the negation and antithesis of civilization. All the customary activities of the Arabs lead to travel and movement. This is the antithesis and negation of stationariness, which produces civilization. For instance, the Arabs need stones to set them up as supports for their cooking pots. So, they take them from buildings which they tear down to get the stones, and use them for that purpose. Wood, too, is needed by them for props for their tents and for use as tent poles for their dwell­ings. So, they tear down roofs to get the wood for that purpose. The very nature of their existence is the negation of building, which is the basis of civilization. This is the case with them quite generally.

    Furthermore, it is their nature to plunder whatever other people possess. Their sustenance lies wherever the shadow of their lances falls. They recognize no limit in taking the possessions of other people. Whenever their eyes fall upon some property, furnishings, or utensils, they take it. When they acquire superiority and royal authority, they have complete power to plunder (as they please). There no longer exists any political (power) to protect property, and civilization is ruined.

    Furthermore, since they use force to make craftsmen and professional workers do their work, they do not see any value in it and do not pay them for it. Now, as we shall mention, labor is the real basis of profit. When labor is not appreciated and is done for nothing, the hope for profit vanishes, and no (productive) work is done. The sedentary population disperses, and civilization decays.

    Furthermore, (the Arabs) are not concerned with laws. (They are not concerned) to deter people from misdeeds or to protect some against the others. They care only for the property that they might take away from people through looting and imposts. When they have obtained that, they have no interest in anything further, such as taking care of (people), looking after their interests, or forcing them not to commit misdeeds. They often level fines on property, because they want to get some advantage, some tax, or profit out of it. This is their custom. It does not help to prevent misdeeds or to deter those who undertake to commit (mis­deeds). On the contrary, it increases (misdeeds), because as compared to getting what one wants, the (possible financial) loss (through fines) is insignificant.

    Under the rule of (the Arabs), the subjects live as in a state of anarchy, without law. Anarchy destroys mankind and ruins civilization, since, as we have stated, the existence of royal authority is a natural quality of man. It alone guarantees their existence and social organization. That was mentioned above at the beginning of the chapter.

    http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ik/Muqaddimah/Chapter2/Ch_2_25.htm

    There are anti-globalist denominations like Christian Identity

    “Useful idiots” would be a more appropriate description than “anti-globalist.”

    Is the heritability of atheism known and, if so, how does it compare to the heritability of religiousness?

    It would be the same heritability. If you’re not religious, you would presumably be atheist (or agnostic). In other words, if you don’t feel a deep need for fellowship and existential certainty, you will be predisposed to atheism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    There are Christian Identity congregations that are private and don't make waves. Just because you don't find them respectable doesn't mean that they're "useful idiots".

    There are others, such as various Anabaptist sects and other sects, that are also anti-globalist denominations.
    , @Santoculto
    “Useful idiots” would be a more appropriate description than “anti-globalist.”


    Thanks, ;)

    But not, because useful idiots are extremely common, much more common than you imagine.

    Ignorance is not just a bliss but a human universal trait.

    Useful idiots procreates as rabbits.

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  26. @ Sean comments:

    But religious people rarely die from pestering serpents, they are more likely to live to be elderly, they look after their health (simple things like brushing their teeth). There isn’t much doubt that (Shakers aside) religious people have greater reproductive fitness. If the irreligious view is biologically maladaptive, in what sense is it true? The truth about that “truth” is we would have been better off not hearing about it. it.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need_to_Know_(The_Twilight_Zone)

    ———

    Regarding longevity:

    There’s the old joke about a man that travels to the Far East to seek out the advice of a “great master”. After many trials and tribulations he finally finds himself before the sage and with all due deference asks the great one “what advice do you have so I could live forever?”

    The old master, filled with compassion and sympathy for all sentient beings offers the following advice: “Never eat rich foods, never drink intoxicating liquids, and above all never enjoy the company of women.”

    Hearing this the supplicant cries, “If I do these things, or great master, will I live forever?”

    “Hell no,” responds the sage, “But it will sure seem like it!”

    @ Sean:
    I am sure you are correct in your opinions when you write: “…But religious people rarely die from pestering serpents, they are more likely to live to be elderly, they look after their health… There isn’t much doubt that (Shakers aside) religious people have greater reproductive fitness…”

    But, my dear fellow, such generalized pronouncements must include the subject group you are presenting as the locus of your statement. We must know what religious group members are more likely to live to a grand old age along with exhibiting the attributes of “greater reproductive fitness”.

    Perhaps you meant to write that by living a regulated and moral religious life, a person is likely to live a more secure and healthy existence; and I’m sure that no one would choose to dispute that statement.

    Read More
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  27. Sean says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jain_monasticism

    Priests and those with vows of celibacy obviously do not have reproductive fitness while their parishioners do. Jains live modestly and I suppose healthily, while Jain monks starve themselves to death.

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  28. @Peter Frost
    I’m not talking about natural selection, I’m talking about the whole thing, from the big bang to all the different and innumerable things that led to our planet and life arising on our planet.

    I, too, am talking about the whole thing. Evolution by natural selection is limited to biological organisms, but natural selection itself applies to everything. There is a continual process of selection against things that are unstable and ephemeral, and this is as true for chemistry and physics as it is for biology.

    A large part of the religious impulse arises from the fear of death

    I rediscovered Christianity in my late 20s, and I got to know many other young adults like myself. For us, fear of death wasn't a reason. We had strong social needs, and those needs weren't being met in secular society. A related reason was a desire to meet "serious" people of the opposite sex, i.e., a single person who is willing to commit to a lifelong relationship and family formation. In modern society, such a desire is considered "religious."

    For me, another reason was a desire to rediscover my roots . I was interested in genealogy and history, and I wanted to learn more about my heritage. It was an identitarian thing.

    What, if anything, does an evolutionist believe comes after death, and how does he know?

    Biologically, we continue to live after death in our children and, to a lesser extent, in our kinfolk. You can verify this by looking at your children and your kinfolk. Do you see yourself in them?

    I have no problem with people who believe in a spiritual life after death --- as long as this belief doesn't compromise the other life after death, the kind that really does exist and whose existence is verifiable.

    An evolutionist believes that every human alive is at the end of a very long line of ancestors


    Each of us is both the end of a long line of ancestors and, potentially, the beginning of a long line of descendants.

    one wonders about the birth of religions such as the Bahá’í Faith and Mormons, which got off the ground despite persecution, or maybe because of persecution.

    I knew a fervent Catholic who said that Catholicism was in a healthier state in countries where it's persecuted. Wherever Catholicism is the majority faith, it falls victim to dry rot and apathy. The same can be said for any religion.

    What about the promise of eternal life that many religions offer (such as Fred Reed mentions in a comment)? This is different from existential certainty. For one thing, it may be enhanced by an element of uncertainty (heaven or hell).

    This is a reason for older people, so it probably didn't show up in that twin study (the participants were mostly in their 40s). In my opinion, fear of death is a terrible reason for becoming a Christian. It can also do more harm than good. When I left the United Church, there were many elderly churchgoers who felt the same way as I did but they were afraid to leave. If they left, they would have to start anew in another church whose traditions would be different.

    Speaking for myself, I can't think of a single church I would feel at home in today. Almost all of them are punch-drunk on globalism. In some ways, the "conservative" churches are worse.

    There is a continual process of selection against things that are unstable and ephemeral, and this is as true for chemistry and physics as it is for biology.

    But this is but a metaphor – actually a tautology – when applied to physics. Real (biological) natural selection is contingent. (One can imagine the end of biological natural selection – preceding the demise of all organisms, if previous conditions come to mispredict future conditions.)

    Natural selection must always operate on some substrate, which (deterministically) produces the necessary (relative) variation. It can’t be natural selection all the way down – as Smolin more or less concedes in his last book.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond

    (One can imagine the end of biological natural selection – preceding the demise of all organisms, if previous conditions come to mispredict future conditions.)
     
    "Come to mispredict" is better stated as 'fail to predict.' That is (in the extreme) if chaos supervenes.
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  29. @Stephen R. Diamond

    There is a continual process of selection against things that are unstable and ephemeral, and this is as true for chemistry and physics as it is for biology.
     
    But this is but a metaphor - actually a tautology - when applied to physics. Real (biological) natural selection is contingent. (One can imagine the end of biological natural selection - preceding the demise of all organisms, if previous conditions come to mispredict future conditions.)

    Natural selection must always operate on some substrate, which (deterministically) produces the necessary (relative) variation. It can't be natural selection all the way down - as Smolin more or less concedes in his last book.

    (One can imagine the end of biological natural selection – preceding the demise of all organisms, if previous conditions come to mispredict future conditions.)

    “Come to mispredict” is better stated as ‘fail to predict.’ That is (in the extreme) if chaos supervenes.

    Read More
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  30. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Peter Frost
    Are some of the differences between Christianity and Islam today due to that Christianity expanded into an agricultural region, and Islam expanded into a historically predominately nomadic, low-population density region?

    Not really. Historically, much of the Middle East was inhabited by sedentary, agricultural peoples. This was the case with the "Fertile Crescent" (Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia).

    Islam tended to impose a nomadic, pastoral psychology because it was primarily driven by nomadic, pastoral peoples. This point was made by Ibd Khaldun in The Muqaddimah (1377):

    Places that succumb to the Arabs are quickly ruined.
     

    The reason for this is that (the Arabs) are a savage nation, fully accustomed to savagery and the things that cause it. Savagery has become their character and nature. They enjoy it, because it means freedom from authority and no subservience to leadership. Such a natural disposition is the negation and antithesis of civilization. All the customary activities of the Arabs lead to travel and movement. This is the antithesis and negation of stationariness, which produces civilization. For instance, the Arabs need stones to set them up as supports for their cooking pots. So, they take them from buildings which they tear down to get the stones, and use them for that purpose. Wood, too, is needed by them for props for their tents and for use as tent poles for their dwell­ings. So, they tear down roofs to get the wood for that purpose. The very nature of their existence is the negation of building, which is the basis of civilization. This is the case with them quite generally.
     

    Furthermore, it is their nature to plunder whatever other people possess. Their sustenance lies wherever the shadow of their lances falls. They recognize no limit in taking the possessions of other people. Whenever their eyes fall upon some property, furnishings, or utensils, they take it. When they acquire superiority and royal authority, they have complete power to plunder (as they please). There no longer exists any political (power) to protect property, and civilization is ruined.
     

    Furthermore, since they use force to make craftsmen and professional workers do their work, they do not see any value in it and do not pay them for it. Now, as we shall mention, labor is the real basis of profit. When labor is not appreciated and is done for nothing, the hope for profit vanishes, and no (productive) work is done. The sedentary population disperses, and civilization decays.
     

    Furthermore, (the Arabs) are not concerned with laws. (They are not concerned) to deter people from misdeeds or to protect some against the others. They care only for the property that they might take away from people through looting and imposts. When they have obtained that, they have no interest in anything further, such as taking care of (people), looking after their interests, or forcing them not to commit misdeeds. They often level fines on property, because they want to get some advantage, some tax, or profit out of it. This is their custom. It does not help to prevent misdeeds or to deter those who undertake to commit (mis­deeds). On the contrary, it increases (misdeeds), because as compared to getting what one wants, the (possible financial) loss (through fines) is insignificant.
     

    Under the rule of (the Arabs), the subjects live as in a state of anarchy, without law. Anarchy destroys mankind and ruins civilization, since, as we have stated, the existence of royal authority is a natural quality of man. It alone guarantees their existence and social organization. That was mentioned above at the beginning of the chapter.

     

    http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ik/Muqaddimah/Chapter2/Ch_2_25.htm

    There are anti-globalist denominations like Christian Identity


    "Useful idiots" would be a more appropriate description than "anti-globalist."

    Is the heritability of atheism known and, if so, how does it compare to the heritability of religiousness?

    It would be the same heritability. If you're not religious, you would presumably be atheist (or agnostic). In other words, if you don't feel a deep need for fellowship and existential certainty, you will be predisposed to atheism.

    There are Christian Identity congregations that are private and don’t make waves. Just because you don’t find them respectable doesn’t mean that they’re “useful idiots”.

    There are others, such as various Anabaptist sects and other sects, that are also anti-globalist denominations.

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  31. Luke Lea says: • Website

    It would be interesting to see a study like this done with Ashkenazi Jews, who, I am guessing, are by some measures the most religious people in the world. Why else do they join so many causes? BTW, 45% plus 11% equals 56%. What about the other 44%?

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  32. If you’re not religious, you would presumably be atheist (or agnostic).

    I am not sure about that. It’s not an either/or situation. Between religiosity and atheism, there is a wide range of beliefs. I remember reading a study about most people in Europe being non religious but believing in something (a God, a spiritual realm, even in life after death). In surveys, I remember that most unaffiliated were not atheist or agnostic.

    This correlates with my experience as an European Spaniard living in Central America. Most people in Spain and Central America that do not go to any church and do not give any importance to God or religion in their lives, they have a vague belief in God. You find it in some slips of the tongue, in crisis situations or if you ask them.

    The hardcore atheist is a minority. I guess there is some biological component, due to the correlation between autism or atheism. Maybe people too focused on the left hemisphere (human logic, reason, language and so on) have a tendency towards atheism.

    Anyway, I still think that environmental factors are more important. When I was a kid, most people in Spain were Catholic (I mean more than 90% and probably more than 95%) because the regime was Catholic and the elites were Catholic so the mass media and the school transmitted this religion. This is not only a statistic, it was lived in ordinary lives and even a kid like me realized it. Then a change of regime happened and the elites became nonreligious leftist and transmitted this ideology through the mass media and the school. Now most people are nonreligious leftist (of course, except the Muslim immigrants that have a higher birthrate, so religiosity is increasing, only that not a Christian one). I don’t think the genetics have changed in 40 years.

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  33. iffen says:

    The emotional person that we are traverses life roughly guided by the intellect. Somewhat like an emotional luge careening down a frozen intellectual course. The variation in our emotional disposition is likely greater than the variation in IQ and that variation is likely more heritable. The interplay between the intellect and the emotional is not as predictable as the interplay between the intellect and the levers of “success” in complex societies.

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  34. @ Peter Frost

    I rediscovered Christianity in my late 20s, and I got to know many other young adults like myself. For us, fear of death wasn’t a reason. We had strong social needs, and those needs weren’t being met in secular society. A related reason was a desire to meet “serious” people of the opposite sex [...] For me, another reason was a desire to rediscover my roots . I was interested in genealogy and history, and I wanted to learn more about my heritage. It was an identitarian thing.

    I guess everyone has a different path towards religion and non-religion because every mind is different. Mine was about philosophy and study of some phenomena that do not fit in the current materialistic worldview (and, hence, they are ignored). But, IMHO, Peter’s path and my path are minority.

    Most people go back to religion when they marry and have kids because they want their kids to have the religious values that they themselves inherited and they cherish (not the belief in God but values about being a good person and so on, that are not exclusively religious but are traditionally transmitted in a religious environment). This is why the West has become secularized, since the traditional family has been in decline. This book explains it better than I could because my English has a lot of limitations.

    http://www.amazon.com/How-West-Really-Lost-Secularization/dp/1599474662

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  35. Sorry, as always, my English sucks. In my first comment.

    “to the correlation between autism or atheism. Maybe people too focused on the left hemisphere ”

    must be read

    “to the correlation between autism and atheism. Maybe people very focused on the left hemisphere”

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  36. But this is but a metaphor – actually a tautology – when applied to physics. Real (biological) natural selection is contingent.

    Natural selection produces more dramatic results with biological organisms because they reproduce. Nonetheless, there is natural selection even with inanimate things. The universe, by its very nature, favors entities that are more stable and longer-lasting, and these qualities in turn tend to favor increasing complexity.

    This is why even the inanimate universe tends to be self-organizing. The evolution of the solar system is one example, and I can think of others.

    Just because you don’t find them respectable doesn’t mean that they’re “useful idiots”.

    It doesn’t matter whether I find them disrespectable. What matters is whether they seem to be a respectable option to people who are disillusioned with globalism.

    It would be interesting to see a study like this done with Ashkenazi Jews, who, I am guessing, are by some measures the most religious people in the world.

    Again, “religiosity” is a slippery concept. Judaism itself has many components, although the main ones are the important of knowing divine law and the belief in a future end time when all injustice will be banished. These qualities are also present in Christianity.

    BTW, 45% plus 11% equals 56%. What about the other 44%?

    Fred pointed to fear of death as a factor. I suspect reverence for a father figure is another, although that overlaps with the desire for existential certainty.

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  37. Should be “the importance of divine law” in my above comment.

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  38. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    OT

    This is sort of interesting.

    http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/white-skin-developed-europe-only-recently-8000-years-020287

    This may be true, but then it only proves we are right about evolution being an ongoing process.

    The Left has insisted that human evolution ended 10,000 yrs ago.

    Apparently not.

    Also, even if Europeans had darker skin, it doesn’t mean they were black like Africans. Lots of Asian-Indians have dark skin, but they are genetically closer to Caucasians.

    Race isn’t just about skin color. Both whites and East Asians are light-skinned but racially different. Arabs are darker-skinned than East Asians, but they are genetically closer to Europeans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Santoculto
    Macro-human evolution seems to be stopped since appearence of first known civilizations, what has happened is the occurence of localized adaptations/diversification but adaptation also can be understood as little evolution. New adaptation is a natural but not essential evolutionary path, adapt, increase genetic diferentiation. Adaptation is a obvious event for living beings because the obligatoriety (very obvious) of space/time to live and evolve.

    Interesting notes about myself and my (irritant) ''brothers''. My middle-older brother is phenotypically different than me and my older brother , (we are phenotypically similar at point that people confuse us in the streets ... people are half-blind*** i'm good at face recognition, ;) ). He's also much more religious than us, my older brother is atheist, have libertarian inclinations, work with games and have emotional intelligence at retarded level. My middle-older brother is also a leftoid, those who ''think' blacks are like wronged gods and have new age spiritual inclinations. ''Mein'' (loved) older brother and me look like my mother (fair skin, turkish looking) and by maternal lineage there is a historical of mental illness (my uncle is a pathological liar, a depressed aunt who commited suicide) while my middle brother look like my father. Both of my parents are religious, not at fanatic levels but enough to mediate your lifes to go in the church every sunday and believe slightly in ''ark of noah'' idiocy. They are not dumb, otherwise, my mother have greater verbal 'intelligence'' (cognition) and my father seems have very good spatial reasoning and other good personality traits like honesty. My middle brother is also very social while i'm the least social (::). In this particular context, i think higher mutational load by maternal side contributes to this differences specially atheism/agnosticism by my older brother and me, if not we should be similar.

    leftism seems have two very different types

    narcisistic

    and

    neo-christian (missionary)


    Narcisistic leftoids said '''all of us are the same'' because they need try eliminate your low self steem, if narcisism tend to be a unbalanced response for lower self steem. They feell different and this difference can produce prejudice against them.

    Neo-christian leftoids said ''all of us are the same'' because christianism is a ''place'' where the poorest will have the key of heaven, basically the christian dualistic/binary (anti-wise) morality but without rampant hypocrisy those we read in bibble.

    Christians said ''all of us are the same'' .... but.... homossexuals are inferior.

    Neo-christians leftoids said ''all of us are the same AND it mean literally that all of us are the same'', less those who are too good to be truth like northern blonde blue eyes europeans, master race.

    Literalized christianism is a complete inversion of natural selection if they prefer the poorest than the richest.

    Christianism promisse the heaven if you work based on guidelines of system.

    neo-christian leftism don't promisse heaven, they want change Earth into a heaven, less for someone who are against them.
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  39. @Peter Frost
    Are some of the differences between Christianity and Islam today due to that Christianity expanded into an agricultural region, and Islam expanded into a historically predominately nomadic, low-population density region?

    Not really. Historically, much of the Middle East was inhabited by sedentary, agricultural peoples. This was the case with the "Fertile Crescent" (Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia).

    Islam tended to impose a nomadic, pastoral psychology because it was primarily driven by nomadic, pastoral peoples. This point was made by Ibd Khaldun in The Muqaddimah (1377):

    Places that succumb to the Arabs are quickly ruined.
     

    The reason for this is that (the Arabs) are a savage nation, fully accustomed to savagery and the things that cause it. Savagery has become their character and nature. They enjoy it, because it means freedom from authority and no subservience to leadership. Such a natural disposition is the negation and antithesis of civilization. All the customary activities of the Arabs lead to travel and movement. This is the antithesis and negation of stationariness, which produces civilization. For instance, the Arabs need stones to set them up as supports for their cooking pots. So, they take them from buildings which they tear down to get the stones, and use them for that purpose. Wood, too, is needed by them for props for their tents and for use as tent poles for their dwell­ings. So, they tear down roofs to get the wood for that purpose. The very nature of their existence is the negation of building, which is the basis of civilization. This is the case with them quite generally.
     

    Furthermore, it is their nature to plunder whatever other people possess. Their sustenance lies wherever the shadow of their lances falls. They recognize no limit in taking the possessions of other people. Whenever their eyes fall upon some property, furnishings, or utensils, they take it. When they acquire superiority and royal authority, they have complete power to plunder (as they please). There no longer exists any political (power) to protect property, and civilization is ruined.
     

    Furthermore, since they use force to make craftsmen and professional workers do their work, they do not see any value in it and do not pay them for it. Now, as we shall mention, labor is the real basis of profit. When labor is not appreciated and is done for nothing, the hope for profit vanishes, and no (productive) work is done. The sedentary population disperses, and civilization decays.
     

    Furthermore, (the Arabs) are not concerned with laws. (They are not concerned) to deter people from misdeeds or to protect some against the others. They care only for the property that they might take away from people through looting and imposts. When they have obtained that, they have no interest in anything further, such as taking care of (people), looking after their interests, or forcing them not to commit misdeeds. They often level fines on property, because they want to get some advantage, some tax, or profit out of it. This is their custom. It does not help to prevent misdeeds or to deter those who undertake to commit (mis­deeds). On the contrary, it increases (misdeeds), because as compared to getting what one wants, the (possible financial) loss (through fines) is insignificant.
     

    Under the rule of (the Arabs), the subjects live as in a state of anarchy, without law. Anarchy destroys mankind and ruins civilization, since, as we have stated, the existence of royal authority is a natural quality of man. It alone guarantees their existence and social organization. That was mentioned above at the beginning of the chapter.

     

    http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ik/Muqaddimah/Chapter2/Ch_2_25.htm

    There are anti-globalist denominations like Christian Identity


    "Useful idiots" would be a more appropriate description than "anti-globalist."

    Is the heritability of atheism known and, if so, how does it compare to the heritability of religiousness?

    It would be the same heritability. If you're not religious, you would presumably be atheist (or agnostic). In other words, if you don't feel a deep need for fellowship and existential certainty, you will be predisposed to atheism.

    “Useful idiots” would be a more appropriate description than “anti-globalist.”

    Thanks, ;)

    But not, because useful idiots are extremely common, much more common than you imagine.

    Ignorance is not just a bliss but a human universal trait.

    Useful idiots procreates as rabbits.

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  40. @Priss Factor
    OT

    This is sort of interesting.

    http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/white-skin-developed-europe-only-recently-8000-years-020287

    This may be true, but then it only proves we are right about evolution being an ongoing process.

    The Left has insisted that human evolution ended 10,000 yrs ago.

    Apparently not.

    Also, even if Europeans had darker skin, it doesn't mean they were black like Africans. Lots of Asian-Indians have dark skin, but they are genetically closer to Caucasians.

    Race isn't just about skin color. Both whites and East Asians are light-skinned but racially different. Arabs are darker-skinned than East Asians, but they are genetically closer to Europeans.

    Macro-human evolution seems to be stopped since appearence of first known civilizations, what has happened is the occurence of localized adaptations/diversification but adaptation also can be understood as little evolution. New adaptation is a natural but not essential evolutionary path, adapt, increase genetic diferentiation. Adaptation is a obvious event for living beings because the obligatoriety (very obvious) of space/time to live and evolve.

    Interesting notes about myself and my (irritant) ”brothers”. My middle-older brother is phenotypically different than me and my older brother , (we are phenotypically similar at point that people confuse us in the streets … people are half-blind*** i’m good at face recognition, ;) ). He’s also much more religious than us, my older brother is atheist, have libertarian inclinations, work with games and have emotional intelligence at retarded level. My middle-older brother is also a leftoid, those who ”think’ blacks are like wronged gods and have new age spiritual inclinations. ”Mein” (loved) older brother and me look like my mother (fair skin, turkish looking) and by maternal lineage there is a historical of mental illness (my uncle is a pathological liar, a depressed aunt who commited suicide) while my middle brother look like my father. Both of my parents are religious, not at fanatic levels but enough to mediate your lifes to go in the church every sunday and believe slightly in ”ark of noah” idiocy. They are not dumb, otherwise, my mother have greater verbal ‘intelligence” (cognition) and my father seems have very good spatial reasoning and other good personality traits like honesty. My middle brother is also very social while i’m the least social (::). In this particular context, i think higher mutational load by maternal side contributes to this differences specially atheism/agnosticism by my older brother and me, if not we should be similar.

    leftism seems have two very different types

    narcisistic

    and

    neo-christian (missionary)

    Narcisistic leftoids said ”’all of us are the same” because they need try eliminate your low self steem, if narcisism tend to be a unbalanced response for lower self steem. They feell different and this difference can produce prejudice against them.

    Neo-christian leftoids said ”all of us are the same” because christianism is a ”place” where the poorest will have the key of heaven, basically the christian dualistic/binary (anti-wise) morality but without rampant hypocrisy those we read in bibble.

    Christians said ”all of us are the same” …. but…. homossexuals are inferior.

    Neo-christians leftoids said ”all of us are the same AND it mean literally that all of us are the same”, less those who are too good to be truth like northern blonde blue eyes europeans, master race.

    Literalized christianism is a complete inversion of natural selection if they prefer the poorest than the richest.

    Christianism promisse the heaven if you work based on guidelines of system.

    neo-christian leftism don’t promisse heaven, they want change Earth into a heaven, less for someone who are against them.

    Read More
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  41. Priss,

    The article somewhat misrepresents the findings of the study it’s based on (see

    http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2015/03/13/016477)

    The following is a comment I made on that study:

    I agree that Europeans became light-skinned relatively late in time. Beleza et al. (2013) estimate that the derived alleles at SLC45A2 and SLC24A5 originated between 19,000 and 11,000 years ago. Canfield et al. (2014) suggest a time range of 19,200 to 7,600 BP for the derived allele at SLC24A5. These are estimates, and the exact dates will remain unknown until we can retrieve ancient DNA from the late Upper Paleolithic/early Holocene. Most likely this change took place during the second half of the last ice age.

    I disagree with the conclusion that these derived alleles originated among early European farmers. Yes, these alleles are absent from late hunter-gatherers in Spain, Luxembourg, and Hungary, but they are present in late hunter-gatherers from Sweden (Motala), Karelia, and Russia (Samara) (see discussion at: http://www.eupedia.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-30957.html)

    The authors acknowledge this point towards the end of their text:

    We find a surprise in six Scandinavian hunter-gatherers (SHG) from the Motala site in southern Sweden. […] A second surprise is that, unlike closely related western hunter-gatherers, the Motala samples have predominantly derived pigmentation alleles at SLC45A2 and SLC24A5.

    This seems to undermine the authors’ argument that light European skin originated in Neolithic farmers from Anatolia, and then spread into Europe through migration. Such an argument fails to account for the presence of these same alleles in northern and eastern Europeans at the same time date, if not earlier. Again, we won’t be able to resolve this problem until we can retrieve earlier ancient DNA, particularly from the hunter-gatherers of northern and eastern Europe.

    References

    Beleza, S., Murias dos Santos, A., McEvoy, B., Alves, I., Martinho, C., Cameron, E., Shriver, M.D., Parra E.J., & Rocha, J. (2013). The timing of pigmentation lightening in Europeans. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 30, 24-35.

    Canfield, V.A., Berg, A., Peckins, S., Wentzel, S.M., Ang, K.C., Oppenheimer, S., & Cheng, K.C. (2014). Molecular phylogeography of a human autosomal skin color locus under natural selection, G3, 3, 2059-2067.

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  42. JayMan says: • Website

    On point post.

    I should have stopped by here sooner, but readers see also:

    The Atheist Narrative

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