Meme or Gene: Is the Belief in Religion an Evolutionary Trait?

Posted on May 25, 2009

I recently read that Richard Dawkins had recently conceded that evolution cannot explain the existence of creationists. I’m not really sure how reliable the quote is given that it provides no context or reference. The man has also been misquoted many times in the past, including one choice quote which would have him purportedly supporting intelligent design! Media is becoming ever more unreliable as access to publishing becomes more ubiquitous.

However, the article did get my primitive brain wheels moving. How much of our experience and knowledge is encoded in our genes? Are we born with genetic predispositions to religious or secularist thoughts? I’m sure there have been many studies into this line of questioning. As far as I am aware there are still people debating the existence of the “criminal gene,” despite the heaps of skepticism the original study received. So is belief in religion a behaviour, or is it more likely a learned trait? Nature vs. Nurture so to speak?


Someone alerted me that the article I linked to was a satire piece. My apologies for lacking a sense of humour. It is rather witty.