Re: Religion is probably a good thing

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri Oct 26 2001 - 02:56:49 MDT

I think that the strongest force promoting religion, in the ancestral
environment, was the social reprisal that tended to be visited on the
nonreligious. Social reprisals are visited on people who are a *little
less* religious - people who fall behind in the competition - not just
people from different religions. If you'd grown up in any time prior to
the seventeenth century, or anywhere except the First World, this would
probably be the first thought that passed through your mind. Even in a
purely memetic environment - with no God module - memes that 'logically'
require enforcement will tend to propagate. This environmental condition
has been maintained for at least a hundred thousand years and probably
more like a million. So now there are God modules. Innate advantage?
Seems unlikely. Social advantage only. Disadvantage in an absolute

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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