Re: Religion as technology (was Why we believe )

From: Eirikur Hallgrimsson (
Date: Wed Jul 05 2000 - 19:11:23 MDT

On Wed, 05 Jul 2000, Nigel Hammersted wrote:
> the 6 characteristics listed above would seem to
> greatly contribute to the ability of human groups to
> pool the resources and abilities of individuals in
> fighting other groups

I agree that religion is a social technology of a sort. Successful
ones manage to change with the times, which means that they are a
meta-meme, not a simple meme. It appears that the fact that it is a
social technology is obscured deliberately by the priestly class out
of fear of losing adherents. I think this is why doctrinal changes
that are required for survival (think Catholicism in the USA) are
slow in coming. You can't change the things that people are
supposed to have blind faith in very quickly. This appears to me to
be a major failing, especially as the world speeds up.

It has occurred to me and many others that a carefully designed
religion could grow and adapt very rapidly. It's not clear how much
of the fitness space for religions has actually been explored, or how
that space is changing due to global communications.

It would be interesting to see a viral meme religion that defined the
social contract (as we've been discussing) in a way that was not
coercive of conformity. I'd still probably be against it on general
principles of rationality. Programming people to act the way that I
want them to doesn't promote rationality at all.


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