Monday, June 2, 2008

Hacking the Mesorah

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen - you too can simulate the evolution of religion! All you need is SciLab, an open-source numerical computation program, plus the simulation program EVOGOD!

EVOGOD was written by James Dow, Professor of Anthropology at Oakland University (Rochester, MI). As described in the NewScientist article Religion is a product of evolution, software suggests, "The computer model assumes that a small number of people have a genetic predisposition to communicate unverifiable information to others. They passed on that trait to their children, but they also interacted with people who didn't spread unreal information. The model looks at the reproductive success of the two sorts of people – those who pass on real information, and those who pass on unreal information. Under most scenarios, "believers in the unreal" went extinct. But when Dow included the assumption that non-believers would be attracted to religious people because of some clear, but arbitrary, signal, religion flourished."

Full journal article: Is Religion an Evolutionary Adaptation?

Yehudah Kuzari HaLevi is not a happy camper...

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