30 January 2006 at 1:02 pm Leave a comment

I was reading in the Boston Globe today about Daniel Dennett’s new book titled Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenonemon (see ).

I would classify it in the realm of “neurotheology,” the topic of a different book I’ve looked at on this topic (titled Why God Won’t Go Away by Andrew Newberg et al.). The idea that religion is an evolved phenomenon that bestows some form of evolutionary advantage makes complete sense to me. The book is not out until Feb. 2nd or I would already have it. . . .

The article mentions that he resorts to “meme theory” to explain the phenomenon:

In ”Breaking the Spell” he [Dennett] takes a stab at reconciling rational and pre-rational, individual and group explanations under the umbrella of ”meme” theory. Memes, an invention of the British biologist Richard Dawkins, are gene-like units of culture that proliferate, virus-like, using human minds as carriers: a preference for a certain brand of sneakers, say, or the opening bars of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, or, in Dennett’s version, an article of faith like the belief in reincarnation. Dennett is one of the idea’s few serious proponents.

Meme theory also makes a great deal of sense to me and is part of my theory of energonomics. Organized religion is a way of channeling “human energy” (as Teilhard de Chardin would phrase it) in certain directions and for particular purposes. An energonomist must take into account the influence of religion on the flow of energy through our universe.


Entry filed under: books, energonomics, memes, science.

Energy and the Evolution of Life Social Neuroscience

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January 2006
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