INTELLIGENCE and RELIGION
by Jody Nagel
Whenever an adaptation occurs due to natural selection a new predatory niche opens up in which the adaptation is now potential prey. If the niche is filled, the new predator survives by killing its prey. The new predator also performs the role of preventing overpopulation in the new adaptation, and of keeping the new adaptation strong, since the weak are preyed on much more often than the strong.
Consider that, as soon as one-celled organisms evolved, one-celled predators soon followed. When the plant-eating dinosaurs grew ever larger, the meat-eaters grew as well and developed larger and more deadly teeth. When some plant evolves toxic properties, some animal evolves to be immune to the toxin. Humans developed antibiotics, and bacteria have become ever more resistant to these drugs.
Further consider that, for humans, greater INTELLIGENCE has become our most naturally selected attribute. And what is it that has emerged that preys on INTELLIGENCE and that serves to check the rate of growth of INTELLIGENCE? That would, of course, be RELIGION. It feeds off the minds of men, rendering them less fit, and it slows the rate of expansion of INTELLIGENCE throughout mankind. To survive, a religion needs membership, and, like any other predator, it seeks out the weak for its prey.
Usually, a predator is considered to be a different species than that of its prey. I, at any rate, consider this to be true here, as well. A person's religious conversion (either into or out of the religion) essentially transubstantiates him or her into a different type of creature. How terrifying for the small child who, having been snatched up by the grisly mouth of a crocodile, somehow manages to escape death and must live forever with this memory. (The crocodile thinks nothing of it.) And how terrifying for those of us who formerly "believed" in some religion, but, through our sheer will, transmuted back to the world of reason. How terrifying it is to understand how monstrous is this predator, unleashed on our young children while they are weakest. How horrifying to realize that my brain might have been completely drained of rationality and could have been consumed forever by RELIGION. (And, of course, RELIGION thinks nothing of it.)
And yet, because of this predator (i.e., RELIGION), could the strongest intellects become ever stronger and fitter over time? Is the warding off of nonsense, itself, a type of exercise for human INTELLIGENCE?
But this analogy has gone too far! The population of a predator species must necessarily be much smaller than the population of the species it preys on. Yet RELIGION claims an overwhelmingly large percentage of humanity for its victims. Strong intellects among humans, capable of defending themselves from religious indoctrination, are all too rare. What a shame!
Or has the analogy gone too far, after all? For the great majority of the five-million-year history of hominids, the intellect was not great enough for the predator RELIGION to appear. Only in the last small fraction of all this time do we find the need to defend humans from religious nonsense. Unfortunately, however, it now appears that INTELLIGENCE is losing the battle with RELIGION. Perhaps INTELLIGENCE is simply not fit enough to survive this type of predation. Just as the North American mastodons could not withstand the arrival of man, and became extinct, the short-lived Age of Reason may be crushed by RELIGION and become extinct also.
And, as if to rub salt into the wounds of dying INTELLIGENCE, RELIGION is dimly aware of all of this, and calls it "the End Times." And with hideous indignation and foaming jowls, RELIGION has the audacity of blaming the world's problems all on INTELLIGENCE. After all of the prey is gone, will the predator remain capable of surviving? Maybe it will need to find a new prey, and begin trying to convert Man's Best Friend, after canine brains evolve a bit. With INTELLIGENCE in humans out of the way, the niche will be left wide open. (You never know; it could be dogs!)
June 25, 2012