God would be a costly accident: Supernatural beliefs as adaptive

Dominic D. P. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

Abstract

I take up the challenge of why false beliefs are better than "cautious action policies" (target article, sect. 9) in navigating adaptive problems with asymmetric errors. I then suggest that there are interactions between supernatural beliefs, self-deception, and positive illusions, rendering elements of all such misbeliefs adaptive, Finally, I argue that supernatural beliefs cannot be rejected as adaptive simply because recent experiments are inconclusive. The great costs of religion betray its even greater adaptive benefits - we just have not yet nailed down exactly what they are.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-+
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

Keywords

  • EVOLUTION
  • BEHAVIOR
  • BIASES

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