This unique and pioneering book critically appraises current work from both the cognitive science of religion and the evolutionary study of religion. It addresses the question: Why does the believer possess supernatural or religious beliefs in the combined context of his cognitive biases, their adaptive usefulness measured in terms of survival and reproduction, and the impact of social learning and cultural traits? The authors outlines a pluralistic approach to the study of religion that does not treat religion as an accidental (...) by-product but an adaptation selected by natural selection. Chapters discuss the role of religious components for the evolution of cooperation and altruism, and explore the development of atheism and secular ideas, in cognitive and evolutionary terms. Topics such as the usefulness of religion, the transmission of religious beliefs, and a Darwinian approach to religion are among those addressed. Contrary to standard views, religious biases are regarded as shaped by cultural influences and not merely by natural dispositions. This monograph will particularly appeal to researchers who are looking for a scientific explanation of religion and religious beliefs but who do not stop at the level of narrow cognitive and evolutionary accounts. The work will also be of interest to students of philosophy, sociology, religious studies, theology, or anthropology who seek to explain such fascinating, complex, and unequivocal phenomena as religion and religious components. (shrink)
This article examines some selected ethical issues in human space missions including human missions to Mars, particularly the idea of a space refuge, the scientific value of space exploration, and the possibility of human gene editing for deep-space travel. Each of these issues may be used either to support or to criticize human space missions. We conclude that while these issues are complex and context-dependent, there appear to be no overwhelming obstacles such as cost effectiveness, threats to human life or (...) protection of pristine space objects, to sending humans to space and to colonize space. The article argues for the rationality of the idea of a space refuge and the defensibility of the idea of human enhancement applied to future deep-space astronauts. (shrink)
As we look beyond our terrestrial boundary to a multi-planetary future for humankind, it becomes paramount to anticipate the challenges of various human factors on the most likely scenario for this future: permanent human settlement of Mars. Even if technical hurdles are circumvented to provide adequate resources for basic physiological and psychological needs, Homo sapiens will not survive on an alien planet if a dysfunctional psyche prohibits the utilization of these resources. No matter how far we soar into the stars, (...) our psychologies for future generations will be forever tethered to the totality of our surroundings. By shaping our environment toward survival and welfare during the voyage to Mars and in a Martian colony, we indirectly shape our psyches and prepare them for a mission of unprecedented alienation and duration. Once on Mars, human factors such as leadership structure, social organization and code of conduct, group size, gender balance, developmental cycle, mobility, length of stay and the ecological settings and type and manner of subsistence, will create a novel Martian culture. The degree that settlers are severed from the Earth will affect how radically foreign this culture will be when compared with cultures on Earth. (shrink)
Religious beliefs can be explained in two different ways, cognitive and adaptationist. Each of them is another kind of explanation, one is proximate and the other ultimate. Each of them provides the other with a specific status for religious beliefs, such as by-product or adaptation. However, there is no clarity of how cognition itself could be religiously biased and how the religious/theistic approach could work as a default cognitive mode, as Cognitive Science of Religion suggests. I would like to criticize (...) cognitive assumptions in the study of religion and show how adaptationist accounts are preferable. I specifically focus on the functional context of religious components, the social and psychological applications. I suggest how discussing about a cognitive basis does not matter in these fields and the cognitive account cannot explain the ubiquity of religious components that lie in their function, rather than the alleged connection with cognition. (shrink)
A manned mission to Mars is faced with challenges and topics that may not be obvious but of great importance and challenging for such a mission. This is the first book that collects contributions from scholars in various fields, from astronomy and medicine, to theology and philosophy, addressing such topics. The discussion goes beyond medical and technological challenges of such a deep-space mission. The focus is on human nature, human emotions and biases in such a new environment. The primary audience (...) for this book are all researchers interested in the human factor in a space mission including philosophers, social scientists, astronomers, and others. This volume will also be of high interest for a much wider audience like the non-academic world, or for students. (shrink)
This article considers the application of sexual selection theory to the study of religion by discussing the basic concepts and theories in sexual selection and then outlines possibilities of its application to the study of the evolution of religion. The first section outlines basic principles in the sexual selection account, including the evolution of human mating strategies based on dimorphism, gender differences in human mating strategies, and the role of different cultural activities in mating dynamics. Such an overview may be (...) useful for the readers who are less familiar with the basic assumptions of the sexual selection theory. The remaining sections demonstrate how religion may function as a signal for mating qualities associated with a long-term mating strategy and how different facets of religiosity may help to support long-term mating strategies. The key idea of the article is that there are good reasons to try to explain the evolution of at least some of the components of religion in terms of sexual selection. (shrink)
:Any space program involving long-term human missions will have to cope with serious risks to human health and life. Because currently available countermeasures are insufficient in the long term, there is a need for new, more radical solutions. One possibility is a program of human enhancement for future deep space mission astronauts. This paper discusses the challenges for long-term human missions of a space environment, opening the possibility of serious consideration of human enhancement and a fully automated space exploration, based (...) on highly advanced AI. The author argues that for such projects, there are strong reasons to consider human enhancement, including gene editing of germ line and somatic cells, as a moral duty. (shrink)
Scholars employing an evolutionary approach to the study of religion and religious beliefs search for ultimate explanations of the origin, propagation, and persistence of religious beliefs. This quest often pairs in debate two opposing perspectives: the adaptationist and “by-product” explanations of religion and religious beliefs. The majority of scholars prefer the by-product approach, which is agnostic and even doubtful of the usefulness of religious beliefs. Despite this pervasive negativity, it seems unwarranted to deny the great usefulness of religious beliefs—particularly concerning (...) their past utility. Instead, adaptationist explanations of religion and religious beliefs must be re-established as interesting and useful approaches to the study of religious beliefs. (shrink)
The idea of superintelligence is a source of mainly philosophical and ethical considerations. Those considerations are rooted in the idea that an entity which is more intelligent than humans, may evolve in some point in the future. For obvious reasons, the superintelligence is considered as a kind of existential threat for humanity. In this essay, we discuss two ideas. One of them is the putative nature of future superintelligence which does not necessary need to be harmful for humanity. Our key (...) idea states that the superintelligence does not need to assess its own survival as the highest value. As a kind of intelligence that is not biological, it is not clear what kind of attitude the superintelligent entity may evolve towards living organisms. Our second idea refers to the possible revelation of superintelligence. We assume that the self-revelation of such entity cannot be random. The metaphor of God as a superintelligence is introduced here as a helpful conceptual tool. (shrink)
Approaching the settlement of our Moon from a practical perspective, this book is well suited for space program planners. It addresses a variety of human factor topics involved in colonizing Earth's Moon, including: history, philosophy, science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, politics & policy, sociology, and anthropology. Each chapter identifies the complex, interdisciplinary issues of the human factor that arise in the early phases of settlement on the Moon. Besides practical issues, there is some emphasis placed on preserving, protecting, and experiencing the (...) lunar environment across a broad range of occupations, from scientists to soldiers and engineers to construction workers. The book identifies utilitarian and visionary factors that shape human lives on the Moon. It offers recommendations for program planners in the government and commercial sectors and serves as a helpful resource for academic researchers. Together, the coauthors ask and attempt to answer: “How will lunar society be different?”. (shrink)
HEGEL AS THE CRITIC OF POSITIVE RELIGIONS. THE POSITIVITY OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION AND CONTESTATION OF VALUE OF REVEALED RELIGION Hegel had radically criticized positive religion. Its comparison with natural religions showed abstract and transcendent understanding Divinity and its concentration on rites and rituals. Hegel underlined ethical implications of positive religion, searching for negative influence of religion on individual and social life. Hegel’s critique is important moment of progress of critical, modern philosophical thought.
Staying alive theory explains why women have more effective self-protective mechanisms in terms of woman's role as a mother and caregiver. This theory reinforces stereotypes and the relationship of oppression and submission to men. Somewhat paradoxically, it also points to women's lower quality of life, which may be explained by their greater fear of threats caused by men's power.
Yuri Gagarin has started the first time in human history the manned mission in space when his Vostok aircraft successfully achieved Earth orbit in 1961. Since his times, human space programs did not develop too much, and the biggest achievement still remain landing on the Moon. Despite this stagnation, there are serious plans to launch manned mission to Mars including human space settlement. In out paper, we are going to identify and discuss a couple of challenges that – in our (...) opinion – will be a domain of every human deep-space program. (shrink)
Religious beliefs and religion are usually interpreted in terms of their social functionality and motivating social cooperation, as well as in terms of their alleged truthfulness. Here I suggest interpreting religious beliefs and religion with regard to their psychological function. I claim that their pro-social function is an accidental property, reducible to some mechanisms of tribal psychology, rather than a feature of religion itself. I emphasize that the epistemic function is not the main function of religious beliefs and religion. These (...) beliefs are in some sense immune to critique due to their merely psychological function. Throughout my paper I refer to the cognitive science of religion. (shrink)
Biomedical moral enhancement is an idea which states that human moral intuitions and patterns may be artificially improved by biomedical means. The rationale which lies behind moral bioenhancement is rooted in the idea that humans – in a moral and behavioral sense – are not evolutionally adapted to current ecological challenges. This idea is discussed in the paper in relation to human space missions to Mars and beyond. Because the space environment is a hazardous environment, there are some reasons to (...) consider the idea of moral bioenhancement for the purposes of mission success and the safety of astronauts/space settlers. This paper discusses that idea in the context of a broader discussion on moral enhancement, moral bioenhancement related to earthly issues, and the idea of moral progress. (shrink)
Cognitive approach towards the study of religion is a good and promising way. However, I think that this approach is too narrow and it would be better to use some basic concepts of CSR as a starting point for further, not cognitive explanation of religious. I suppose that religious beliefs should be explained also by their pragmatic functions because they were probably always associated with some pragmatic purposes at the group or at the individual levels. To develop further this last (...) approach, the good explanatory way is the evolutionary study of religion. (shrink)
Many scholars that study of religion and religious beliefs find that they affect behavioral patterns. Some of them suggest that this impact is morally wrong because religion and religious beliefs can cause aggression, conflicts, and wars. However, it seems that this topic is more complicated and complex. Here I show that religion and religious beliefs can affect mentioned above morally wrong patterns only in some particular cases. Usually they do not do it. Here I show an outline of philosophical historical (...) approach that was critically oriented against religion and that accused it about conflicts and wars. Then I briefly discuss two current scientific research approaches to the study of religion, cognitive and evolutionary. They falsify these critically oriented philosophers because they treat connection between religious beliefs and conflicts as random and necessary. The core idea of this paper assumes that religious beliefs do not affect aggression and wars directly. They can sometimes strengthen or weaken some biological mechanisms that then can be used to compete by conflicts or by not-violent inter-group competition. (shrink)
The most skeptical contribution to this volume enumerates and discusses a broad set of challenges connected with the so-called human factor in a mission to Mars. Discussed issues include rationales for a human versus uncrewed mission, financial challenges affected mostly by unclear and weak rationales for human mission, challenges of sustainable development, complex hazardous impacts of space environment for human mental, and physiological health. The last of the discussed challenges, the idea of human enhancement applied for the purpose of human (...) deep-space missions, shows how technological issues—mostly long journey or ineffective countermeasures—might affect ethical concerns. While this idea might seem to be too far in the future, the chapter shows that it may be a serious and possibly unexpected long-term consequence of this program. This chapter does not determine whether a human mission to Mars is possible or not, nor whether such a mission makes any sense at all. One side of this chapter assumes that it is hard to find a strong rationale as measured in financial terms. The question of rationale is getting harder when a cost–benefit analysis—including risks for human health and life—is applied. On the other side, these skeptical remarks are designed to show that the idea of making humans a multi-planetary species is, in fact, extrapolation and projection of all problems and challenges known on Earth, which is intensified by putting Mars astronauts in the hazardous space environment. (shrink)
Cooperation is a great challenge for natural selection. Some scholars assume that cooperation could not evolve within the framework of natural selection. It is undeniable that natural selection, at least at the individual level, favors selfishness and defectors. Nonetheless, this selfish tendency does not necessarily imply that cooperation could not evolve by means of natural selection. In this paper, we specifically acknowledge certain basic challenges for the evolution of the human ability to cooperate at the level of large groups. In (...) this paper, we discuss topics like the human ability for “supercooperation,” the importance of repetition and reputation, and Multilevel Selection Theory as the basic mechanisms of evolution of cooperation. (shrink)
Despite development of secular ideas and concepts in the Western world, we can observe increasing interest in the study of religion. However, this popularity of the study of religion and different research approaches has caused that in some sense scholars that were studying religion came to a dead point. Here I show that the most optimal research approach in the study of religion is pluralistic, integral paradigm which connects old traditional methods with naturalistic, cognitive and sometimes experimental approach.
This paper recalls a less known aspect of Hegelian philosophy of religion consisting in the radical critique of Christendom. Hegel criticized first of all Roman Catholic Church unlike Protestantism. Hegel underlined no biblical legitimization of church institution and therefore interpreted Christianity as a voluntary association but not as a mass institution. He also indicated negative implications of positive religion’s ethics. His views were characteristic for critical philosophy of religion developer since the 17th till the 19th century. Today Hegel’s views may (...) be relevant in debates on political secularization explaining genesis of important stream in Western Europe which questions meaning of authorities especially religious. (shrink)
The cultural policy of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland is incorporated into state-run cultural policies. The organs of public authority enforce the objectives of Church regardless of Church’s actual ability to influence the society. It should be pointed out that the secularization of religion in Poland is frequently misinterpreted and usually equated with its deprivatization. It is worth mentioning that Catholicism is the dominant religion of the country and the Roman Catholic Church has hold a special position in Poland (...) and play a major role in the country’s social and political life. In practice, however, Polish society appears to be religiously indifferent. This paper proves that the official, state-run cultural policy in Poland is based on favoritism of the Roman Catholic Church, regardless of Church’s actual ability to wield influence on society. Thus, there is a variety of implicit and explicit cultural policies implemented by the authorities to support Church. This work also aims at addressing the question of social attitudes to women, especially the one concerning the UN and EU law embracing women’s rights, until recently still not implemented in Poland. This paper further explores some peculiarities of this topic as an example of a specific outcome of Church cultural policy and its impact on both the past and present-day society. (shrink)