Home Discussion Forum How does Evolution account for Spirituality???

How does Evolution account for Spirituality???

Okay, basically the scientific theory of evolution states that life as we know it evolved and is evolving through a process called ‘Natural Selection,’ where heritable traits helpful to survival and reproduction become more common in a population and harmful traits become rare. Okay, thats cool..makes sense, i can dig it.
But where in that whole equation does the spiritual component of the human brain come into play? What sort of environmental shift would have had to occured in order for some neurological genetic mutation that ‘imagines’ or ‘invents’ the existence of something nonperceivable by the Five Basic Senses? From what scientific standpoint is the Pineal Gland AKA “The Third Eye” justified? What about concepts of love, maternal instinct and that ‘feeling in their gut’ someone can get when their being watched from afar? How did memories evolve? At what point did microcells become ‘aware’ of themselves? And where exactly did CONSCIOUSNESS come from?
Im curious…


  1. Consciousness evolved, try a Borders bookstore and go to the science section there are books about the evolution of morality in ours and other species

  2. Spirituality is a quirk of our brains whereby we attempt to think of things as connected that aren’t really connected.
    It’s of advantage because it’s the source of our creative thought: Plant a seed, a veggie grows. Who knew? Who would have thought to connect planting a seed with a veggie growing later?

  3. One reason–our evolved bigger brains.
    All of these things–consciousness, spirituality, love, imagination–came about because 1) we had the hardware (larger cerebral cortexes) to deal with it and 2) we had time to spare between hunts for food as our technology increased.

  4. evolution is the mechinism by which we came from what we were to waht we are. spirtuality is what we do to try to explain what we do not know or understand. also it was meant as a way for groups to relate and become a tighter group.
    these two ideas dont have to be mutaully exclusive

  5. Ask your pineal gland, and Eris will answer you.
    He, but more seriously – there just are things you can’t perceive with your five senses. Infrared light, for instance. People many years ago would have said it doesn’t exist. Spiritual people just (rightfully) believe that science doesn’t yet account for everything, and usually go very far imagining what those things could be.
    It’s completely natural to think that way, people did it ever since they could attribute things they did not understand to the likes of the Sun. What you’re asking for is a full explanation of how the brain works, not just the human brain particularly. Which is TOO specialised of a subject for this board.

  6. The explanations are so vast I couldn’t even begin to explain them all here, and not nearly as eloquently as put forth in these books:
    Consciousness Explained — Daniel Dennett
    Darwin’s Dangerous Idea — Daniel Dennett
    The Moral Animal — Robert Wright
    The Selfish Gene — Richard Dawkins
    The Ancestor’s Tale — Richard Dawkins

  7. That’s one of the most interesting conflicts with Evolution. One neurologist had an experiment. He told one of his patients to keep his hand from moving, and then shot an electrical charge in the right part of his brain to force the hand to move (called the motor cortex, aye?). When the patient used his OTHER hand to keep the first from moving, it showed that consciousness is not just a brain fluid, but a whole different entity. The scientists was completely unable to use the brain to change the patient’s free will.
    As much scientifical evidence that there is FOR God, there will always be just as much AGAINST. Of course, you can pick up a book at barnes and nobel that shows you evidence to evolution, but there will always be another book to contradict, and yet another to contradict that second. It’s similar to “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” There is always going to be enough contradiction on both sides.

  8. science still cannot explain how humans became so increased in intelligence in a short period of time about 30,000 years ago….there is no way to know this about spirituality

  9. We’re all curious. That’s why we love to learn so much.
    I subscribe somewhat to a pantheistic view of the Universe. I’m not going to really go into depth, because… well, honestly I don’t really feel like it, but if anybody’s curious I simply adore getting e-mail…

  10. With the ability to store memories and to think abstractly, about itself and the operations behind the world of phenomenon, the human brain is geared to fill in the gaps in existence. Every eye has a blind spot where the optic nerve disrupts the pattern of receptors in the retina, but we don’t notice it because the brain patches the perception with the surrounding colors. We have many gaps in our consciousness, from moments of casual inattention to hours of sleep, but we are not alarmed by the discontinuity, if we notice it at all. The brain just stitches it all together.
    Spirituality is another gap-filler. We instinctively seek out patterns and sequences to make sense of our world. Establishing a connection, even an innacurate one, with previous experience helps us categorize and filter our experience into a manageable scheme. We like to attribute “purpose” to what we perceive, even if it is merely coincidence. This is a survival mechanism. When we guess correctly, we may be able to anticipate an advantage or avoid trouble. When we are merely deluded, it makes for good rehearsal.
    And consciousness itself is a survival adaptation. A brain that can think about its environment can plan better than one that is merely aware of it. And a brain that can think about thinking is able to plan on an even deeper level, anticipating not only causality but strategy. Fundamentally, the neurons controlling perception-reaction have learn to recognize patterns in their own responses and how to modify them on a meta-level.
    But once achieved, this level of pattern recognition is hard to limit. While some external events can be effectively analyzed for cause and purpose, others may be beyond current understanding, but purpose is still assumed. The first full humans encountered any number of random natural occurences (such as weather) that they could not explain, but that didn’t keep them from taking it personally and assuming some conscious agents were behind the events. As they learned to domesticate plants and animals, they attempted to tame these invisible, powerful agencies so that rain would fall when needed and storms would keep away. The two most “effective” tools were bribery (sacrifice) and demonstration (sympathetic magic rituals). These nascent “gods” have never been seen, but they serve as standins for the human desire to control the uncontrollable aspects of its environment.
    In time, as humanity learned better control, the gods developed specific talents and responsibilities. Gods and goddesses of the hearth, of gates and of commerce developed. The pantheon reflected the complexity of human culture, until some people got the idea of simplifying it into a single supernatural entity.
    Alternately, other spiritualities developed not to control the environment but to seek harmony with it through a purer perception of it. These schemas focused less on “gods” and more on spiritual exercises to clear and concentrate the mind on the “reality” behind reality, reducing the world to an annoying illusion to be transcended. What the two approaches have in common is a reassuring perception that one has some control of life, either active or passive.
    Concepts such as affection, baby-cuteness, hyper-vigilance, etc., are also survival advantages, ensuring that couples will stay together long enough to produce and nurture children, who won’t be abandoned before they can reach the maturity to reproduce themselves, and can intuit the dangerous parts of their environments to aid their survival. It’s all about survival and reproduction, the only way for a species to continue. An environmental shift may make certain mutations more successful than others, but even in the same environment, a mutation that improves survival or fertility can also change the game. We too are part of our environment.
    As for the pineal gland being the “third eye”, this is based on an old misperception that that gland was the “seat of the soul” (since it seemed to have no other purpose), but subsequent scientific inquiry has disproven this. The “third eye” is a religious concept that supports the “transcendence” model but has no basis in reality. Not all “adaptations” are real.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here