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    28 Mar '08 00:11
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7316281.stm

    The crusaders left a genetic legacy amoungst the peoples in the middle east.

    I muse on the evolutionary advantage of beliefs such as christianity... I wonder if a similar study has been done in South America, for example....

    Or Europe; after all, if you were not a christian in europe for a period of a few centuries there you were certainly at a disadvantage....
  2. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    28 Mar '08 03:10
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7316281.stm

    The crusaders left a genetic legacy amoungst the peoples in the middle east.

    I muse on the evolutionary advantage of beliefs such as christianity... I wonder if a similar study has been done in South America, for example....

    Or Europe; after all, if you were not a christian in europe for a period of a few centuries there you were certainly at a disadvantage....
    Conquest, colonization and rape do tend to get ones' genes out there. That's why we humans have those tendencies.
  3. Cape Town
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    28 Mar '08 06:31
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7316281.stm

    The crusaders left a genetic legacy amoungst the peoples in the middle east.

    I muse on the evolutionary advantage of beliefs such as christianity... I wonder if a similar study has been done in South America, for example....

    Or Europe; after all, if you were not a christian in europe for a period of a few centuries there you were certainly at a disadvantage....
    I agree with AThousandYoung.

    Here in cape town a significant proportion of the population is of mixed race. That has little to do with religion.

    Religion can be both a divider and a uniter depending on the circumstances. People of different religions intermarry less and people of the same religion, intermarry more across race boundaries than would be expected without the influence of religion.

    There may have been evolutionary advantages to being Christian in Europe in the middle ages, but I really don't see how a genetic study of crusaders has any bearing on that whatsoever.
  4. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    28 Mar '08 11:16
    Originally posted by snowinscotland

    I muse on the evolutionary advantage of beliefs such as christianity... .
    What about the social advantages, pure and simple? The adjective 'evolutionary' is often invoked to suggest that such advantages are somehow better than others.
  5. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    28 Mar '08 11:19
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Conquest, colonization and rape do tend to get ones' genes out there. That's why we humans have those tendencies.
    So do ordinary social relations (trade, sex) in the absence of conquest, colonisation and rape. Perhaps tendencies of affection, kindness and altruism are also genetically inscripted to get them out there.
  6. Cape Town
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    28 Mar '08 11:56
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    What about the social advantages, pure and simple? The adjective 'evolutionary' is often invoked to suggest that such advantages are somehow better than others.
    I think 'evolutionary advantages' in this context refers to the advantage conferred to the genes rather than to the individual. He is not invoking it to suggest that such advantages are better but simply to suggest that they exist. I think he was suggesting that being a crusader was likely to spread your genes far and wide and thus increase the likelihood that your genes would be successful. He didn't however offset that against the reduced life expectancy of the crusaders.
  7. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    28 Mar '08 14:05
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    So do ordinary social relations (trade, sex) in the absence of conquest, colonisation and rape. Perhaps tendencies of affection, kindness and altruism are also genetically inscripted to get them out there.
    Yes sir, I agree with you. However the Crusaders were not known for such things.
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    28 Mar '08 22:281 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    What about the social advantages, pure and simple? The adjective 'evolutionary' is often invoked to suggest that such advantages are somehow better than others.
    I not sure I understand the distinction you are making here... what is a social advantage, if not beneficial to the individual in an evolutionary sense?
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    28 Mar '08 22:30
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    So do ordinary social relations (trade, sex) in the absence of conquest, colonisation and rape. Perhaps tendencies of affection, kindness and altruism are also genetically inscripted to get them out there.
    I think you are getting the idea....
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    28 Mar '08 22:36
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I think 'evolutionary advantages' in this context refers to the advantage conferred to the genes rather than to the individual. He is not invoking it to suggest that such advantages are better but simply to suggest that they exist. I think he was suggesting that being a crusader was likely to spread your genes far and wide and thus increase the likelihood ...[text shortened]... ccessful. He didn't however offset that against the reduced life expectancy of the crusaders.
    I am musing, as I often do, on why these ideas have lasted so long. All the ones that have disappeared we don't know about, history being written by the 'winners'. The ones we do know about that have all but disappeared (think Waco) clearly do not work. Here, we have evidence that religion counts in the long term :- both Christian and Muslim. Thought provoking stuff, I think. Generations later the genetics show that a belief mattered!!!
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    30 Mar '08 16:16
    OK, let's see. Why might Christianity be advantageous in a biologically evolutionary way?

    Well, such people might be easier to unite into a group. United groups are far more powerful than individuals in human society.
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    30 Mar '08 21:34
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    OK, let's see. Why might Christianity be advantageous in a biologically evolutionary way?

    Well, such people might be easier to unite into a group. United groups are far more powerful than individuals in human society.
    I think it is a set of beliefs that both individually and collectively convey an advantage to those who practice it. It it did not, it would cease to exist, surely? Take the True Russian Orthodox Church, those people who are a doomsday cult in Russia;- they believe that the world will end in May, and if that does not happen the cult will surely fade away, because the date is specific and can be proven wrong. As long as Christianity does not specifically define something that can be proven wrong, as long as those adherents are happy, they are likely to live longer. Furthermore, if they stick to the commandments, which are pretty good general rules likely to result in cohesive family oriented behaviour, and don't get too excited by the more extreme varients, I can see the benefits that lead to evolutionary advantage, and I don't just mean the 'persecute the unbelievers' kind...
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    31 Mar '08 04:541 edit
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    I think it is a set of beliefs that both individually and collectively convey an advantage to those who practice it. It it did not, it would cease to exist, surely? Take the True Russian Orthodox Church, those people who are a doomsday cult in Russia;- they believe that the world will end in May, and if that does not happen the cult will surely fade a ead to evolutionary advantage, and I don't just mean the 'persecute the unbelievers' kind...
    Lots of groups have made specific proclamations of future events. When they're wrong, they usually just change the date. They don't go away. I've heard so many times that the world will end during the lifetimes of those who lived in 1948 during Israel's founding and the Six-Day War.
  14. Cape Town
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    31 Mar '08 06:32
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    I am musing, as I often do, on why these ideas have lasted so long. All the ones that have disappeared we don't know about, history being written by the 'winners'. The ones we do know about that have all but disappeared (think Waco) clearly do not work. Here, we have evidence that religion counts in the long term :- both Christian and Muslim. Thought provoking stuff, I think. Generations later the genetics show that a belief mattered!!!
    Belief matters and does affect life expectancy. But that does not mean it is a good thing nor that it has a positive effect on life expectancy.
    Remember also that religion is not tied to the genes, so its success in spreading may not have anything to do with life expectancy, just like for example the HIV virus has spread, yet does not help your life expectancy.
    Another interesting aspect is that reproductive success is often the inverse of quality of life. In general, the poorer people of the world have more children.
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    31 Mar '08 22:29
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Belief matters and does affect life expectancy. But that does not mean it is a good thing nor that it has a positive effect on life expectancy.
    Remember also that religion is not tied to the genes, so its success in spreading may not have anything to do with life expectancy, just like for example the HIV virus has spread, yet does not help your life expe ...[text shortened]... n the inverse of quality of life. In general, the poorer people of the world have more children.
    I would need to look them up, but there have been studies which show that a positive attitude to life results in a longer and happier life, eg http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/happiness_formula/4783836.stm

    I agree that is is not considered a genetic expression (apart from The God Gene?) however the approach ie the mental approach/willingness to accept such beliefs may predispose people, therefore making it a more complex issue. And yes HIV is successful for its survival, not benefitting the host.

    And reproduction in poorer areas is directly linked to reproductive success for them; you must remember that when the parents are richer they will invest more in each child in both monetary and personal terms, making their strategy (however subconciously) more successful for them.
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