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"Birth of the moralizing gods"

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"Birth of the moralizing gods"
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8/30/15 6:51 AM
That's the title of an article at:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6251/918.full?utm_campaign=email-sci-ntw&utm_src=email

The article treats both the hypothesis (relationship between certain forms of deism and social forms) and the process of trying to validate it scientifically.

"To crack the mystery of why and how people around the world came to believe in moralizing gods, researchers are using a novel tool in
religious studies: the scientific method."

The article deals on two levels, both interesting: 1) with the hypothesis, and 2) how scientific method is used to try to validate it.

"...without supernatural enforcement of cooperative, “moral” behavior, ... nearly ... every ... large-scale society in history—wouldn't have been able to get off the ground. All-knowing big gods are “crazily effective” at enforcing social norms... “Not only can they see you everywhere you are, but they can actually look inside your mind.”"
...
"...this connection between moralizing deities and “prosocial” behavior—curbing self-interest for the good of others—could help explain how religion evolved. In small-scale societies, prosocial behavior does not depend on religion. The Hadza, a group of African hunter-gatherers, do not believe in an afterlife, for example, and their gods of the sun and moon are indifferent to the paltry actions of people. Yet the Hadza are very cooperative when it comes to hunting and daily life. They don't need a supernatural force to encourage this, because everyone knows everyone else in their small bands. If you steal or lie, everyone will find out—and they might not want to cooperate with you anymore..."

"As societies grow larger, such intensive social monitoring becomes impossible. So there's nothing stopping you from taking advantage of the work and goodwill of others and giving nothing in return. Reneging on a payment or shirking a shared responsibility have no consequences if you'll never see the injured party again and state institutions like police forces haven't been invented yet. But if everyone did that, nascent
large-scale societies would collapse. Economists call this paradox the free rider problem."
...
"The big gods hypothesis also helps explain why a handful of religions spread widely: They offer new adherents expanded opportunities for economic and social cooperation."
...
"In Buddhism, the concept of karma may play the role of a moralizing god, enforcing selfless behavior."
...
"... studies contributed to a growing scientific consensus that belief in the supernatural is an evolutionary byproduct of the quirks of the
human brain, piggybacking on abilities that evolved for different purposes."

RE: "Birth of the moralizing gods"
Answer
8/30/15 8:10 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
Interesting article.  I would also say that on a more subtle level, the concept of nirvana/cessation may play the role of a moralizing god in the form of the promise of Buddhism's version of immortality.  Something that comes after the demands of karma have been met; "if ye partake in thee correct meditative disciplines, ye shall see the unsurpassed truth of the deathless."

RE: "Birth of the moralizing gods"
Answer
8/30/15 10:11 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
Already expressed in Leary's socio-sexual circuit as part of his Eight-Circuit model, but the importance of sexuality is missing

Pastebin'd an excerpt so as not to clog the thread