Big Bang

Is Religion in Our Genes?

While the existence of God continues to be debated, two archeologists in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley have proven the necessity of religion in the lives of humans. Joyce Marcus and Kent Flannery found that religion has existed in societies at every stage of development in every region of the world, becoming the mark of evolved human behavior. Because of this, religion proves to have been favored by natural selection and therefore, is wired into our genetic coding and neural functioning. In early hunter-gatherer societies, religion served as a type of hidden government system—binding people together by shared values and fear of divine punishment should one defy that set of morals. The archaeologists’ findings give further support to the idea of group natural selection, which was proposed by Charles Darwin but was often dismissed by some biologists, but not David Sloan Wilson and Edward O. Wilson. The pair champions the idea of group selection based on hunter-gatherer societies, in which everyone behaves alike. The archeologists' and biologists' recent studies shed light on an unlikely connection between religion and science.