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Marc Hauser- Moral Minds
Universal moral grammar, instinctive,
unconscious tool kit for constructing
moral systems.
Moral tests: train; five hikers ahead
and one on track- kill one to save five;
harvest organs from healthy person to
save 5.- Agreement on one as right;
other not.
Darwin’s Cathedral
Religion seen as a complex organism
with biological functions- powerful
force to motivate adaptive behaviors.
“I think group selection can explain
much about religion but by no means
all. This leads to an expanding
consciousness of the universe and
speculation about one’s place within it.
Why is Religion Natural?
Skeptical Inquirer Magazine,
March, 2004.- Pascal Boyer
 There is no religious module in
the brain; rather belief in religion
activates mental systems involved
in a variety of non-religious
Not “Sleep of Reason”
This says: “Religion is around because
people do not think very much or very
Ordinary thinking and common sense
intuitions also requires suspension of
Religious notions are rooted in the
deepest principles of cognitive
Not “Sleep of Reason”
Religious beliefs would not exist if
they did not confirm many
intuitive principles.
 Religious norms and emotions are
related to and depend upon other
systems- moral and emotional
fears (e.g. of contamination)
Barbara King-Evolving God
Religion- a system not of beliefs
but of actions and worship.
 Stems from the evolutionary
development of a sense of group
membership and especially for a
group member that has died.
Dalai Lama at MIT
Dalai Lama hopes science can
prove meditation has medical and
emotional benefits- offer the
world a secular method for
relieving suffering and finding
 Buddhism is open to exploration
and change.
Dalai Lama at MIT
FMRi-toreveal differences
between negative reflexes such
as anger and higher ones as well
as cognitive afflictions like selfcenteredness.
 Monk Richard- left side of brainoff the chart- also on happiness.
Dalai Lama at MIT
How can monks hold images in
their heads for hours?
 Can concentration be controlled
and attention practiced?
 Adaptability of mind- develop
mental functions far beyond
brain’s predisposition.