According to Gallup’s most recent polling, a majority of Americans believe human beings were created by God in their present form less than 10,000 years ago. In a move of profound irony, Dr. Gopikrishna Deshpande of Auburn University has suggested such fervent religious belief has a biological basis, and may be an evolutionary adaptation.
The group [Dr. Deshpande and NIH researchers] found differences in brain interactions that involved the theory of mind, or ToM, brain network, which underlies the ability to relate between one’s personal beliefs, intents and desires with those of others. Individuals with stronger ToM activity were found to be more religious. Deshpande says this supports the hypothesis that development of ToM abilities in humans during evolution may have given rise to religion in human societies.
“Religious belief is a unique human attribute observed across different cultures in the world, even in those cultures which evolved independently, such as Mayans in Central America and aboriginals in Australia,” said Deshpande, who is also a researcher at Auburn’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Center. “This has led scientists to speculate that there must be a biological basis for the evolution of religion in human societies.”
I’ll bet Ken Ham didn’t see that one coming.