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Toward an Evolution of Mind: Implications for the Faithful?

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Ever since its inception, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection has challenged assumptions about the nature of humankind and human institutions. It did not escape the notice of Darwin, sympathetic allies, or hostile contemporaries that his theory had profound implications for ethics and theology. In this paper I review some current sociobiological hypotheses about the mind that are based on the theory that the human mind is primarily a social tool. Many researchers now believe that both complex human within-group cooperation and between-group competition are the anvils that may have shaped the modules of the mind. Given this evolutionary theory of the mind, the Darwinian challenge to theism, ethics, and faith is now being relaunched with a vengeance. However, I suggest that modern physics, evolutionary biology, and cognitive science all seem to fit nicely into the atheistic and phenomenological niche defined by Buddhism.

Keywords: Buddhism; Darwinism; evolution; group conflict; mind; modularity; religion; sociality

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Pennsylvania State University

Publication date: March 1, 1999


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