War is a common fact across nearly all societies. The subjugation of women is a common fact across all societies. Capital punishment was once nearly ubiquitous. I suspect that the first religions began when a small number of people figured out that they could control other people by pretending to be in touch with gods, and enjoy a privileged position into the bargain. The idea caught on among fools, who, as Mark Twain pointed out, are "a big enough majority in any" group. Since everybody was ignorant, the priests and fools had little trouble imposing their will on the handful of people capable of critical thinking.
They haven't given up.
Craig, while you might suspect correctly, I have long suspected that religion grew slowly from belief in someone's explanations. For instance, a lightning bolt that frightened, or harmed, a group of people.
Someone explained it in a way that reduced the fear felt by those affected. Those people sought more explanations from the same person and rewarded him for his success in reducing their fear.
That person, seeing advantage for his family or his allies, then might well have shared his reward with them, which supports what you suspect. They then gained both religious and political rule.
Now, you and I have two explanations. Shall we offer them to the world and see which wins the most support? Suppose someone conjures up a third explanation?
Since I was a child I have never understood the herd mentality. I can remember vividly at 4 years old going sports events with my parents and not understanding why so many people were connected in some way and I wasn't. I think there is something inherent in the average persons brain chemistry that makes them connect in this way. Like sports, religion is just something people developed to fulfill that need. It's not an inherent need to have religion, religion fulfills an inherent need.
I never understood it either. It was an equal puzzle to me.
Then, late in my 50's, I discovered that I am an Asperger's Syndrome patient, and that I am congenitally inacapable of understanding the herd mentality. Never understood sports fanaticism, nationalism/patriotism, religious group loyalty, any of that. It all seemed so... silly.
So now, I just kick back and marvel at all the irrationality it produces. And enjoying the weather here in Costa Rica, after my attitude towards patriotism promptly got me chased out of the U.S. shortly after 9/11. Pura Vida!
I relate. My ex-wife is a physical therapist who worked for a school system. For years she told me how I acted like her Autistic-Asperger's kids. She finally had me go through a psychological evaluation because my behavior was so irritating. Found something else. You should get an IQ test. Now I am a lurker in this world. Can't really connect cause no one is interested in my perspective. It's a little different than what they see on TV. It's a spectrum, and as it goes, this medical world is still using leeches. We are just more evolved Scott.
Heh, she's just echoing your words, man. You're the one who said you were chased out.
Easier than reverting to e-mail, you can just friend each other on here and send private messages. Don't have to spell that out to avoid the e-mail skimming programs, either. :-D
The "misconceptions" I was referring to relate to her questions about Costa Rica, not to me. I should have been more specific to prevent your confusion.
I prefer email to simply friending everyone in sight, because the recent scandals with Facebook and Twitter have demonstrated that profiles and friend lists can be abused by "marketers" to which they are sold, so I am reluctant to do that. Email is far less an issue with me as I am already dealing with email spam effectively.
Ahhhhh. About the weather and such, yeah. I know that the increased humidity and cloud cover help normalize the temperatures.
So, what if the rest of us want to know, too? Certainly a thread about Costa Rica would fit somehow into Origins. Maybe you have some nice fossils that are discovered there?
Actually, not so many fossils as you'd notice. The geology of this place primarily volcanic, and the one mountain range in the country that isn't, is marine sediments that are so hydrothermically altered that any fossils that may have been present are long gone. We have only one limestone deposit and it is small and has been almost entirely consumed by mining already, mostly to provide soil amendments for farmers.
The nearest fossils of note are in Panamá, where the isthmus arose about 4 million years ago, finally separating the Caribbean from the Pacific, and some interesting fossils related to cetacean evolution have recently been found in the material being removed for the expansion of the canal. But here... nothing.
Lots of interesting biology, though. Costa Rica boasts more species of termites than any other country in the world, I am told. 137 species. If it's wood, there's a termite here that can deal with it.