Was reading Richard Dawkins yesterday, ironically enough, when I got to a section where he discusses "the god center". He makes a point which I hadn't thought about (but that's why he's Richard-freakin-Dawkins and I'm just lawya'in in the Midwest). Anyway he argues as follows:
1. He rejects group selection theories for the god spot. I tend to agree, since I've never been big on ethnophysiological theories.
2. He also rejects, as do I, the notion that religion's function, at the initial level of selection, was a byblow of power dynamics (e.g., mechanisms of social control). I do think that I can speak for Dr. Dawkins when I say, irrespective of its initial purpose, religion has very much been kept alive in the meme pool for some of those reasons.
3. Finally, and the most crucial observation, ties into the dual concepts of proximate purposes versus ultimate purposes. That is, a proximate purpose is one involving mechanisms or behaviors, which in turn selects a given trait. The other inquiry is the ultimate cause; that is, what is it all for.
Thus, according to Dawkins, it doesn't matter if there is a necessary physiological correlate between credulity and individual behavior vis-a-vis religious activity, we are still left with the ultimate question...what's it all for. And, I believe -even if the Brit researchers did find a "god spot", that they can answer (maybe) some of the proximate questions, but cannot adduce the Darwinian ultimate questions.
Like I said yesterday, interesting stuff.