Breaking The Spell: The Study Of Religion

Decent Essays
A meme is an idea or behaviour that spreads from person to person within a society. The word originates from the Greek word “mimeme”, meaning “imitated thing”. The term was coined by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene in 1976, as the mental equivalent of a gene. Dawkins proposed the idea that social information can change and propagate through a culture in a way similar to genetic changes in a population of organisms; evolution by natural selection. The idea was subsequently introduced in to finding the root of religion, which was named memeplexes, because they contain vast numbers of interacting memes. Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, and ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes…show more content…
In his work, appeared in 2006, titled “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” (Viking, New York, 2006), Daniel C. Dennett explained his ideas on memes and the theory of memes, by applying it to the study of religion from the perspective of evolutionary biology. His conclusions establish that religion is a meme and that its persistence in history is explained by the replicating processes of memetic structures. However, are there reasons of philosophical or scientific rationality for men having persisted in religion? Dennett does not go into a deep rational analysis of religion. He simply states that it has a memetic structure and he considers that this is a sufficient basis to break the spell. According to him, religion is a conduct produced by a memetic structure which is produced by human psychism and is transmitted by memetic traditions, registered in the memories of persons. This enables religion to be replicated, reproduced which persist throughout generations. In his book, he describes that religion grew in primitive times due to irrational fear and threats of nature’s calamities. This was constituted as a meme which has been unceasingly replicated down to
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