Is religion a virus?
Question asked by: knowitall
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No, religion is not a virus unless you agree with Richard Dawkins who has spun out this line for a long time!
However as usual there is a category mistake between saying that religion is 'like' a virus and that religion IS a virus - a big leap and one that you cannot logically make.
To test the validity of the claim that religion is a virus you need to ask in what way is it like a virus?
Well the defining characteristics of a virus are that it is bad for its host, it can live for very long periods of time inert and then be re-activated, and of course it is a physical entity made up of atoms and molecules.
Now let's look at religious belief:
- it is not at all clear that it is in any way bad for its host (if it was then surely religious belief would not be 'naturally selected' and there'd be no religious people...)
- it is a belief therefore the concept of how long it lives is not coherent
- it is a belief therefore not a physical entity made of atoms and molecules
Oh dear - it seems that the analogy does not hold at all, therefore religion is not only not a virus it is not even vaguely like a virus by any stretch of the rational mind. Richard Dawkins was wrong!
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