Saturday, September 08, 2007

Superstition Is Not Limited To Human!

In 1948, there was an experiment by B.F. Skinner that showed that pigeons appeared to exhibit superstitious behaviors.

Full paper is here.

I think the result might be applicable to why human perform rituals, pray, bribe karma wheel, buy lotteries, etc. I also wonder whether animals have their religious thoughts too.

I like to collect these animal examples because, based on what we learn from animal and human behaviors, I believe that biology created human morals and religions through evolution of societal units and it's up to the us, not supernatural mechanisms, to make sure that bad deeds got punished and good deeds got rewarded. I don't believe that human require special treatment from nature in terms of mechanisms that shaped us.

A few books that shaped my thinking about this matter:
In the last book, bacteria show cooperative behaviors that might be examples of what we would call moral behaviors. That book, along with The Blind Watchmaker started my education in evolution.

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