Lionel Tiger: Christmas is perhaps the most popular holiday in the world because it gets right to the bedrock of what religion is about, which is you’ve got to take care of the mother and the child.
I don’t know about you, but sex is always potentially extremely troubling. It can cause all sorts of ruckus in all sorts of lives on an endless basis. Just look at the latest politician or golfer and the fact is that because of its power, which Darwin understood when he saw that sexual selection was the engine of natural selection, you have to have some rules about it.
If you’re a hunter-gatherer, as we are, you better get up in the morning and think it is a great day to catch an elephant.
There is no real evidence that prayer helps an individual survive. What may help, however, is personal optimism. I wrote a book in 1979 called Optimism: The Biology of Hope because I was interested in how humans succeed in overestimating the odds in our favor. I concluded that if you’re a hunter-gatherer, as we are, you better get up in the morning and think it is a great day to catch an elephant because if you get up in the morning and you say "I don’t want to catch an elephant today, I’m going back to sleep," well unless you have an elephant in the freezer, which there wasn’t, you’re going to be very hungry by evening.
There are 4,200 religions in the world, each of them believing they’re absolutely correct and everyone should follow their views.
People who believe devoutly in religion will tell you that we’re obligated to respect and believe and follow the word of God however that word is determined.