Culture, including religion, is shaped by Darwinian pressures. Eg Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. Discipline worked for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Religion was adaptive because a God demanding discipline was more compelling than just habit. The Christian vision of eternal paradise or hell-fire propelled this ethos all over the West for 1,500 years, until it started to lose strength as the State got better at enforcing discipline, and with the rise of science. \nHow can we account for the beliefs of almost half of Americans, that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, the earth and the universe are about 7,000 years old, species weren’t created by evolutionary processes… If elements of culture like this are subject to Darwinian "survival of the fittest" pressures, what accounts for their widespread propagation in one of the best-educated populations in existence – in a society that is a world leader in science? How can such an ethos be adaptive? Why does it not disappear?\n

Ethnic chauvinism: Why the whole world shouldn’t look like America

We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.

  • When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
  • American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
  • We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
Keep reading Show less

Physicists find new state of matter that can supercharge technology

Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.

Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
  • The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
  • Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Keep reading Show less

First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Keep reading Show less