Magic as an evolutionary tool?

Recently I found  an article proposing not religious belief, but magic as an evolutionary tool.

The article discussed a book by a Matthew Hudson. The book was called, Seven laws of magical thinking, how irrational beliefs keep us happy healthy and sane.

Matthew linked, as far as I was able to gather, all metaphysical and paranormal  and so called “weird stuff ”  experiences in the category of magic.

That he did not seem to believe in magic himself did not seem to matter.

As he said himself, ” I draw on cognitive science, neuroscience, social and evolutionary psychology, and cultural observation to show that we engage in magical thinking all the time—and that it’s not all bad. Supernaturalism leads us to think that we actually have free will. It makes us believe that we have an underlying purpose in the world. It can even protect us from the paralyzing awareness of our own mortality. Irrationality makes our lives make sense.”

This can be seen as a powerful agument for the sort of evolutionary hardwiring that I looked at recently, and can be seen make logical sense of a sort.

Evolutionary Advantage

His thrust seems to be  that if we manifest or believe  in magical or supernatural things it gives us confidence which makes coping with our brute or mundane world easier.  Also, If we believe that we have free will and are not just bound by our genes, and there is a mystical big picture, this also then gives us a survival advantage.

BUT There are three pertinent points here.

* Whether the phenomena exist or not,  our brains may be set up, hard wired even, to believe in these things  to give us an evolutionary advantage.  It may just be a result of the natural forces of evolution, but a creator being or intelligent designer could also have also put these concepts into our design. But the forces that give us the so called  magical phenomena could be an indication that we live in a universe where things happen because of a big picture beyond our understanding.

* If we are just products of random evolution, I would argue that we do not need this level of abstract understanding to survive in as a species in the world. It is just not evolutionary necessary. We have developed way beyond just what brute survival needs.

*Just because Matthew can see no logic in  existence  of magic and the paranormal, other than evolutionary advantage, that does not mean that they do not exist. Thousands or millions of people would tell you that they do. They have had experiences that they feel prove it. As regular readers of my blog will understand, science, especially  cosmology and quantum mechanics, is beginning to indicate a stranger big picture of the universe in which many of these so called strange magical phenomena may be scientifically explainable. It is not just that “magical” phenomena may or may not exist, and belief in them has or has not a purpose, the  actual question should be, what does their very existence indicate about the real nature of us and our reality?

Aspects of reality

1- A creator being or intelligent designer could have also put the concept of magic into our design.

2-But the forces that give us the so called  magical phenomena could be an indication that we live in a universe where things happen because of a big picture beyond our understanding. We do not really know what our reality is.

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