The life and mutations of a cognitive parasite
A prominent theory of religion as a natural phenomenon holds that superstitious ideas should be understood as cognitive parasites. They exist and spread and are successful not because they were adaptive in the evolution of early humans but because they fit extremely well with how the human brain itself adapted and evolved.
The way religion and religiosity are changing forms and practice over time can be seen as the parasite's mutations and adaptations to shifting environments. At the moment, traditional religion is mutating in Western Europe into less organized and more personalized forms. But does that make it a more innocuous parasite?
About Lone Frank:
As a staff writer at Weekendavisen, Denmark's leading newspaper, Lone Frank is Denmark's most distinguished science writer and a well-known voice in debates about science, technology and society. She is widely invited as a public speaker.
Frank has written for leading international publications, such as Science and Nature Biotechnology, and regularly appears as a commentator on Danish radio and television. In 2007 and 2008 she presented and co-produced two series of television programmes on controversial science for the Danish National Broadcasting Corporation, DR (one of them entitled Religionsparasitten, transl. "Religion -- a parasite").