The origins of religion lie deep in the story of human evolution. But as Rupert Sheldrake and I discuss in this new episode of The Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, the scientific study of our encounter with other worlds is changing.
It has been proposed that humans believe in gods because punishing presences keep individuals in check, but that’s discredited. New research is turning back to an older idea that our ancestors developed the ability to enter altered states.
It’s fascinating partly because new evidence puts spiritual questing in the driving seat of human evolution. It also takes us back to reflections made by Darwin that qualities like beauty are active right across the animal kingdom.