General Replicator Theory

Scientists And Religion

Kevin Aylward B.Sc.



This paper is a bit more speculative. It address a reason as to why scientists, in general, have a much lower probability of believing in religion or the supernatural. 


It is well known that scientists, in general, have a much lower probability of believing in religion and the supernatural than non-scientists. For example, in the U.S. approximately 90% of the general population believe in a god, where as of the order of 93% of leading scientists do not believe in a god. 

The principle question is, if there is such a good case for science, why is it so difficult to convince those that believe in a religion, after the fact, that religions are indeed self contradictory and therefore de-facto false.

Arguably, a central tenant underlying science, is the principle of proof and production of ideas. Ideas or theories are assumed to require experimental and theoretical support before they are to be accepted. In contrast, Religions are based on faith, that is, ideas must be accepted only on the basis of what has previously existed. They must be accepted as is.

From a Darwinian perspective, these different traits can be identified as:

1 Science - the ability to be skeptical and innovative, i.e. an ability to select and generate traits.

2 Religion - the ability to blindly copy, i.e. replicate traits, in addition to an inability to generate and select traits.

Darwinian Machine

It has been argued that the brain is a Darwinian machine, that is a machine with generate, select and replicate of traits ability.

It is an observation that brain functions are not hardwired, that is, areas of the brain usually associated with one functions, can be retrained to perform other functions. It is therefore suggested that systems of the brain can perform either select, generate and replicate based on the training that such general systems receive. Clearly, from a utility point of view, it can be more efficient to have general purpose systems that can perform a wide variety of tasks and have the choice as to what task such systems perform selected as required. Irrespective of this suggestion, it is still suggested that the ability to effectively use each system process such as generate, select and replicate is learnt, and once learnt, is more difficult to unlearn or learn at a later date.

It is thus suggested that the training of Darwinian traits that is received early on on life, forms the basis for later life.

Scientists and Religion

It is very well known that Religious individuals are often well indoctrinated into their belief systems. Extensive rational arguments usually do little to sway their views. It is also well known that the correlation between a belief in a religion and an individuals parents belief in a religion is very high. Invariable, parents indoctrinate their children into their own belief system. That is, children are trained extensively to utilize their copy, or replication traits, for example to accept the bible and its teachings, without question. From the above argument, it is suggested that such training is at the expense of training for the ability to select and generate traits, such that such traits are significantly absent in later life.

It is suggested that when such extensive training for copy traits are not undertaken, a more balanced set of replicate, generate and select traits are instigated. This means that those who do not undergo religious indoctrination, are much more likely to have the abilities that are generally required for scientists. That is, since religiously indoctrinated individuals, have such poor select and generate traits that are required by scientists, the can not become scientists. They simply do not have the required skill sets, so we simply don't see them much in science. This is in contrast to the reverse view that scientists have such general traits, therefore select out religion. That is, it is an absence of religion that results in a good scientist, not that a good scientist decides not to have a religion.

Comment - this particular author has been well aware that his own memory is rather poor. Spelling being particular atrocious. This author uses a variety of techniques specifically to address such poor memory. Since writing this paper, it has became clear why this is so. This author engages in several different areas of interests, ranging from physics, guitar playing, evolution and electronics. No doubt such a wide variety of generate and selection traits has been at the expense of replication traits.


The above arguments indicate that in later life, even when extensive evidence is available to conclusively prove that many aspects of religion are false, e.g. age of the earth, millions of species required in the Arc etc, that those indoctrinated in religion, simply do not have the essential select and generate traits that would allow them to correct their views. That is, religiously indoctrinated individuals, simple do not have the select traits to allow them to select truth from falsity, so no amount of new reasoning can change the situation. In addition, it is, after the fact, very difficult for such required traits to be retrained to correct this situation.

It is also held that such religious indoctrinated individuals simply do not have the abilities required of scientists, hence why we don't often see such individuals in science.


Survey: Most U.S. Scientists Don't Believe in God -

"A survey in mid-1998 found that 93% of U.S. scientists do not profess belief in God, and 92.1 percent do not profess belief in immortality".

"A survey conducted in mid-1998, reported by Edward J. Larson of the University of Georgia in a letter to the journal Nature, indicates that very few senior scientists in the United States profess a belief in God or immortality.
Larson said the survey asked members of the National Academy of Sciences to indicate if they believe, disbelieve or are agnostic regarding the existence of God and immortality. Overall, 93 percent of the scientists either disbelieve or are agnostic on the existence of God (72.2 percent disbelieve), while 92.1 percent disbelieve or are agnostic regarding immortality (76.7 percent disbelieve)".

"Of those who profess a belief in God, the highest percentage was found among mathematicians (14.3 percent) and the lowest was found among biological scientists (5.5 percent). Among physicists and astronomers, 7.5 percent profess belief in God."

These papers may be freely copied only for non commercial use,

provided full credit is given to the author.

Kevin Aylward 2003 - all rights reserved