Asking this question in Der Spiegel, Markus Beker writes, ” Science, ironically, is finding answers to the question of why evolution stands such a poor chance against religion” The rest of the article has some valuable information for those who wish to be educators of humanity.
The article mainly reports the work of Pascal Boyer (wow, what a scientifically resonant name) a psychologist who suggests that human survival depended on: maintaining relationships with individuals beyond their physical presence which is the only way hierarchies and alliances can function over time; and ritual behavior around physical purity, predatory villains and hidden threats that supports the human brain networks designed to avoid danger. He suggested that religious convictions and modes of behavior are helpful in strategic planning and controlling emotions while religious rituals like prayer and meditation, “affect the parts of the human brain that are the most important for self-regulation and self-control.”
Boyer suggests that religious thinking is “the path of least resistance for our cognitive system.”
From me: And it is probably very hard to re-engineer those pathways of intergenerational learning that supports the human neural networks, even when the circumstances eventually change and older rituals are no longer needed. However this is just the job that Baha’u’llah the founder of the Baha’i Faith recommended to us. Baha’u’llah didn’t advise, as atheists do, to throw the baby out with the bath water, but rather to even more deeply regard essential religious principles as the basis for a critical review of the social order. For example, on prayer, he teaches, that it ‘engenders the susceptibilities of the higher intelligence”, providing prayer a central role in the developmentof human rational thinking.
Of course Darwin didn’t fail. He did a fabulous job. For those who are prepared to understand religion in a different way to we have tended to understand it, for those who believe we can re-train the human mindset to a new vigour, we simply understand how to work with knowledge.