Spirituality as Adaptive Evolutionary Aspect?

In “Your Brain on Religion,” Newburg discusses neurotheology, a scientific study that shows a relationship between the brain and the spiritual self.[1]Newburg sees a clear relation between religion and science, in support of evolutionary biology. However, he thinks there is some place where the two interact – that the spiritual element is part of evolution – while evolutionary biologists are not certain about spirituality, though individual biologists chose to believe in religion as well.

Even though I am not personally religious, I can see how a religious person would benefit from their beliefs and through practice improve their lives. Scientifically, I see a similar ability present in gene-therapy whether conducted with scientists or implemented everyday through personal experience and exposure. In Dean Ornish’s TEDtalk, “Your Genes are not Your Fate,” the ability to improve one’s genetic makeup is achieved through healthy-living and implementing positive experience into one’s life. Genes are able to improve with an evolving environment, if the individual extends the abilities found in evolution to their daily lives then happiness and improvement is a realistic goal. The more happiness and healthy-living a person assumes then the more brain cells increase – advancing the intellect and improving one’s genetic formula.


Newburg, Andrew. “Your Brain on Religion.” Steve Paikin. YouTube.com,16 Jun 2015. Online video. 15 Jan 2016.

Ornish, Dean. “Your Genes are not Your Fate.” TEDtalk.com, Jun 2008.Online video. 15 Jan 2016.

Picture c/o:  http://thespiritscience.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/spiritual-enlightenment-2.jpg

[1] Newburg, “Your Brain on Religion,” 0:38-0:45.