6

votes

Is religion the cause of the neolithic era?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 27, 2011 at 5:29 PM

I found this amazing article about a new site that may be "the garden of eden."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1157784/Do-mysterious-stones-mark-site-Garden-Eden.html

Some interesting quotes:

"When people make the transition from hunter-gathering to settled agriculture, their skeletons change - they temporarily grow smaller and less healthy as the human body adapts to a diet poorer in protein and a more wearisome lifestyle. Likewise, newly domesticated animals get scrawnier."

"'To build such a place as this, the hunters must have joined together in numbers. After they finished building, they probably congregated for worship. But then they found that they couldn't feed so many people with regular hunting and gathering. 'So I think they began cultivating the wild grasses on the hills. Religion motivated people to take up farming."

"As we began farming, we changed the landscape and the climate. When the trees were chopped down, the soil leached away; all that ploughing and reaping left the land eroded and bare. What was once an agreeable oasis became a land of stress, toil and diminishing returns."

Read the whole thing. The headline is kind of misleading. Anyone else find it interesting that these archaeologists recognize the physical degeneration of agricultural man? Any other thoughts? I know it's kind of long but It's a fascinating article.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 31, 2011
at 04:37 PM

If the word "invented" offends you, let me substitute "put the ultimate spin on". As to speculation, I'll stand with Freud in his "Future of an Illusion" and "Civilization and it's Discontents"

Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on October 30, 2011
at 10:55 PM

You realize that this "childlike myth" was taken from other, similar myths from far before the time of Christ, don't you? If you don't, feel free to look it up and then be sure to come back and admit that you were speaking without the benefit of anything beyond speculation.

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on October 05, 2011
at 05:33 AM

Don't sweat the down votes, I see you are coming from.

324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on October 04, 2011
at 10:18 PM

A consequence in what sense? Genesis says that Abel raised and butchered sheep, and God accepted him, but Cain grew things in the field, and God rejected his sacrifice. I suppose there is not enough information to be certain, but it seems that the choice to grow plants for human consumption is a choice that humans made, and a sinful choice at that, not that God forced it upon them as punishment.

324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on October 04, 2011
at 10:06 PM

Considering that you were unable to restrain yourself long to type a single paragraph without a multitude of ad-hominem attacks, you seem to be the only one here with unbridled anger and hatred.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 04, 2011
at 09:50 PM

Interesting but kind of spongy pop history. The Garden of Eden is after all a farm...maybe it's more a view of how one would have liked things to be before tough times hit Mesopotamia.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 04, 2011
at 09:43 PM

And in the end we have Gary Taubes. Today Copernicus, tomorrow to infinity and beyond. It's ironic that kosher/halal style dietary codification is the epitome of modern paleoism, rather than hunting and gathering.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on October 04, 2011
at 09:16 PM

NB: Dwarf mutant wheat has 42 chromosomes.

Fe198e0c02edd407cdf8c83c0fceaea1

(753)

on May 27, 2011
at 11:08 PM

seems like Genesis would suggest that agriculture is a consequence of humanity's fall from grace.

Fe198e0c02edd407cdf8c83c0fceaea1

(753)

on May 27, 2011
at 11:03 PM

interesting. There were certainly religious systems in place long before the ancient Hebrew faith reached any sort of known codification. Don't know how much of them were monotheistic. Seems like the experience of the early Hebrews that informed the development of the scriptures and stuff later was pretty decidedly non-agrarian, being that they were pretty much desert wanderers. and perhaps the written transmission of it flourished only after they had been settled for a bit.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 10:19 PM

It is interesting that I have never on this site seen mentioned the work of David Abrams. In his "Spell of the Sensuous" he applies the work of Merleau-Ponty to this question and ties the advent of monotheism, patriarch and authoritarian religions to the development of written language, especially written language using alphabet (symbols are arbitrary vis-a-vis meaning of word. Of course that was pretty coincidental with the rise of agriculture.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on May 27, 2011
at 07:41 PM

On another humorous note. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42256829/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/praise-lard-religion-linked-obesity-young-adults/

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 27, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Love that you went here plus one!

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7 Answers

4
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 06:09 PM

Well, it's well known that we started physically deteriorating with the advent of agriculture, but the story of Genesis is interesting if you think about it from a "Paleo" perspective. "Myths" (there's that word again!) have numerous interpretations and it's reasonable to read "The Garden of Eden" myth as recalling the pre-agricultural era when man's food was provided for and he did not have to work. I believe that the notion that "population" increase caused the switch to an agrarian economy has been belied (am I right?) and therefore this speculation that perhaps-in some cases- the switch came about when groups of H-Gs became settled in order to work on a project like this is interesting to think about at least.

1
C1ea79115a062250a7263764797faa30

(851)

on May 28, 2011
at 06:03 PM

It does seem as if several cultures note that the advent of agriculture occurred due to intervention by non-human forces in human history. For example Prometheus brings about agriculture in Greek myth, and in China the Yellow Emperor - a dragon - does much the same thing.

1
D28b2d60f7c659ed863f152d810ae8ef

on May 28, 2011
at 12:28 AM

To answer your question: No, religion is/was NOT the CAUSE of the neolithic era. Religion, in the form of a nature-based polytheism, certainly existed in the late paleolithic era. But, as followers of the Paleo paradigm well know, the genetic design of humans became more static at the end of this era. What happened next was that the environment stopped sculpting us and we started sculpting the environment. Or you could say, our when are genes' evolution slowed, our cultural evolution sped up... including changing to a more "commerce or trade-friendly" version/concept of god, i.e. a monotheistic concepts of god in religion. A super in-depth and interesting book on this is The Evolution of God by Robert Wright.

1
Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 27, 2011
at 07:17 PM

I would be inclined to say that if anything, the monotheistic, paternalistic, authoritarian religions popular today are an effect of the agricultural revolution.

By the way, I just picked up a copy of guns, germs, and steel so I'm interested to see if he goes into any of this.

Fe198e0c02edd407cdf8c83c0fceaea1

(753)

on May 27, 2011
at 11:03 PM

interesting. There were certainly religious systems in place long before the ancient Hebrew faith reached any sort of known codification. Don't know how much of them were monotheistic. Seems like the experience of the early Hebrews that informed the development of the scriptures and stuff later was pretty decidedly non-agrarian, being that they were pretty much desert wanderers. and perhaps the written transmission of it flourished only after they had been settled for a bit.

Fe198e0c02edd407cdf8c83c0fceaea1

(753)

on May 27, 2011
at 11:08 PM

seems like Genesis would suggest that agriculture is a consequence of humanity's fall from grace.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 10:19 PM

It is interesting that I have never on this site seen mentioned the work of David Abrams. In his "Spell of the Sensuous" he applies the work of Merleau-Ponty to this question and ties the advent of monotheism, patriarch and authoritarian religions to the development of written language, especially written language using alphabet (symbols are arbitrary vis-a-vis meaning of word. Of course that was pretty coincidental with the rise of agriculture.

324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on October 04, 2011
at 10:18 PM

A consequence in what sense? Genesis says that Abel raised and butchered sheep, and God accepted him, but Cain grew things in the field, and God rejected his sacrifice. I suppose there is not enough information to be certain, but it seems that the choice to grow plants for human consumption is a choice that humans made, and a sinful choice at that, not that God forced it upon them as punishment.

0
2ba707059b87c00b522551c52515a3f0

on May 27, 2011
at 09:03 PM

^^ Jared Diamond wrote about the advent of agriculture here: http://www.ditext.com/diamond/mistake.html

0
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on May 27, 2011
at 07:15 PM

See also this site http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/06/gobekli-tepe/mann-text/1

regarding this site in Turkey.

There is a reference to Einkorn wheat being found there...a very ancient wheat still grown in the region...very long stems with 18 chromosomes...very much unlike the wheat that Dr Davis calls our current dwarf mutant wheat with 20000 chromosomes from genetically engineering our current wheat. It is no wonder most can't handle gluten.

There is a picture of women carrying the long stalks in bundles on their backs.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on October 04, 2011
at 09:16 PM

NB: Dwarf mutant wheat has 42 chromosomes.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 04, 2011
at 07:36 PM

Great question. My take on it is that the early crown jewel of NADs" WHEAT" gave us the long lingering cancer of organized religion. In the beginning Neoltilhic man/women created wheat and they thought is was good, but eventually about thirty five hundred years ago, a group of really anxiety ridden Middle East people , caused by gluten intolence, invented this pathetic,childlike myth of the Exalted Father.( The East took a much more mature path, maybe because they ate the much more benign rice.) Three vile Western Religions could well be the result of this gluten induced anxiety ,depression, guilt and unbriddled anger and hatred for all non-believers.

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on October 05, 2011
at 05:33 AM

Don't sweat the down votes, I see you are coming from.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 04, 2011
at 09:43 PM

And in the end we have Gary Taubes. Today Copernicus, tomorrow to infinity and beyond. It's ironic that kosher/halal style dietary codification is the epitome of modern paleoism, rather than hunting and gathering.

324bf94d3d6f9322d6e4dba4becfaab1

on October 04, 2011
at 10:06 PM

Considering that you were unable to restrain yourself long to type a single paragraph without a multitude of ad-hominem attacks, you seem to be the only one here with unbridled anger and hatred.

Da3d4a6835c0f5256b2ef829b3ba3393

on October 30, 2011
at 10:55 PM

You realize that this "childlike myth" was taken from other, similar myths from far before the time of Christ, don't you? If you don't, feel free to look it up and then be sure to come back and admit that you were speaking without the benefit of anything beyond speculation.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 31, 2011
at 04:37 PM

If the word "invented" offends you, let me substitute "put the ultimate spin on". As to speculation, I'll stand with Freud in his "Future of an Illusion" and "Civilization and it's Discontents"

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