As the brief last chapter in this collection of essays, you as the reader may wonder why I’m dealing with religion now. The answer is that all the previous chapters impinge on the topic of religion. Religion has been with humanity since before its earliest recorded history. Based on artifacts found in Neanderthal Man burial sites, it is now considered possible that they believed in an afterlife. Surely the capacity for faith is deeply imbued within our genome. In his recent treatise, The Faith Instinct, on the history of religion and why it has been essential to human success, Nicholas Wade points out that the role religion plays in shaping human evolution is far from understood. Nicholas Wade questions, “Is there not some way of transforming religion into versions better suited for a modern age?” He concluded his book with the following paragraph:
Maybe religion needs to undergo a second transformation, similar in scope to the transition from hunter gatherer religion to that of settled societies. In this new configuration, religion would retain all its old powers of binding people together for a common purpose, whether for morality or defense. It would touch all the senses and lift the mind. It would transcend self. And it would find a way to be equally true to emotions and to reason, to our need to belong to one another and to what has been learned of the human condition through rational inquiry.
Simon Conway Morris has written extensively about convergence having guided natural selection. He argues convincingly that the direction and inevitability he believes is inherent in evolution follows universal physical laws. He explains how complexity on the large scale arises from simple laws on the small scale and why humanity may not be the result of a random evolutionary process. If this theory is correct then intelligent life is certain to be found throughout our universe. The transition from evolutionary biology to manufactured intelligent life is sure to be common place. What part religion may play in a rational world comprised of a multitude of intelligent life forms cannot be either discounted or defined. Social behavior is always the result of a context. There is certain to be complex social behavior in the emergent world of biobots and artificial intelligence. If this new pattern of behavior includes what we call religion, remains to be discovered.