I don't know for how long this New York Times article will be freely available online before it's archived (it's over a week old), but here it is anyway.
The lengthy article, entitled Darwin's God, is about a scientific explanation for mankind's belief in deities and religion in general. Since religion seems to have cropped up in societies all over the world, some evolutionary scientists and anthropologists figure there must be a logical reason for it. There appear to be two schools of thought - one that religious beliefs were 'adaptive' evolutionary traits that helped humans to survive, and the other that they are merely byproducts of other evolutionary traits - namely "agent detection, causal reasoning and theory of mind". No, I'm not going to explain them. The latter theory is given more attention than the former.
It's an interesting read, but one thing that disappoints me about the article is the lack of insight into why some people don't believe. There's a couple of paragraphs that touch on the idea right at the end, and that's it. It basically concludes that rationalism requires a lot of effort and entails suppressing natural instincts - i.e. the desire to 'believe'. No thoughts on whether we'll ever evolve to leave behind religious beliefs. If anything, it implies the latter: No matter how much science can explain, it seems, the real gap that God fills is an emptiness that our big-brained mental architecture interprets as a yearning for the supernatural. The drive to satisfy that yearning, according to both adaptationists and byproduct theorists, might be an inevitable and eternal part of what Atran calls the tragedy of human cognition.
End of blog entry. I'm going to get back to my "emotional and intellectual struggle to live without God in a nonatheist world".