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I've been trying to remember where I read a perspective on religion, which I think comes from some Science Fiction author.

It goes somewhat like "we have observed many species, and those that developed religious ideas usually feature long childhood periods, with a strong bond between children and their parents". (If we remember right, they were talking about sentient species in the universe)

One of my friends recalls that we discussed this several years ago, and that I mentioned having read it in a SF book. I wish to identify the book and its author. I don't intend this question to be a discussion on religion.

Can someone help me identify the origin of this?

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    This is very vague and probably not on-topic. Could you please elaborate what you are asking for? – amflare Apr 2 '18 at 14:34
  • @amflare - He does say "many species", it remains to be seen if that is universe type species, or many species of earh animals. – JohnP Apr 2 '18 at 14:43
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    As a further point of clarification: was this something inside a story, or more of an essay/foreword/afterword? – RDFozz Apr 2 '18 at 16:14
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    I've read this, but cannot call to mind who wrote it. Possibly Clarke, but can't think of what work it would be. – Organic Marble Apr 2 '18 at 17:58
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    @OrganicMarble Is it in Childhood's End? It would seem to fit there: the Overlords have known "many species" and (like Clarke) are hostile to "religious ideas". No idea if it's there or not. Skimmed it many years ago, not a favorite of mine. – user14111 Apr 2 '18 at 18:01
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Similar sentiments are expressed in Arthur Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise, but I am not sure they are close enough to what you remember. I myself remember something more explicitly like what you quoted.

In the quotes at the beginning of Part II there is this:

[...] is religious belief found only among organisms that have close contact with their direct progenitors during their formative years?

This later confirmed by the alien probe, Starglider.

"2069 June 06 GMT 1209. Message 5897. Sequence 2. Starglider to Earth.

"You are correct in deducing that the 3 Category Five cultures that engaged in religious activities had two-parent reproduction, and the young remained in family groups for a large fraction of their lifetime. How did you arrive at this conclusion?"

The Fountains of Paradise, chapter 16 "Conversations with Starglider"

Chapter 35 ends with

Belief in God is apparently a psychological artifact of mammalian reproduction.

This is enough like what you're looking for to post, but I have a feeling that you're actually seeking somewhere else that Clarke expressed the same sentiments.


I like this book, but I always wondered what the heck the Starglider parts have to do with the rest of it.

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    I believe this may be the answer. My friend and I both read this book in the 1980s, in a Brazilian edition. It is quite possible that Clarke has expressed similar views on other books, probably en passant. But I'll keep this for now. Thanks! – Luiz Cláudio Apr 2 '18 at 20:00

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