Since belief systems are so powerful, belief in a religion can provide real physical and health benefits (Johns Hopkins Medical Newsletter, Nov 1998). As Blakslee reported, a strong belief has physiological effects. Numerous studies have found that faithful churchgoers, believers, and those with strong religious leanings live longer and are healthier than those who are more skeptical (McFarling 1998 & 1999; Strawbridge 1997; Koenig et. Al. 1997; Oxman et. al. 1995). Those benefits exist even after taking into account the more sober lifestyle of many religious adherents (McFarling 1999).
The mighty conflicts between Zerg, Protoss and Human are now the stuff of high literature, as Blizzard Entertainment has landed a short story about Starcraft in the Spring 1999 issue of Amazing Stories.
The cultural beliefs which give rise to civilization are, like the genes which specify an organism, a highly improbable structure, surrounded in "meme space" primarily by structures which are far more dysfunctional. Most small deviations, and practically all "radical" deviations, result in the equivalent of death for the organism: a mass breakdown of civilization which can include genocide, mass poverty, starvation, plagues, and, perhaps most commonly and importantly, highly unsatisying, painful, or self-destructive individual life choices.
Moroz now counts nine to 12 independent evolutionary origins of the nervous system – including at least one in cnidaria (the group that includes jellyfish and anemones), three in echinoderms (the group that includes sea stars, sea lilies, urchins and sand dollars), one in arthropods (the group that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans), one in molluscs (the group that includes clams, snails, squid and octopuses), one in vertebrates – and now, at least one in ctenophores.
‘There is more than one way to make a neuron, more than one way to make a brain,’ says Moroz. In each of these evolutionary branches, a different subset of genes, proteins and molecules was blindly chosen, through random gene duplication and mutation, to take part in building a nervous system.