“I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself - we are creatures that should not exist by natural law.”
“Viruses of the Mind” is an essay by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, first published in the book Dennett and His Critics: Demystifying Mind (1993). The essay discusses how religion can be viewed as a meme*, an idea previously expressed by Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976). Dawkins analyzes the propagation of religious ideas and behaviors as a memetic virus, analogous to how biological and computer viruses spread.
Dawkins stresses his claim that religious beliefs do not spread as a result of evidence in their support, but typically by cultural transmission, in most cases from parents or from charismatic individuals. He refers to this as involving “epidemiology, not evidence”. (X)
*A meme is “an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. The word meme originated with Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. The concept of language as a virus was explored in The Electronic Revolution by William S. Burroughs