Folkpsychology, as Atran and his colleagues see it, is essential to getting along in the contemporary world, just as it has been since prehistoric times. It allows us to anticipate the actions of others and to lead others to believe what we want them to believe; it is at the heart of everything from marriage to office politics to poker. People without this trait, like those with severe autism, are impaired, unable to imagine themselves in other people’s heads. The process begins with positing the existence of minds, our own and others’, that we cannot see or feel. This leaves us open, almost instinctively, to belief in the separation of the body (the visible) and the mind (the invisible). If you can posit minds in other people that you cannot verify empirically, suggests Paul Bloom, a psychologist and the author of “Descartes’ Baby,” published in 2004, it is a short step to positing minds that do not have to be anchored to a body. And from there, he said, it is another short step to positing an immaterial soul and a transcendent God.

source: Darwin's God, New York Times Magazine, 2007-03-04, by Robin Marantz Henig, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/04/magazine/04evolution.t.html?ei=5090&en=43cfb46824423cea&ex=1330664400&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all tags: Apologetics, Philosophy, Soul