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The Roots of Religion: Genevieve Von Petzinger at TEDxVictoria

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A PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Victoria, Genevieve Von Petzinger's main area of interest is understanding the geometric imagery of European Ice Age rock art and how we can use this type of behavior to identify cognitive and symbolic evolution in modern humans. Her work was featured on the cover of New Scientist in 2010 and Science Illustrated in 2011, and she has also appeared on the Discovery Channel's popular program Daily Planet. http://tedxvictoria.com http://fellows.ted.com/profiles/genevieve-von-petzinger In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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Text Comments (1350)
Mario Markazi (6 hours ago)
Iranin DISCOVER horse prey Asia far an Asia FRANCE area's pa European aren power =feet in far far see or fars.
Mario Markazi (6 hours ago)
God is war any religion. Want defen God. avery government .use God. Bee last you
Charles Hanna (3 days ago)
Evolution is a religion ! It requires faith in something unproven
Stan Wingfield (4 days ago)
All Religions begins in a cult.... occult, culture...
Remy Fannader (4 days ago)
How is it possible to miss the point by such a margin ? Back to T. Deacon for the difference between mental maps and symbolic representations.
Steve Pracchia (7 days ago)
Your correct.....religion sucks.... but crazy thoughts of no creator.... u need to understand we ALL have been created... and not by monkeys.....
George Andrews (9 days ago)
The Roots of Religion: Really good drugs..........
scasey1960 (10 days ago)
Magical thinking is the predilection of the uneducated.
Jon D H K (9 days ago)
Although so many artifacts and things have been found, this talk Offers so much Speculation and interpretation of art on caves and the meanings of them, that it takes pure belief to agree this shows the beginnings of religious belief. It takes maths and measurements to create jewelry. Writing only dates back 5000yrs according to a most recent science magazine. I think many archaeologists and educated people in this field are starting on a false foundation, with a preconceived dating system and evolutionary backdrop. How can it be said modern humans have been around 200,000 yrs when known evidence of writing goes back 5000yrs? Why, if humans have been around over 200,000 yrs , is the worlds population not bigger than 6 or 7 billion? We only got to a billion around the start of the 20th century! Is it not possible that climate conditions over the last 1 million years have altered the radiation from the sun and affected the dating system completely? All that archaeologists and evolutionists think they know and the people that believe them are very likely wrong. Humans have pride and can be arrogant about their education and belief. Jmo
they're not us (10 days ago)
This government shill spreads disinfo
DrKildem (14 days ago)
Evolution is non-sense. Adam was the first man and he was a Muslim. Islam is the default for all born humans. Everything else is hearsay and fickle hypotheses and conjecture like you have in this lecture.
the ambitious (13 days ago)
Human is older than islam ...
Instinctsscreaming (16 days ago)
Is it strange that the “ shamans “ were depicted having a goats head.....
Zed Williams (19 days ago)
18:02 Trance imagery. Most of these nonrepresentational shapes are utilized today in the graphic meditation system called Zentangle. It's affirming to hear that these shapes may have been used for much the same purpose on cave walls, 100,000 years ago.
Al Garnier (22 days ago)
The roots of religion are abstract fear and ignorance coupled with human greed and averice. Education and psychological reprogramming are necessary to cure early childhood indoctrination.
Jud Young (23 days ago)
If there are many Religions, it is because no one knows for sure how many Gods there are. ONE or MANY. If a God or the God talked to may People at a time, things would have been a lot easier in our understanding. Unfortunately, God talked to only One Man at a time and that One Man came back and said he was the Prophet. So, the Roots of all Religions are questionable. After a fit, a Man could come and announce that he is a Prophet.
Rob Fila (25 days ago)
"The great Russian author Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) said: 'The religion of those who do not recognize religion is to follow everything the powerful majority does. Simply put, it is the religion of submission to those currently in power.' "Unless people possess firm conviction in their hearts — unless they can honestly say to themselves, "I will never compromise on this point" and, "I will stake my life on defending this ideal" — they will be swayed, unable to resist the pressures of the majority. And of course it will then be even more difficult for them to endure persecution at the hands of the authorities. Ultimately, such people, in everything they do, will follow the powerful majority. They will have a wait-and-see attitude and take whatever action is expedient at the moment. With the hollow of justification that "there's no other way," they will time and again capitulate to those in power." -Daisaku Ikeda
David Anewman (25 days ago)
There was never a time without religion. Atheism didn't begin until Cain made an animal equal to humans and refused to offer an animal sacrifice to save a human life. Cain was also the first Vegan. He thought animals had the same value as a man and thought it immoral to exercise blood atonement for sins. Instead of sacrificing an animal, Cain held Abel responsible for taking a life of an animal and imputed the sentence of death to Abel as justice for the murder of an animal. Cain required Abel to die for his sacrifice of a lamb. Atheists actually created most of the religions and gods in the world. They did it as a desire to worship and as a requirement.
David Anewman (24 days ago)
+SurfK9 It appeases your false gods, namely, El Diablo.
SurfK9 (25 days ago)
Sorry but sacrifice means jack sh*t. What exactly does sacrifice accomplish.
16nowhereman (25 days ago)
All of these comments are lies!
The theory that modern man left Africa 40 to 60 thousand years ago has been discarded.
Alabama Mothman (27 days ago)
The roots of science is giving you enslavement and authoritarian society. Like what google did to china.
SurfK9 (25 days ago)
Science is a method.
bargoota bargoota (27 days ago)
only her name is beautiful...genevieve😁😁😁but the rest is bullchitt
I clicked on here and got a two-bit comedian , but I laughed out loud . Sign this “womankind” a Las Vegas contract . Almost as funny as Rodney Dangerfield , but for sure , “No Respect” ! LOL
Tim Rose (28 days ago)
They found mushrooms that's what!! HA!!!
Nathaniel Barron (28 days ago)
Lol reLIEgion is NOT spirituality... Also timeline of the different humanoid species and what they've accomplished is convoluted at best
Luis G A (28 days ago)
religion is ultimately a bad thing, but even atheist ideologies like a communist in Stalin and Kim Yun can be bad...
Rodolf Henriquez (29 days ago)
Superstition , Bad things happened to us !
Mohammed El Massri (29 days ago)
Some people prefer to be their own boss ... Refuse to accept the fact that they are 'Organic Robots' ... A creation by a Creator . Others use faith as a means for control .... for Power over their fellow men ?
Nomad Wizard (29 days ago)
...All religions were created by 'them' as one of 'their' major divide and conquer schemes
Sam Sam (1 month ago)
I lost at 2.03 when she already mentioned millions of years. Evolutionists doesn’t realise that only 4,000 yrs ago to 10,000yrs we had a highly advanced human race. Blind folded are such characters who try to push & shape & print school / college text books to condition the mass, but on the other side Religious fanatics & organisations are doing the same damage by hiding things under the rug. Just stay put people, don’t believe in this or that, the time of full disclosure is coming very soon. The cat is out of the cage. 🙏🙏
Mark Carlin (1 month ago)
What is the difference between "planning" and "pre-planning" ?
Gitana Fox (1 month ago)
Pre-planning is whatever comes before and leads-to the planning?
Daniel Paulson (1 month ago)
Today is Easter. I found my sweet Lord and he is solid. Eating chocolate Jesus makes me happy. Must be the holy ghost. Sorry, lost my Buddha nature for a minute there.
Vanie Chan (1 month ago)
There are two kinds of people that make up a religion: 1.) theists who donate money 2.) atheists who accept the donation. Religious leaders are godless people who take advantage of believers.
towo towo (1 month ago)
how do you know how things or humans thought 50 thousand years ago? there was no way for anything to possibly document it. let alone anything else this graduated decorated nut job of theory. anyone can make a hypothesis. but no one has any way of determining facts from only educated guesses. what a joke. get a real job and actually contribute and benefit society.
towo towo (1 month ago)
i think the tooth fairy implemented evolution.we find artifacts and create entire dynamics froma to z of what was, from a "chipped toenail" of a human that didnt walk around 2.5 million years ago. how can decisions be made from the most insignificant things they pull from only GOD knows where?
craig thompson (1 month ago)
You can't find the truth when you start from the point of your pre programmed world view of evelution which is still a unproven unprovable lie that is ridden with non rational claim's darling.
The Dolphin (1 month ago)
Never even defined what she or anyone in her field meant by religion.
wayne montgomery (1 month ago)
so basically humanity has not progressed much ..
Tic Tac (1 month ago)
This lecturer obviously does not familiar with computer science, that reflects our thinking model. Use term model replaces the templates, will help you understand how models in brain actively learn and track features of outside worlds. All animal brain are capable to track physical objects, e.g. insects, fishes, but only mammal can use their models to emulate others' emotional process, e.g. dogs. only human can emulate others feeling and thinking through language, another high end layer on top of physical and emotional emulation models. So the relogion is a social model, mixed with emotional model, trained into human's brain. You may observe we only have brain computing power to do this high level language based emulation on a few models, e.g. I model, you model having a conversation. Also brain computing power is only enough to emulate emotional processes on a few other models, e.g. kids may think sky is upset in raining days. we do not have enough computing power to make this sort of high end emulations on all models parellelly. That's why when you talk with your religion counter part model in your brain, i.e. god, you actually need to do context switch to assign your computing power between the me model and the god model. sometimes, the me model impersonate into the god model to get empathy feeling.
Ares Lee (1 month ago)
Clicked on this cuz I was expecting a "f it all" from the image they used for this video...
WTF Again? (1 month ago)
I reject the concept of an a priori god spot or Peterson’s Christian Archetypes. I’m a sociologist. Humans have pattern seeking brains as a beneficial adaptation. We have evolved to live in community which requires social cohesion through shared understandings of world. Voila! Religion.
John T. Smith (1 month ago)
States without religion; Communist Russia, Cuba, North Korea, China.
adam (1 month ago)
Religion is for people who are scared of the dark
Brian Vaughn (1 month ago)
Mental templayte *TOOUL*
Daniel's channel (1 month ago)
Garden of Eden and then the world wide flood of Noah's day and then Not out of Africa, but from Mt. Ararat, Turkey.
Simon the Likeable (1 month ago)
Yes, these mythicisied stories may have some kernel based on historical events at their core. They came from earlier cultures to the Zoroastrians and were then passed to the Jews during the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles.
azzir325 (1 month ago)
Rationality demands irrationality to achieve survival. Without the ability to believe in the irrational, rationality demands suicide.
Jonathan Brown (1 month ago)
A world without religion would be ...... heaven
Bird Byod (1 month ago)
A good communicator.
HE IS ALIVE (1 month ago)
Las guerras son por malentendidos humanos,no por culpa de la religión.Saludos
Travis Feathetstone (1 month ago)
The best way to sum up Christianity is it's salvation by threat of damnation
anixtomatis rethymno (1 month ago)
I think she doesn't know about the new evidence. She is saying everything starts 200000 years ago in Africa, wrong. Anyway, religion is the best tool to manipulate humans. i stop watching at 7 min. ( We have found sculls, bones and tools much older than this in Africa search for PETRALONA POULIANOS
Steve Koschella (1 month ago)
Perhaps the roots of "religion" are the intrinsic knowledge within humans that we are connected somehow to a spiritual reality. Religion is the attempt to systematize and structure what is intuitive, for exploitative purposes.
Zed Williams (1 month ago)
18:00 Zentangle makes use of this type of Trance Imagery in the form of meditation through drawing. It's validating to see that this is a deep part of human history/psyche.
eagle eye (1 month ago)
Load of lies... Carbon 14 dating has proved the earth IS NOT older than 6,000 years If you believe this material - you're gullible and in dangerous territory
18dot7 (1 month ago)
Sigh, if you think carbon 14 dating is used to determine the age of the earth—back to school with you.
James Lee (1 month ago)
Sekmet!!!!!!! Yeah, the statue was probably to conjure the power of the lioness through using the essence of the lioness. All religion (and even the roots of science) started with attempts at magical conjuring.
vitalalive69 (1 month ago)
A world without religion would be exactly the same, people then would find other excuses to kill eachother and try to dominate over one another
Dr. Evil (1 month ago)
Evolutionary instincts are making me think about her big boobs.
Oisin Lally (2 months ago)
Could of been breeding! A tonne of feeding is worth an ounce of breeding!
scottdetter (2 months ago)
Origins of life from Pre-biotic soup. - 10 ^174. That's 10 with 174 Zero's. With the discovery of DNA That number doubles. The more we discover in biology and cosmology the greater the number increases. Of course there's a better explanation.
Todd Luton (2 months ago)
If you are going to watch this, I'll save you the trouble. It's really boring and she makes a cogent argument for absolutely nothing. Other than that, this is a great TED talk.
Glenn Floyd (2 months ago)
Nuns are the roots of religions
tigerkill420 (2 months ago)
I would say this talk is interesting. But its stretching a lot
creationgret1 (2 months ago)
Atheism. The religious belief that man kind knows enough to rationalize where we came from, how we came, who we are, and where we are going without a god figure. That accounted for 60million dead in the 20th century under atheist rulers without any god fearing religious beliefs. We can be moral without a god? Then why do you lock your doors at night?
Marc Martinez (2 months ago)
She speaks as if she was there long , lo
Richard Schultze (2 months ago)
Morgan Carnes (2 months ago)
New drinking game: take a shot every time she says "aboot." That being said, this was another outstanding (or, I guess, ootstanding) TED Talk.
david Handy (2 months ago)
why i wanna hug her? why?
brokenupsound (2 months ago)
VERY narrow, academic, rationalist, and boring view. Another lame TED talk. When am i going to stop clicking?
Kim Lowe (2 months ago)
I think, in 2019, there are far less than 85% of the world's population that belong to a religion. Each census, there are less.
Kim Lowe (2 months ago)
+Scott Paulson I think it is the same in Italy.
Oldskool Driver (2 months ago)
My cats have religion, they believe if they run around the house knocking stuff off of tables and counters and generally making a loud ruckus for an hour or so, then they will get fed. In reality, I feed them at 9am and 6pm everyday, regardless of how they behave or when they start their ritualized antics. But they sure do believe their highly correlated behavior is causal to their feedings. And they have escalated the rituals over time.
Daniel Holm (3 months ago)
"No one can articulate everything that they believe, if you could you would be omniscient." Jordan Peterson Everyone then, has a religion. Whether they like it or not. Your religion is what you act out.
Jeffrey Kalb (3 months ago)
Another intellectual virus... Do you have to be a poorly educated Ph.D. to make these videos, or is this open to other classes of brain-dead individuals?
Zinc Chameleon (3 months ago)
Trying to understand the source of the religious impulse is a laudable effort; but assuming that it can be understood by everyday scientific reason is likely a dead end. Better to understand the limits of human reason, based on modern neuroscience. Our language centers may only be a transitory phase in our evolution. The best review of this possibility is "Lucid Dreaming Wakes Up" by Alan Hobson.
Mark Wise (3 months ago)
Nothing Evolved it developed
OZ Dunstan (3 months ago)
I would inflict a religious name on one of my children , how dare she make unfounded claims.
Googi Shite (3 months ago)
Would have liked some mention of a genetic reason for religions. Is it plausible that there is a survival advantage for religious behaviour?
Archaeoptery X (3 months ago)
I'm pretty sure the spiritual world existed long before humans. The realm of nature spirits. Plants, animals etc. The spiritual sense has always been there. But humans are perhaps the first species to try to make rational sense of it? It is fundamentally mysterious however.
Greg Keen (3 months ago)
Cluelessness epitomized. Well played.
Dean Hamlin (3 months ago)
My goodness i love this woman. She's so smart and hot 😊
Eddie Morrone (3 months ago)
The "lion" standing on two feet is an important key. Cats and quadrupeds in general can stand on two feet, if only briefly. Meerkats alternate between bipedal and quadrupedal locomotion regularly. However, the carved stripes recall the markings of a tiger which we don't associate with bipedal locomotion. It's possible this is merely an accurate representation of a large cat standing on its hind legs. Viewing the figure and interpreting it as a cat, with a human body is perhaps the genesis of religious interpretation. I think the important question is when did we start interpreting these depictions as impossible entities? Ironically, it's probably after these depictions were made, not when they were made.
Human Evolution (3 months ago)
She's good. Had to watch her other TED Talk for a class. Legit.
Jim Doe (3 months ago)
From this expert we learn almost nothing about the topic at hand.
Dr. Evil (1 month ago)
We did, but it went right over your head.
Herod Antipas (3 months ago)
Thankfully belief in supernatural deities is on the wane, certainly in the West, and when South-East Asia and Africa are allowed to develop, they too will forsake our childish need for a safety-blanket. The only outlier in the "need for religion goes down when the standard of living goes up"-thought has been the USofA, but, of course, the US was to a great extent founded by groups of fanatical, extremist religious zealots, and even in the US, religious affiliation is going down, and atheism or "no affiliation" is on the rise. It is time for humanity to put these fairy-stories to rest and get on with saving our common planet from our own limited intelligence, or stupidity in another word.. It is however a fascinating topic of study...
Yusef Endure (3 months ago)
This does not prove the roots or origin of 'religion' as we understand it today. Gevevieve Von Petzinger is an excellent speaker, and by now, an accomplished anthropologist, however, in this video she showed evidence of abstract, symbolic art and complex burial rituals; not organized religion. We don't know if there was another mechanism or paradigm used thousands of years ago to account for the art and burial ceremonies. If it turns out to be conclusive evidence, then so be it, but for now, it's a leap to a conclusion based on our experience with organized religion of the present.
Johannes Busch (3 months ago)
Stay away from religion. Religion poisons everything.
daapdary (3 months ago)
I listened with wireless headphones without watching. Despite the Canadian accent, sometimes I thought I was listening to Tracie Harris from The Atheist Experience. :-)
Scorpio Rob (4 months ago)
Magick = the Art and Science of bringing about change in accordance with the will (power). .. The aim of religion, the method of science = THELEMA.
Scorpio Rob (4 months ago)
Sanatana Dharma/Hinduism is brilliant and Ancient and very scientific. ..It is basically Indian Paganism.
Scorpio Rob (4 months ago)
She says something factually WRONG within the 1st few minutes of this film. ..ALL peoples were originally Shamanic/Animist/Pagan in their beliefs originally, as ALL peoples originally lived in tribal societies = FACT. They were NOT Atheists or even Agnostics. .. NATURE was perceived as DIVINITY manifest by our most Ancient Ancestors and that is a FACT.
Tiger Tiger (4 months ago)
Lol I just think that for a great many people.., religion is a learned habit.. a culture that they were taught and have never bother to examine or question.... its a comfortable place or comfort zone.. sadly ..., it’s an illusion that works for their being happy.. n safe.
Chris Trinder (4 months ago)
I have a very strong sense of morality and I am an atheist. Death is a natural conclusion to life. Religion and religious beliefs have caused war throughout modern history and cause wars, brutality and terrorism today .
K A Nesiah (4 months ago)
Religion is a socially reinforced psychological condition. People are just as religious today, only the Brands have changed.
jjerichoo realartist (4 months ago)
It is said that religion are for those that feel they need to be saved where spiritual people already know they are saved. Just saying
Paul J (4 months ago)
Bullshitters Bullshitting the Bullshat, Pretending to know all the answers. Terrorists telling Bullshot fools what to do, or else. kings stealing the imaginary authority to rule.
Chris Austin (4 months ago)
Many Educated fools here
Bruce Mulvey (4 months ago)
She’s going to invoke the religion of evolution to refute religion. Perfect! And she gets avTED talk? She’s a debate dolt. 60million people were killed by the secular nations of Russia and China during the 20th century alone! That’s more than the previous 19 centuries put together! If you want to “lump” the “religion” that cuts the heads off of helpless people on camera with God become man who laid down his life for his followers and told us to love our neighbors as ourself, you go right ahead-pardon me if I don’t buy your idiocy. Meanwhile, try to give a (truly) scientific for the non special, non temporal, non matter creator of time, space, and matter. Good luck
Groovism.org (4 months ago)
Religion exists as a primitive response to our brain's God "node". True or not, we all have an instinct(?) to believe in a higher power. Instincts are said to proliferate our species. Religion & music, will combine with technical advances, for our religious instincts to go global. Groovism is the belief system that will provide The One Groove for all of humanity to Be with!!!! When this reaches the proper level of Groove energy ..... miracles will occur!!
Perry Weeks (4 months ago)
Boy she's careful. And good at it. Otherwise she would not get so many to listen. She knows a lot more than what's said.
Jesus Castanares (4 months ago)
Religion is part of your being as human. We can read you as an atheist. That's the result of being a rationalist and you tend to enjoy to invent an idea of your own. You took some ideas and you are excited that you can formulate out of the ideas of Freud, Marx, Darwin, and other scientists and anthropologists and perhaps that's what you memorize , what you learned and that's what maybe you are reciting about now.
WhipperJesus (4 months ago)
"Modern humans left Africa"? Oh, really? In this loaded language called "English", what you saying is white people are modern and who is now left behind in Africa are "non-modern, savages..". As a Linguist & philosopher, I don't let English or any language slip through. I put them all through my close scrutiny.
GKBStudioD (4 months ago)
There has always been a religion, it was just in the form of a set of rules. Animals all survive And live with a set of rules, humans are just the first to learn how to document it.

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