Perhaps I am more focused on the evolution of mankind from a chaotic survivalist state to one which we see today. Religion I believe was a necessary part of that evolution. As I stated in a previous post #38, I feel it is about the mastering of fear, the removal of intense superstition due to ignorance, that the practice of religion initially managed to achieve. Religious theory (dogma) being a way to apply logic and reason to some thing that terrified them. ( and grab a stake in power over others as well of course) Again, essentially it is, to me, about mankind evolving self restraint in the face of intense fear. This self restraint allows mankind to think in ways more beneficial to his existence. From post #38 One could suggest that initially religious ideologies and practice was about the evolution of "collective and individual" self restraint when confronted with intense fear. Evolution of self restraint in the face of fear (paranoia): Fear based superstition ( Early unorganized Paganism - pre-historic ) Organization of those superstitions and personification of those fears ( Polytheism ) Further rationalization of fear leading to Monotheism. (possibly the formalization of education - eventually for the masses.) The birth of modern day Existentialism. ( Self as a God rather than a personified God being an external actor) ....thus evolving to calling upon "your-God-self" when scared rather than an external personified God. ( a reflection of self) The effect of religion was to allow groups of people to manage their fear better which allowed higher levels of thought to prevail, hence civilization, education and the sciences were able to evolve. I do not believe it could have been any other way. Of course it is easy to claim that fundamentals of science are founded due to the efforts of persons motivated to understanding their God(s) creation, so I find it quite reasonable to say that science was founded upon those who were expressing their religious values. If not for the education offered by religious institutions of the time there would be no science as there would be no education. There is no capacity to separate religion from the early scientists as you wish to do. It happened and is still happening ( re: Daesh in the Middle East etc) as a significant part of human evolution...and as I said what you are suggesting is to effectively speculate on a horse race that has already been run. and that is in part my point. There was no atheistic alternative to the mind set of the times. Their thoughts and thinking totally absorbed by the religious, spiritual paradigms of the time. Living in a "matrix of fear" with no way of seeing beyond. Compare the following question: The net effect of evolution is what? Perhaps simply answering "now" would suffice. Could it be any thing else?