“Traditional Australian Aborigine societies were, from a material and technological standpoint, relatively simple. This relative simplicity has blinded many to the fact that traditional Aboriginal worldviews were (and are) exceedingly complex. Indeed, these are so complex that it is tempting to posit an inverse relationship between level of technology and creativity of worldview.”
— Cris Campbell
One of the common misunderstandings of evolution is that it is progressive — leading to better and better forms. Likewise, many people view religions as evolving — as getting more and more sophisticated and better adaptive than earlier religions. Early religions are often then wrongly labeled as “primitive”. Such a mistake is similar to how people misunderstand evolution. Add Cris Campbell’s Genealogy of Religion to your RSS to read someone who fights against common misunderstandings of the hunter-gatherer worldviews (which, for good reasons, he refuses to call religions).
In linguistics too, speakers of dominant languages often look down on non-dominant neighboring dialects as being inferior, less sophisticated and primitive. It seems the primitive bias reflex is thus not just the consequence of not understanding evolution, but of assuming that present day holders of power *must* be more advanced than those who don’t hold power. I am sure Marxists have scathing criticisms of this cognitive trap.
Question to readers: Do you feel some languages or some religions are more primitive than others? Why?