"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
Hamilton has used this idea in his fiction before; see the article on brain placed in a metal body from his 1928 novella The Comet Doom. Also, compare to the laminated mouse brain computer from Cordwainer Smith's 1962 story Think Blue, Count Two.
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