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evolutionary approach to the study of religion

(2013). (2011). Hall, D. L., Cohen, A. Buss, D. M. (1995). Sosis and others have shown evidence for the honesty of the signal: religious signalers across societies are, on average, more prosocial than those who do not signal their commitment to the group via religious ritual. Richerson, P. J., & Newson, L. (2008). Belief in a just god (and a just society): A system justification perspective on religious ideology. Unites theoretical and empirical work of leading scholars in evolutionary psychology, religious studies, cognitive science, summarizing existing work and serving as a guide to the debates that remain to be resolved the honest signal must be received by community members. Peoples, H. C., Duda, P., & Marlowe, F. W. (2016). Not logged in (2013). “Religion” is complex and diverse. Durrant, R., & Ward, T. (2011). Tinbergen, N. (1963). In J. Bulbulia, R. Sosis, & E. Harris (Eds.). Participation in religious ritual can be very costly for an individual in terms of time, money or even physical pain or bodily harm and the question – from an evolutionary perspective – is why would an individual engage in this costly behavior when there is no obvious reproductive benefit that results? Jost, J. T., Hawkins, C. B., Nosek, B. The nature and dynamics of world religions: A life-history approach. Barrett, J. L. (2007). How to pursue the adaptationist program in psychology. Abell, F., Happe, F., & Frith, U. Why should prosociality matter to other community members? In a discussion with Purzycki, he suggested the path forward for the study of religion by evolutionary anthropologists can serve two critical purposes. He also introduces an alternative evolutionary approach to the study of culture which does not claim that the principles of neo-Darwinian evolution should be applicable outside the biological domain and shows that this alternative evolutionary approach provides a deeply enriching line of enquiry. In his new podcast for the Religious Studies Project, Callum Brown has given us an excellent introduction to the historical approach to the study of religion. pp 19-53 | In her 2015 EAS talk and her 2016 paper, Power describes two modes of religious practice among Hindu and Christian residents living in two villages in rural South India. In P. McNamara (Ed.). The adaptationist-byproduct debate on the evolution of religion: Five misunderstandings of the adaptationist program. The origin of religion as a small-scale phenomenon. Bulbulia, J., & Sosis, R. (2011). Botero, C. A., Gardner, B., Kirby, K. R., Bulbulia, J., Gavin, M. C., & Gray, R. D. (2014). Kirkpatrick, L. (2006). possible social bonding functions of religion may help bolster the evolutionary study of religion and simultaneously ease concerns among some of its most ardent critics about the reductionism they believe to be inherent to the field. Is religion an evolutionarily evoked disease-avoidance strategy? Evolutionary Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion Historically, evolutionary anthropologists have allocated the majority of our attention to topics like subsistence strategies, parental investment, warfare, etc. Terrizzi, J. Finally, scholars such as Richard Sosis and EAS member Eleanor Power have tested specific predictions that have emerged from evolutionary theory regarding the individual benefits of engaging in religious behavior. First Edition. On aims and methods in ethology. The second theory regarding the origin of religion is the evolutionary approach. Wlodarski, R., & Pearce, E. (2016). First, individuals may engage in behaviors that are quite dramatic, but only costly in the short­ term, such as piercing their skin with spears, walking across hot coals and becoming possessed by a deity. The cultural morphospace of ritual form: Examining modes of religiosity cross-culturally. This is the most popular view that is taught or implied in the study of religion. The evolutionary psychology of religion is the study of religious belief using evolutionary psychology principles. The role of evolutionary psychology within an interdisciplinary science of religion. The eleven volumes of the Origin of the Idea of God (Schmidt and Koppers, Der Ursprung der Gottesidee, 1920-55) are incredibly erudite-but the theological underpinnings are so evident at every step that all but the historians of ethnology can only regret the enormous input of energy Rethinking the theoretical foundations of sociobiology. Hafer, C. L., & Sutton, R. (2016). A., Fleischman, D. S., Goetz, C. D., Lewis, D. M. G., Perilloux, C., & Buss, D. M. (2010). This chapter focuses on cultural or sociocultural evolution. White, C., Baimel, A., & Norenzayan, A. Norenzayan, A., Gervais, W. M., & Trzesniewski, K. H. (2012). What are the causes and consequences of belief in Karma. Religion is the result of an evolutionary process in human culture. Strassman, B. I., Kurapati, N. T., Hug, E. E., Gillespie, B. W., Karafet, T. M., & Hammer, M. F. (2012). Perhaps we should entertain the idea that evolutionary theory is unnecessary and that cognitive science can provide suficient explanations without employing evolutionary theories. Are children “intuitive theists”? Religion as a means to assure paternity. Evolutionary psychology: A new paradigm for psychological science. Reasoning about purpose and design in nature. A primary focus for the group­ level study of evolution and religion has been on ‘moralistic gods.’ Hervey Peoples and Frank Marlowe (2012) found a positive association between the size and social complexity of a society and belief in a moralistic god or gods (meaning the society has perceptions that gods are increasingly knowledgeable of one’s thoughts and actions and that they are increasingly likely to punish violators of social norms). Evolutionary theory, he says, can tell us why religion evolved and what it was meant to achieve, which means it can explain why the religious act the way they do. Signaling, solidarity, and the sacred: The evolution of religious behaviour. Bulbulia, J. Gould, S. J., & Lewontin, R. C. (1979). Radek Kundt compares the notion of evolution in cultural evolutionary theories with neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory to determine the value of the biological concept for studying culture. (2007). Gervais, W. M. (2013). Those who perform greater and costlier acts in the short­term are more likely to be perceived as physically strong and hard­working, while those performing subtle, long­term investment behaviors are more likely to be seen as more devout and more prosocial by their peers. Then, I attempt to push Kundt’s reasoning even further. Many of us are interested in explaining how particular behaviors allow individual humans to adapt to their surrounding environments in ways that increase their own survival and reproduction, and it isn’t immediately clear that participation in religious behaviors should directly influence either survival or reproduction. Whitehouse, H., & Lanman, J. Evolutionary psychology: Controversies, questions, prospects, and limitations. This paper discusses some questions associated with the evolutionary study of religion. Amore, R. C. (2014). Explaining moral religions. Evolutionary psychology: New perspectives on cognition and motivation. Although evolutionists agree about the general theoretical framework, they have disagreed about which hypotheses best describe the nature of religion. This force is impersonal and pervades all of creation. Johnson, D. D. (2005). Some subjects of interest include Neolithic religion, evidence for spirituality or cultic behavior in the Upper Paleolithic, and similarities in great ape behavior. The authors also suggest that these results may help understand the evolution of the wide­ranging cooperation found in large­scale societies. Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion: The Psychology of Religious Experience, 82-104. Bering, J., & Bjorklund, D. F. (2004). Using costly signaling theory, some have argued that religion is one way to honestly signal one’s commitment to prosociality within the community. Watts, J., Greenhill, S. J., Atkinson, Q. D., Currie, T. E., Bulbulia, J., & Gray, R. D. (2015). The cultural evolution of prosocial religions. Drug use and addiction: An evolutionary perspective. The virtues of intolerance: Is religion as an adaptation for war? Here we describe the behavioral ecological approach to religion. Not affiliated The ecology of religious beliefs. Sosis, R., & Bressler, E. R. (2003). The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme. However, this assumes that the evolutionary approach is our only option. Briefly, I will offer a summary of Kundt’s overviews of cultural evolution before providing an overview of his EWCE approach. Cognitive science of religion: What is it and why is it? James R. Liddle and Todd K. Shackelford Oxford Library of Psychology. (2011). Over 10 million scientific documents at your fingertips. In S. Clarke, R. Powell, & J. Savulescu (Eds.). Do triangles play tricks? (2015). Controversies in the evolutionary social sciences: A guide for the perplexed. B. Religious actions speak louder than words: Exposure to credibility-enhancing displays predicts theism. Cite as. Perceiving minds and gods: How mind perception enables, constrains, and is triggered by belief in gods. In E. Slingerland & M. Collard (Eds.). But, here we bump up against yet another potential problem for evolutionary anthropologists. This article examines three anthropological theories explaining how religion has evolved and continues to evolve. However, in order to complete the circle and apply the reputational benefits to the appropriate actor, On the one hand, the reliance on the Diltheyian conception of Geisteswissenschaften and the “territorial approach”, which argues that scholars in the humanities study exceptional and sole cases, has precluded many scholars from viewing events as part of larger evolutionary processes. Cultural influences on the teleological stance: Evidence from China. This is a preview of subscription content. One topic that has been given only minimal space is religion. We hope that you all enjoyed the AAA/CAA meeting in Vancouver as much as we did…. Part of Springer Nature. Therefore, an individual’s costly contribution to the group cooperative effort may be seen as beneficial to all and people with such a reputation may gain individual benefits. Atkinson, Q. D., & Bourrat, P. (2011). Here we describe the behavioral ecological approach to religion. In W. G. Oxtoby, R. C. Amore, & A. Hussain (Eds.). They are: commitment theory, which postulates that religion is a system of costly signaling that reduces deception and creates Hunter-gatherers and the origins of religion. How do rituals affect cooperation? The ubiquity of religion, cross-culturally and historically, suggests that it is likely to have an evolutionary basis. Subsistence and the evolution of religion. A., & Buhrmester, M. D. (2017). This service is more advanced with JavaScript available, Religion, Crime and Punishment Cultural group selection plays an essential role in explaining human cooperation: A sketch of the evidence. Most notably, the evolutionary sciences do not offer one clear procedure to study religion or any human activity. ), Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality. A., Hennes, E. P., Stern, C., Gosling, S. D., & Graham, J. Scholars employing an evolutionary approach to the study of religion and religious beliefs search for ultimate explanations of the origin, propagation, and persistence of religious beliefs. Broad supernatural punishment but not moralizing high gods precede the evolution of political complexity in Austronesia. The natural emergence of reasoning about the afterlife as a developmental regularity. Is religion adaptive. Durrant, R., & Ward, T. (2012). Power, E. A. Watts, F., & Bretherton, R. (2017). Buddhist traditions. Signalling theory and the evolution of religious cooperation. Kirkpatrick, L. (2011). Sosis, R. (2009). A well-disposed social anthropologist’s problems with the ‘cognitive science of religion’ restrict the evolutionary study of religion to genetic systems, and many evolution- ary researchers use a naturalized conception of ‘culture’to explain the systems that express and conserve religions (Geertz and Markusson 2010; Gervais et al. (2017). Durrant, R., & Haig, B. D. (2001). Evolutionary accounts of belief in supernatural punishment: A critical review. Wood, B., & Baker, J. Contemporary Evolutionary Theories of Culture and the Study of Religion surveys the historical background of cultural evolution as used in the study of religion, pinpointing major objections to classical nineteenth-century theories. It is one approach to the psychology of religion.As with all other organs and organ functions, the brain's functional structure is argued to have a genetic basis, and is therefore subject to the effects of natural selection and evolution. Proponents of this theory believe, as in the subjective theory, that religion originates with man. The ubiquity of religion, cross-culturally and historically, suggests that it is likely to have an evolutionary basis. In P. McNamara (Ed.). © 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. We have seen an increase in the exploration into evolutionary explanations for religious behavior and religious affiliation in the evolutionary and human behavioral ecological literature over the last few years. Rottman, J., Zhu, L., Wang, W., Schillaci, R. S., Clark, K. J., & Kelemen, D. (2017). Cooperation and commune longevity: A test of the costly signalling theory of religion. Mentalizing deficits constrain belief in personal God. Second, they can engage in behaviors that are more subtle but also are costly over a longer period of time, such as worshiping at a church or temple each week. Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. The role of ritual in the evolution of social complexity: Five predictions and a drum roll. Belief in moralizing gods. (2017). This may be why religions with moralistic gods (e.g. Westport, CT: … others they weren’t related to or didn’t know and that through this cooperation, group sizes could expand with minimal conflict. Powell, R., & Clarke, S. (2012). Evolutionary perspectives on religion: An overview and synthesis. Conclusion In conclusion, Kundt has done a great service to the study of religion. Currently much of the focus on the study of religion more broadly is centered around Abrahamic religions, though Purzycki says, “We know that not all societies are complex, not all religions are Abrahamic, and not all gods are concerned with morality.” We just don’t have a good sense about the variation that exists across cultures, therefore the first step for anthropologists should be describing that variation. Vancouver as much as we did… variation in agency detection, mentalizing and and... 2011 ) F. L., & Kundt, R. Powell, & Sellman, D. F. ( 2004.. 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A critique of the Darwinian-inspired evolutionary approach to religion atkinson, Q.,... Overview and Synthesis complexity: Five predictions and a drum roll regarding the origin of religion Varley,,., B. D. ( 2001 ) can provide suficient explanations without employing evolutionary theories complexity: Five misunderstandings of wide­ranging.

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