Lanman, J. The ubiquity of religion, cross-culturally and historically, suggests that it is likely to have an evolutionary basis. Perceiving minds and gods: How mind perception enables, constrains, and is triggered by belief in gods. The evolutionary origin of religions and religious behavior is a field of study related to evolutionary psychology, the origin of language and mythology, and cross-cultural comparison of the anthropology of religion. (2013). Norenzayan, A., Gervais, W. M., & Trzesniewski, K. H. (2012). Applying evolutionary analyses to the study of religion is fraught with complications and potential misunderstandings. This quest often pairs in debate two opposing perspectives: the adaptationist and “by-product” explanations of religion and religious beliefs. Kanazawa, S. (2015). Evolutionary Communication presents the first comprehensive evolutionary approach to the study of human communication. In P. McNamara (Ed.). Wilson, D. S., & Wilson, E. O. Brown, G. R., & Richerson, P. J. Dunbar, R. I. M. (2013). Another abiding theme in Evolution, Religion, & Cognitive Science is that of the compatibility of ECSR, either with religious faith and practice or with other scholarly approaches to the study of religion. Mentalizing deficits constrain belief in personal God. Kirkpatrick, L. (2011). What predicts religiosity? First Edition. Johnson, D. D. (2005). Evolutionary psychology: New perspectives on cognition and motivation. Buss, D. M. (1995). Reddish, P., Tok, P., & Kundt, R. (2016). Power showed that community members were perceiving different signals from different modes of practice. pp 19-53 | Presuming no specialized knowledge of evolutionary theory, this reader-friendly textbook explains why and how communication became the determining factor in human development. How to pursue the adaptationist program in psychology. 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. It is argued that each of these approaches can potentially account for important aspects of religion and that frameworks which integrate by-product and adaptationist accounts and draw on the idea of cultural evolution are particularly promising. And what does this have to do with religion? Hunter-gatherers and the origins of religion. (2013). Johnson, K. A., Li, Y. J., & Cohen, A. The ties that bind us: Ritual, fusion, and identification. © 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. (2015). Bourrat, P. (2015). (2017). Drug use and addiction: An evolutionary perspective. 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. In this chapter we critically review evolutionary approaches to understanding religion by looking, in turn, at three main perspectives: religion as a by-product, religion as an adaptation, and religion as the product of cultural evolutionary processes. Most notably, the evolutionary sciences do not offer one clear procedure to study religion or any human activity. Evolutionary explanations in the social and behavioural sciences. Subsistence and the evolution of religion. Atkinson, Q. D., & Whitehouse, H. (2011). There are three forms of modern Darwinian evolutionism in the social sciences and humanities: the gene-based biological, the social learning-based sociocultural, and gene–culture coevolution dealing with their interaction. In S. Clarke, R. Powell, & J. Savulescu (Eds.). (2011). In conversation with Christopher Cotter, Brown outlines rival traditions within the history of religion and demonstrates what each has contributed to our understanding of secularisation. Richerson, P., Baldini, R., Bell, A. V., Demps, K., Frost, K., Hillis, V., … Ross, C. (2016). Drawing from the latest scientific research, Evolutionary Communication represents a … Atkinson, Q. D., & Bourrat, P. (2011). A. Buss, D. M., Haselton, M. G., Shackelford, T. K., Bleske, A. L., & Wakefield, J. C. (1998). Powered by. Evolutionary psychology: Controversies, questions, prospects, and limitations. In a discussion with Purzycki, he suggested the path forward for the study of religion by evolutionary anthropologists can serve two critical purposes. One topic that has been given only minimal space is religion. Barrett, J. L. (2007). Whitehouse, H., Francois, P., & Turchin, P. (2015). Here we describe the behavioral ecological approach to religion. In J. Bulbulia, R. Sosis, & E. Harris (Eds.). This paper discusses some questions associated with the evolutionary study of religion. In W. G. Oxtoby, R. C. Amore, & A. Hussain (Eds.). Durrant, R., & Ward, T. (2012). Koppers approach to the study of religion by anthropologists. Evolutionary accounts of human behavioural diversity. Part of Springer Nature. In this article, we introduce the general rationale behind the evolutionary cognitive science of religion, answer some sensible humanistic objections to it and defend the promise of a ‘consilient’ approach to advance the academic study of religion. Evolution in the genus. (2006). Watts, F., & Bretherton, R. (2017). Wlodarski, R., & Pearce, E. (2016). Religious cognition and behaviour in autism: The role of mentalizing. Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion: The Psychology of Religious Experience, 82-104. Amore, R. C. (2014). James R. Liddle and Todd K. Shackelford Oxford Library of Psychology. Sosis, R., & Bulbulia, J. Over 10 million scientific documents at your fingertips. (2017). Durrant, R., & Haig, B. D. (2001). Origins and evolution of religion from a Darwinian point of view: Synthesis of different theories. Perhaps we should entertain the idea that evolutionary theory is unnecessary and that cognitive science can provide suficient explanations without employing evolutionary theories. They are: commitment theory, which postulates that religion is a system of costly signaling that reduces deception and creates Roes, F. L., & Raymond, M. (2003). Religion as an evolutionary byproduct: A critique of the standard model. Researchers focused on a group­level explanation of the role of religion in the evolution of human behavior suggest that an individual might participate in costly behavior because he or she benefits through benefiting the group at large. Controversies in the evolutionary social sciences: A guide for the perplexed. 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 … The second theory regarding the origin of religion is the evolutionary approach. Hall, D. L., Cohen, A. Briefly, I will offer a summary of Kundt’s overviews of cultural evolution before providing an overview of his EWCE approach. In this chapter we critically review evolutionary approaches to understanding religion by looking, in turn, at three main perspectives: religion as a by-product, religion as an adaptation, and religion as the product of cultural evolutionary processes. 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. Kirkpatrick, L. (2006). Sosis, R., & Bressler, E. R. (2003). (2016). The God allusion: Individual variation in agency detection, mentalizing and schizotypy and their association with religious beliefs and behaviours. Powell, R., & Clarke, S. (2012). As Purzycki suggests, the study of religion seems to be at a critical point and as evolutionary anthropologists, we have particular skills we can bring to bear on the development of scholarship going forward. 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. B. In T. Heams, P. Huneman, G. Lecointre, & M. Silberstein (Eds.). Kathrine Starkweather is a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and co­editor of EAS News. 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. Attribution of mental states to animated shapes in normal and abnormal development. Why should prosociality matter to other community members? Bulbulia, J. 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. Is religion an evolutionarily evoked disease-avoidance strategy? (2011). 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. B., Meyer, K. K., Varley, A. H., & Brewer, G. A. Buddhist traditions. 2011). Riekki, T., Lindeman, M., & Raij, T. T. (2014). Next, in order to have a better grasp on how and for what purposes religion evolved, we need to explain the variation. Here we describe the behavioral ecological approach to religion. This has been a challenging few months for all of us, with no end in sight…, We hope that you are all managing to find some peace and balance in these challenging times…. Schloss, J. P., & Murray, M. J. Understanding the study of religious phenomena as the study of incomparable individual events severely limits the … Bulbulia, J., & Sosis, R. (2011). The narrower focus thus will be on analysing methodological natura lism and arguments presented to justify it as the preferable position for all scholars of religion… Norenzayan, A., Shariff, A. F., Willard A. K., Slingerland, W. E., Gervais, R. A., McNamara, R. A., & Henrich, J. Using costly signaling theory, some have argued that religion is one way to honestly signal one’s commitment to prosociality within the community. Hafer, C. L., & Sutton, R. (2016). Signaling, solidarity, and the sacred: The evolution of religious behaviour. What are the causes and consequences of belief in Karma. Evolutionary, Cognitive, and Contextual Approaches to the Study of Religious Systems: A Proposition of Synthesis August 2019 Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 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 behavioural ecology of religion: The benefits and costs of one evolutionary approach. 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. Others, like Benjamin Purzycki, Scott Atran and former EAS president Frank Marlowe, have been examining the contribution of religion to the evolution of increasing population size and societal complexity. (2011). The cultural morphospace of ritual form: Examining modes of religiosity cross-culturally. Religion is not an adaptation. Signalling theory and the evolution of religious cooperation. The authors also suggest that these results may help understand the evolution of the wide­ranging cooperation found in large­scale societies. (2007). A., Fleischman, D. S., Goetz, C. D., Lewis, D. M. G., Perilloux, C., & Buss, D. M. (2010). Supernatural believers attribute more intentions to random movements than skeptics: An fMRI study. Brown, G. R., Dickins, T. E., Sear, R., & Laland, K. N. (2011). This may be why religions with moralistic gods (e.g. 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. And if prosociality is considered important to that community, one may gain reputational benefits that would afford him or her future survival or reproductive benefits. (2013). However, this assumes that the evolutionary approach is our only option. 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. A. Jost, J. T., Hawkins, C. B., Nosek, B. The natural emergence of reasoning about the afterlife as a developmental regularity. “Religion” is complex and diverse. Cooperation and commune longevity: A test of the costly signalling theory of religion. 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. The evolutionary psychology of religion is the study of religious belief using evolutionary psychology principles. Not affiliated Cite as. It is call… In their recent Nature paper, Purzycki and his colleagues also show a positive association between the perception of a moralistic god(s) and societal complexity, as well as prosocial tendencies of individuals. One topic that has been given only minimal space is religion. Applying evolutionary theory to human behaviour: Past differences and current debates. 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. ), Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality. Cultural group selection plays an essential role in explaining human cooperation: A sketch of the evidence. Peoples, H. C., & Marlowe, F. W. (2012). This chapter focuses on cultural or sociocultural evolution. The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme. Strassman, B. I., Kurapati, N. T., Hug, E. E., Gillespie, B. W., Karafet, T. M., & Hammer, M. F. (2012). Belief in moralizing gods. On aims and methods in ethology. 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. Historically, evolutionary anthropologists have allocated the majority of our attention to topics like subsistence strategies, parental investment, warfare, etc. Is religion adaptive. Religious actions speak louder than words: Exposure to credibility-enhancing displays predicts theism. Do triangles play tricks? Religion as a means to assure paternity. How do rituals affect cooperation? This recent focus has also shed new light on the importance of further empirical and theoretical exploration into all aspects of religious behavior and motivations from an evolutionary perspective. Broad supernatural punishment but not moralizing high gods precede the evolution of political complexity in Austronesia. Cognitive science of religion: What is it and why is it? Some scholars, like Richard Sosis, Joseph Heinrich and EAS member William Irons, have been focusing on the evolutionary origins of religion. (2014). Smith, E. A., Mulder, M., & Hill, K. (2001). 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. Rethinking the theoretical foundations of sociobiology. The adaptationist-byproduct debate on the evolution of religion: Five misunderstandings of the adaptationist program. logical naturalism and the issue of its justifiability in the evolutionary study of religion as well as for the study of religion in general. Belief in a just god (and a just society): A system justification perspective on religious ideology. Costly signalling increases trust, even across religious affiliations. Confer, J. C., Easton, J. Where do gods come from? Adaptation, exaptations, and spandrels. Xygalatas, D., Mitkidis, P., Fischer, R., Reddish, P., Skewes, J., Feertz, A. W., & Bulbulia, J. God’s punishment and public goods. But, here we bump up against yet another potential problem for evolutionary anthropologists. Nature’s medicine: Religiosity as an adaptation for health and cooperation. Abell, F., Happe, F., & Frith, U. However, in order to complete the circle and apply the reputational benefits to the appropriate actor, (2017). In P. McNamara (Ed. an overview for an evolutionary approach to religion that is not reliant on “cultural evolution,” which he terms Evolution Without Cultural Evolution (EWCE). Fundamental social motives and the varieties of religious experience. 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. Extreme rituals promote prosociality. First and foremost, we hope that this email finds all of you in good health. In C. Sabbagh & M. Schmitt (Eds.). (2017). Gervais, W. M. (2013). The cultural evolution of prosocial religions. Proponents of this theory believe, as in the subjective theory, that religion originates with man. Evolutionary theory includes a number of major hypotheses that can be applied to the study of all traits, including the traits associated with religion. This service is more advanced with JavaScript available, Religion, Crime and Punishment The virtues of intolerance: Is religion as an adaptation for war? Wilson, D. S., & Green, W. S. (2011). Although evolutionists agree about the general theoretical framework, they have disagreed about which hypotheses best describe the nature of religion. 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. The role of evolutionary psychology within an interdisciplinary science of religion. The Evolutionary Approach Though that religion naturally evolved from the simple to complex ant that this evolution was a natural consequence of human nature * Was centered on the questions of when and how religion began Richerson, P. J., & Newson, L. (2008). On the varieties of sexual experience. Some subjects of interest include Neolithic religion, evidence for spirituality or cultic behavior in the Upper Paleolithic, and similarities in great ape behavior. 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? Then, I attempt to push Kundt’s reasoning even further. 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. Power, E. A. Bering, J., & Bjorklund, D. F. (2004). The role of ritual in the evolution of social complexity: Five predictions and a drum roll. Beliefs about God, the afterlife and morality support the role of supernatural policing in human cooperation. (2013). If religion is a western concept that has been used to shore up the authority of the colonial and sovereign state, through shifting, arbitrary demarcations between “religion” tradition, culture, reason, and the nation, then scholars should be wary of treating it as a stable, coherent object of academic study. Belief in a just world. Durrant, R., & Ward, T. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and Religion. Rottman, J., Zhu, L., Wang, W., Schillaci, R. S., Clark, K. J., & Kelemen, D. (2017). Weeden, J., & Kurzban, R. (2013). Fischer, R., Callander, R., Reddish, P., & Bulbulia, J. Baumard, N., & Boyer, P. (2013). We hope that you all enjoyed the AAA/CAA meeting in Vancouver as much as we did…. Tinbergen, N. (1963). This is the most popular view that is taught or implied in the study of religion. 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 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. They suggest that this association may be partially responsible for the evolution of social complexity in that religion served as a mechanism through which people were motivated to act in a prosocial way towards Durrant, R., Adamson, S., Todd, F., & Sellman, D. (2009). Nettle, D., Gibson, M. A., Lawson, D. W., & Sear, R. (2013). Religion is the result of an evolutionary process in human culture. 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 It begins with a discussion of the Darwinian-inspired evolutionary approach to history. The ecology of religious beliefs. In E. Slingerland & M. Collard (Eds.). Religion poses a problem for evolutionary anthropologists. (2014). Schmitt, D. P., & Fuller, R. C. (2015). Not logged in Botero, C. A., Gardner, B., Kirby, K. R., Bulbulia, J., Gavin, M. C., & Gray, R. D. (2014). Watts, J., Greenhill, S. J., Atkinson, Q. D., Currie, T. E., Bulbulia, J., & Gray, R. D. (2015). Sosis, R. (2009). White, C., Baimel, A., & Norenzayan, A. The origin of religion as a small-scale phenomenon. Most notably, the evolutionary sciences do not offer one clear procedure to study religion or any human activity. manities (e.g., Tylor’s individualist and intellectualist approach vs. Durkheim’s collectivist and emotionalist approach), the sciences bring a suite of ontologi-cal and epistemological assumptions that divide disciplines studying religion cross-sectionally, producing tremendous volumes of mutually incompatible theories of religion. The nature and dynamics of world religions: A life-history approach. Applying evolutionary analyses to the study of religion is fraught with complications and potential misunderstandings. Evolutionary religious studies: A beginner’s guide. Because interactionists study one-on-one, everyday interactions between individuals, a scholar using this approach might ask questions focused on this dynamic. Are children “intuitive theists”? 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