Origins and evolution of religion from a Darwinian point of view: Synthesis of different theories. 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. Fischer, R., Callander, R., Reddish, P., & Bulbulia, J. 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. 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. B., Meyer, K. K., Varley, A. H., & Brewer, G. A. Belief in moralizing gods. (2006). 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. Wilson, D. S., & Green, W. S. (2011). Bulbulia, J., & Sosis, R. (2011). Using costly signaling theory, some have argued that religion is one way to honestly signal one’s commitment to prosociality within the community. Power showed that community members were perceiving different signals from different modes of practice. pp 19-53 | (2013). Explaining moral religions. Buddhist traditions. (2017). In E. Slingerland & M. Collard (Eds.). In P. McNamara (Ed.). Johnson, K. A., Li, Y. J., & Cohen, A. Powell, R., & Clarke, S. (2012). Christianity, Islam) are spread so far and wide around the world and why large­scale societies and prosociality are as well. Fundamental social motives and the varieties of religious experience. Adaptation, exaptations, and spandrels. Some scholars, like Richard Sosis, Joseph Heinrich and EAS member William Irons, have been focusing on the evolutionary origins of religion. It begins with a discussion of the Darwinian-inspired evolutionary approach to history. 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. Religion, meaning, and the brain. Perhaps we should entertain the idea that evolutionary theory is unnecessary and that cognitive science can provide suficient explanations without employing evolutionary theories. Signaling, solidarity, and the sacred: The evolution of religious behaviour. 63.249.93.208. Wood, B., & Baker, J. Evolutionary perspectives on religion: An overview and synthesis. And what does this have to do with religion? In the most primitive period of a culture, the most basic form of religion begins with an innate feeling that a spiritual force exists. Brown, G. R., Dickins, T. E., Sear, R., & Laland, K. N. (2011). Not affiliated Buss, D. M., Haselton, M. G., Shackelford, T. K., Bleske, A. L., & Wakefield, J. C. (1998). Brown, G. R., & Richerson, P. J. Evolutionary explanations in the social and behavioural sciences. This quest often pairs in debate two opposing perspectives: the adaptationist and “by-product” explanations of religion and religious beliefs. 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. On aims and methods in ethology. A., Hennes, E. P., Stern, C., Gosling, S. D., & Graham, J. Human behavioral ecology: Current research and future prospects. This is a preview of subscription content. The evolutionary psychology of religion is the study of religious belief using evolutionary psychology principles. Next, in order to have a better grasp on how and for what purposes religion evolved, we need to explain the variation. This force is impersonal and pervades all of creation. Specifically, within­group prosociality and cooperation are useful for coordinating in subsistence work or warfare – making sure everyone in the group is fed and safe. 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. (2007). How to pursue the adaptationist program in psychology. Sosis, R., & Bulbulia, J. 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. Kathrine Starkweather is a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and co­editor of EAS News. 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. Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion: The Psychology of Religious Experience, 82-104. The adaptationist-byproduct debate on the evolution of religion: Five misunderstandings of the adaptationist program. Terrizzi, J. White, C., Baimel, A., & Norenzayan, A. This service is more advanced with JavaScript available, Religion, Crime and Punishment A multidimensional analysis of reproductive and cooperative morals. Kirkpatrick, L. (2006). Power, E. A. Historically, evolutionary anthropologists have allocated the majority of our attention to topics like subsistence strategies, parental investment, warfare, etc. Kanazawa, S. (2015). Evolutionary psychology: New perspectives on cognition and motivation. Evolutionary psychology: Controversies, questions, prospects, and limitations. Rottman, J., Zhu, L., Wang, W., Schillaci, R. S., Clark, K. J., & Kelemen, D. (2017). The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and Religion. Here we describe the behavioral ecological approach to religion. The second theory regarding the origin of religion is the evolutionary approach. Evolution in the genus. How do rituals affect cooperation? In J. Bulbulia, R. Sosis, & E. Harris (Eds.). Part of Springer Nature. In T. Heams, P. Huneman, G. Lecointre, & M. Silberstein (Eds.). Although evolutionists agree about the general theoretical framework, they have disagreed about which hypotheses best describe the nature of religion. Evolutionary theory includes a number of major hypotheses that can be applied to the study of all traits, including the traits associated with religion. (2017). Evolutionary Communication presents the first comprehensive evolutionary approach to the study of human communication. 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. This article examines three anthropological theories explaining how religion has evolved and continues to evolve. Subsistence and the evolution of religion. Lanman, J. Watts, F., & Bretherton, R. (2017). ), Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality. (2014). Reasoning about purpose and design in nature. However, in order to complete the circle and apply the reputational benefits to the appropriate actor, (2017). Watts, J., Greenhill, S. J., Atkinson, Q. D., Currie, T. E., Bulbulia, J., & Gray, R. D. (2015). 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. Hunter-gatherers and the origins of religion. Evolutionary accounts of belief in supernatural punishment: A critical review. Durrant, R., Adamson, S., Todd, F., & Sellman, D. (2009). Extreme rituals promote prosociality. Amore, R. C. (2014). Applying evolutionary theory to human behaviour: Past differences and current debates. Gervais, W. M. (2013). 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 The role of evolutionary explanations in criminology. 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 Evolutionary psychology: A new paradigm for psychological science. (2013). Applying evolutionary analyses to the study of religion is fraught with complications and potential misunderstandings. Religion poses a problem for evolutionary anthropologists. Botero, C. A., Gardner, B., Kirby, K. R., Bulbulia, J., Gavin, M. C., & Gray, R. D. (2014). 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. A., & Buhrmester, M. D. (2017). Yes, No, Neutral, but mostly, we don’t know. A well-disposed social anthropologist’s problems with the ‘cognitive science of religion’ On the varieties of sexual experience. A., Fleischman, D. S., Goetz, C. D., Lewis, D. M. G., Perilloux, C., & Buss, D. M. (2010). 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. Strassman, B. I., Kurapati, N. T., Hug, E. E., Gillespie, B. W., Karafet, T. M., & Hammer, M. F. (2012). Johnson, D., & Reeve, Z. Sosis, R., & Bressler, E. R. (2003). Norenzayan, A., Gervais, W. M., & Trzesniewski, K. H. (2012). (2011). The ties that bind us: Ritual, fusion, and identification. Wilson, D. S., & Wilson, E. O. Evolutionary, Cognitive, and Contextual Approaches to the Study of Religious Systems: A Proposition of Synthesis August 2019 Method & Theory in the Study of Religion (2011). Baumard, N., & Boyer, P. (2013). Schmitt, D. P., & Fuller, R. C. (2015). In W. G. Oxtoby, R. C. Amore, & A. Hussain (Eds.). Sosis, R. (2009). The natural emergence of reasoning about the afterlife as a developmental regularity. 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. Presuming no specialized knowledge of evolutionary theory, this reader-friendly textbook explains why and how communication became the determining factor in human development. Bering, J., & Bjorklund, D. F. (2004). 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