Evolutionary Religious Studies: A Beginner's Guide

David Sloan Wilson and William Scott Green

in Creating Consilience

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794393
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919338 | DOI:

Series: New Directions in Cognitive Science

Evolutionary Religious Studies: A Beginner's Guide

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Evolutionary theory includes a number of major hypotheses that can be applied to the study of all traits, including the traits associated with religion. Although evolutionists agree about the general theoretical framework, they have disagreed about which hypotheses best describe the nature of religion. Some favor group-level adaptationism, others favor individual-level adaptationism, others favor byproduct hypotheses, and so on. More recently, positions that previously seemed incompatible have been reconciled with each other. This chapter outlines the emerging consensus, which should make evolutionary theory the framework of choice for the scientific and scholarly study of religion.

Keywords: evolutionary theory; traits; religion; group adaptationism; individual adaptationism

Chapter.  8993 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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