Article

The evolution of religion

Joseph A. Bulbulia

in Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568308
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198568308.013.0043

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The evolution of religion

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This article reviews recent theoretical and experimental work in the cognitive and evolutionary psychology of religion, and motivates an adaptationist stance. By ‘religious cognition’ and ‘religiosity’, the article means belief and practice relative to supernatural beings and powers — call them ‘gods’. It suggests that religiosity — god commitment and the behaviour it prompts and that motivate it — bears the hallmark of adaptive design. Adaptive religiosity is more like an achievement than a harmless mistake, as spandrelists urge, or catching a cold, as meme theorists urge. It begins with a serious obstacle to any evolutionary treatment of religion. Science assumes methodological naturalism. The article does not stipulate the gods out of existence. However, it suggests the idea that nature is secular and provides a good explanation from minimal assumptions about the complexity of the world.

Keywords: evolutionary psychology; religion; cognition; religiosity; gods; behaviour; adaptive design; nature

Article.  9923 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.