1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Evolutionary Approaches to Religion

Edited By Yair Lior, Justin Lane Copyright 2023
    540 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    540 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The past two decades have seen a growing interest in evolutionary and scientific approaches to religion. The Routledge Handbook of Evolutionary Approaches to Religion is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting and emerging field. Comprising over thirty chapters by a team of international contributors the handbook pulls together scholarship in the following areas:

    • evolutionary psychology and the cognitive science of religion (CSR)
    • cultural evolution
    • the complementarity of evolutionary psychology, cognitive science and cultural evolution

    Within these sections central issues, debates and problems are examined, including: Cliodynamics, cultural group selection, costly signaling, dual inheritance theory, literacy, transmitting narratives, prosociality, supernatural punishment, cognition and ritual, meme theory, fusion theory, sexual selection, agency detection, evoked culture, social brain hypothesis, theory of mind, developmental psychology, emergence theory, social learning, cultural cybernetics, cultural epidemiology, evolutionary and cultural psychology, memetics, by-product and adaptationist theories of religion, systems and information theory, and computer modeling.

    This Handbook is essential reading for students and researchers in religious studies and anthropology. It will also be very useful to those in related fields, such as psychology, sociology of religion, cognitive biology, and evolutionary biology.

    1 Introduction: Evolutionary Approaches to Religion
    Yair Lior and Justin Lane

    PART 1
    Evolutionary Psychology

    2 Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology
    Justin Lane and Yair Lior

    3 Child Development: The Effects of Ritual on Cognitive Development
    Veronika Rybanska

    4 Cognition and the History of Religion
    Luther H. Martin

    5 Evoked Culture: Cognitive Mechanisms of Religious Belief and Behavior
    E. Thomas Lawson

    6 Sacred Values: Identity Fusion, Devoted Actor Theory, and Extremism
    Kayla Bonnin and Justin Lane

    7 Sexual Selection: Long- term Mating Strategies and Religion
    James A. Van Slyke

    8 Minimally Counterintuitive Concepts: A Unified Theory in the Cognitive Science of Religion?
    Muhammad Afzal Upal

    9 Faces in Clouds and Voices in the Wind: Anthropomorphism, Agency Detection and Human Cognition
    Stewart E. Guthrie and Michaela Porubanova

    10 Social Brain Hypothesis: Dunbar’s Number and the Stability of Religious Social Networks
    Michael J. Gantley, John P. McKeown and Ángel V. Jiménez

    11 Atheism: A New Evolutionary Perspective on Non-Belief
    Thomas J. Coleman, Kyle J. Messick, and Valerie van Mulukom

    12 Personality and Psychology in the Evolution of Religion
    Igor Mikloušić and Boris Mlačić

    13 Hazard Precaution: Examining the Possible Adaptive Value of Ritualized Behavior
    Martin Lang and Radim Chvaja

    PART 2
    Cultural Evolution

    14 Introduction to Cultural Evolution
    Armin W. Geertz

    15 Cultural Group Selection and the Evolution of Religion
    Taylor Davis

    16 Costly Signaling: The ABCs of Signaling Theory and Religion
    Richard Sosis

    17 Credibility Enhancing Displays (CREDs): When They Work and When They Don’t
    Hugh Turpin and Jonathan A. Lanman

    18 Dual Inheritance Theory: Religion, Narrative, and Selection
    Francesco Ferretti and Ines Adornetti

    19 The Co- evolution of Religion and Literate Culture
    Daniel Mullins

    20 Religion and Prosociality: The Naturalization of Norms
    Connor Wood

    21 Big Gods Theory: The Cultural Evolution of Social Complexity and Prosocial Religions
    Yair Lior

    22 The Evolution of Ritual, Cognition, and Modes of Religiosity During the Agricultural Transition
    Michael J. Gantley

    23 Meme Theory
    Justin Lane

    24 Institutional Evolution: The Dynamics of Religious Formations
    Jonathan H. Turner and Armin W. Geertz

    25 Behavioral Ecology: Niche Construction and Religion
    John Balch

    PART 3
    Synthetic Approaches

    26 Synthetic Approaches: At the Intersection of Evolutionary Psychology and Cultural Evolution
    Yair Lior and Justin Lane

    27 Religion Emerges: The Evolution of Language and Religion
    Paul Cassell

    28 Cultural Cybernetics of Religion: Computation and Information Transmission in Religion
    Justin Lane

    29 Major Transitions in Cultural Evolution: A Dynamic Systems Approach
    Yair Lior

    30 Cultural Epidemiology: Attractors and Representations
    Radu Umbreș

    31 Differentiating Processes of Biological, Cognitive, and Cultural Selection: Implications for the Adaptation/ Byproduct Debate
    Lee Kirkpatrick

    32 Synthesis and Explanatory Pluralism
    Wesley J. Wildman and David Rohr

    33 Concluding Reflections: An Evolutionary Approach to Comparative Religion
    William E. Paden



    Yair Lior is Doctor of Religious Studies at Boston University, USA, and a research associate at the Center for Mind and Culture (CMAC), Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    Justin Lane is co-founder and CEO at CulturePulse Inc. (USA/Slovakia), Scientific Advisor at DEKK Institute (Bratislava, Slovakia), and collaborates as a researcher with the Slovak Academy of Science (Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology).