The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and Religion by James R. Liddle, ISBN-13: 978-0199397747


The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and Religion by James R. Liddle, ISBN-13: 978-0199397747

[PDF eBook eTextbook]

  • Publisher: ‎ Oxford University Press; 1st edition (January 1, 2021)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • 400 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0199397740
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0199397747

The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and Religion offers a comprehensive and compelling review of research in religious beliefs and practices from an evolutionary perspective on human psychology. The chapters, written by renowned experts on human behavior and religion, explore a number of subtopics within one of three themes: (1) the psychological mechanisms of religion, (2) evolutionary perspectives on the functionality of religion, and (3) evolutionary perspectives on religion and group living.

This book unites the theoretical and empirical work of leading scholars in the evolutionary, cognitive, and anthropological sciences to produce an extensive and authoritative review of this literature. Its interdisciplinary approach makes it an important resource for a broad spectrum of researchers, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates who are interested in studying the factors and mechanisms that underlie and/or affect religious beliefs and behaviors.

Table of Contents:

Halftitle page
Series page
Title Page
Copyright page
Short Contents
About the Editors
1. An Introduction to Evolutionary Perspectives on Religion
What Is Religion?
Applying an Evolutionary Psychological Perspective to Religion
Byproduct Accounts of Religion
Adaptationist Accounts of Religion
Religious Beliefs as Memes
2. Mickey, Yahweh, and Zeus: Why Cultural Learning Is Essential for the Evolutionary Study of Religion
Of Mickey and Mithra: Why Cultural Learning Is Essential for the Evolutionary Study of Religion
Six Questions
Byproducts and Adaptations: Early Evolutionary Approaches to Religion
Cultural Evolution
Learning to Believe: Religious Belief and Cultural Evolution
Can This Integrated Framework Answer the Six Questions?
The Future of Faith
3. The Diversity of Religious Systems Across History: An Evolutionary Cognitive Approach
Avoiding Anachronism_ Religious Beliefs in Human History
The Supernatural Repertoire
Small-Scale Societies: Interaction with Superhuman Agents
Kingdoms and City-States: The Creation of “Religion”
The Axial Age Movements
Why Religions Never Completely Eliminate Local Cults
Religious Representations and Human Evolution
4. Religion as Anthropomorphism: A Cognitive Theory
Some Contemporary Theories of Religion
Anthropomorphism in Everyday Life
Anthropomorphism as Evolutionary Byproduct
Animism as Anthropomorphism
Animism Among Animals
Cognitive Neuroscience and Anthropomorphism
Critical Objections
5. Evolutionary Developmental Psychology of Children’s Religious Beliefs
Detecting Agents
Engaging Minds
Teleological Reasoning
Intuitive Dualism
Minimally Counterintuitive Ideas
The Naturalness of Religion
Religion as Evolutionary Adaptation or Byproduct?
6. Belief, Ritual, and the Evolution of Religion
The Religious Mind
Evolving the Religious Mind
Religious Ritual as Costly Behavior
An Evolutionary Scenario
Conclusion: Why Supernaturalize?
7. Adolescence and Religion: An Evolutionary Perspective
The Human Brain
Adolescent Brain Development
Social Communication: From Signals to the Sacred
Human Ritual
Adolescent Rites of Passage
Religion and Health
Religion: A Costly Signal
8. Religion and Morality: The Evolution of the Cognitive Nexus
The Evolution of Morality
The Moral Function of Religion: The Standard Model
The Religion-Morality Nexus
The Evolved Cognitive Framework for Religious Moral Traditions
9. The Kin Selection of Religion
The Evolution of Cooperation
Behavioral Ecology of Human Hunter-Gatherers
Human Cognitive Ecology
The Origins and Early Evolution of Religious Thought and Behavior
Conclusions and Prospects
10. The Coevolution of Religious Belief and Intuitive Cognitive Style via Individual-Level Selection
The Functionalist Position
Byproduct Explanation
An Individual-Level Selection Account of the Coevolution of Religious Belief and Intuitive Cognitive Style
Potential Questions and Concerns
11. The Early Origin of Religion: Its Role as a Survival Kit
Proximate Versus Ultimate
Evolutionary Sequence
Working Definitions
Uncertain Novelty to Embedded Tradition
Pigs—Feared or Favored
Basic Liturgy
Supernatural—God, Gods, Sacred Ancestors
Survival Kit
Religion as a Survival Kit
12. The Elephant in the Pews: Reproductive Strategy and Religiosity
Recognizing the Elephant (Hint: Size Matters)
The Reproductive Religiosity Model
Complex, Multidirectional Causality
Evolutionary Foundations
Relationship to Some Other Evolutionary Theories of Religion
13. Religion: An Evolutionary Evoked Disease-Avoidance Strategy
Religion and Purity
Disease Threat and the Behavioral Immune System
Disgust and Purity
Disease Threat and Social Behavior
Religion and Prejudice
Social Conservatism and Disease Avoidance
Parasite Stress and Regional Differences in Sociality
Sex Differences in Behavioral Immune System Functioning and Religiosity
Psychopathology and Religious Obsessions
14. Religion as a Means of Perceived Security: Testing the Secure Society Theory
Data Sets and Variable Selection
Conclusions, Limitations, and Future Directions
15. Charismatic Signaling: How Religion Stabilizes Cooperation and Entrenches Inequality
Section I: Religion Facilitates Cooperation by Suppressing Cheating: Costly Signaling Theory
Section II: Religion Evolves Cooperation by Suppressing Uncertainty: Charismatic Signaling Theory
16. The Evolution of Religion and Morality
Theoretical Groundwork
Reviewing the Evidence
Religious and Nonreligious Moralities
Concluding Remarks
17. The Roots of Intergroup Conflict and the Co-optation of the Religious System: An Evolutionary Perspective on Religious Terrorism
The Evolutionary Roots of Terrorism
The Cultural Evolution of Terrorism
Co-opting the Religious System
18. Selected to Kill in His Name: Evolutionary Perspectives on Religiously Motivated Violence
Evolutionary Psychological Perspectives on Violence
Religion Exploits Evolved Psychological Mechanisms
Sexually Selected Underpinnings of Religiously Motivated Violence
Future Directions
19. Supernatural Beliefs and the Evolution of Cooperation
Background: New Wine in Old Bottles?
Evolutionary Accounts of Religious Belief Based on Cooperation
Searching for the Ethnographic “Big Picture”
Evolutionary Mechanisms
Cognitive Causal Mechanisms: Can We Get Down to the Specifics?
Future Avenues of Research
20. A Socioevolutionary Approach to Religious Change
What Is Religion?
Evolution in a Religious Context
Learning from Existing Evolutionary Approaches to Religion
Remembering Darwin
Religion as an Ongoing Form of Natural and Artificial Selection
Artificial and Natural Selection Processes in Sociological Studies of Religion
21. The Evolution and Exploitation of Transcendence
The Evolutionary and Cognitive Underpinnings of Transcendence
The Induction and Subversion of Transcendence
Transcendence and Development
The Liberation of Transcendence from Exploitation
22. Challenges to an Evolutionary Perspective on Religion
First Step at a Comprehensive Theory: Two Primary Predictors of Religiosity
The Challenge of High-Intensity Religiosity
The Challenge of Extending Validation
The Challenge of Cultural and Historical Variations in Religiosity
Conclusion: The Integration Challenge

James R. Liddle is a technical writer with 11 years of professional writing experience. He received a Master of Arts degree in Experimental Psychology, specializing in evolutionary psychology, from Florida Atlantic University in 2014. His primary areas of interest and expertise are the evolution of religious beliefs/behaviors and teaching evolutionary psychology.

Todd K. Shackelford is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan., where he is Co-Director of the Evolutionary Psychology Lab. He received his Ph.D. in evolutionary psychology in 1997 from the University of Texas at Austin. Much of Dr. Shackelford’s research addresses sexual conflict between men and women, with a special focus on men’s physical, emotional, and sexual violence against their intimate partners.

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