Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7f7b94f6bd-dwjtz Total loading time: 1.231 Render date: 2022-06-30T02:41:46.010Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Projecting WEIRD features on ancient religions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 March 2016

Pascal Boyer
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130; pboyer@wustl.eduhttp://pages.wustl.edu/pboyer
Nicolas Baumard
Affiliation:
Department d'Etudes Cognitives, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 29 rue d'Ulm, 75006 Paris, France. nbaumard@gmail.comhttps://sites.google.com/site/nicolasbaumard/

Abstract

The proposed narrative relies on an anachronistic projection of current religions onto prehistorical and historical cultures that were not concerned with prosocial morality or with public statement of belief. Prosocial morality appeared in wealthier post-Axial environments. Public demonstrations of belief are possible and advantageous when religious diversity starts interacting with coalitional recruitment dynamics in large-scale societies, a typical feature of modern, so-called WEIRD societies.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Barth, F. (1975) Ritual and knowledge among the Baktaman of New Guinea. Universitetsforlaget, Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Barth, F. (1987) Cosmologies in the making : A generative approach to cultural variation in inner New Guinea. Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baumard, N. & Boyer, P. (2013) Explaining moral religions. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17:272–80.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Baumard, N., Hyafil, A., Morris, I. & Boyer, P. (2015) Increased affluence explains the emergence of ascetic wisdoms and moralizing religions. Current Biology 25(1):1015. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.063.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bellah, R. N. (2011) Religion in human evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age. Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bellah, R. N. (2012) The Axial Age and its consequences. Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bloch, M. (1974) Symbols, song, dance, and features of articulation: Is religion an extreme form of traditional authority? European Journal of Sociology 15:5581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cimino, A. (2011) The evolution of hazing: Motivational mechanisms and the abuse of newcomers. Journal of Cognition and Culture 11(3–4):241–67. doi: 10.1163/156853711x591242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gervais, W. M. & Norenzayan, A. (2012a) Like a camera in the sky? Thinking about god increases public self-awareness and socially desirable responding. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48:298302. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2011.09.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Henrich, J., Heine, S. J. & Norenzayan, A. (2010b) The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33(2–3):61135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (2010) Groups in mind: The coalitional roots of war and morality. In: Human morality and sociality: Evolutionary and comparative perspectives, ed. Høgh-Olesen, H., pp. 191234. Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
3
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Projecting WEIRD features on ancient religions
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Projecting WEIRD features on ancient religions
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Projecting WEIRD features on ancient religions
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *