Religion Evolving - Cultural, Cognitive, and Ecological Dynamics - Benjamin Grant Purzycki

Religion Evolving - Cultural, Cognitive, and Ecological Dynamics - Benjamin Grant Purzycki

The Extended Religious Phenotype: Religion as a Transsomatic Adaptation

Religion Evolving - Cultural, Cognitive, and Ecological Dynamics - Benjamin Grant Purzycki

Benjamin Grant Purzycki [+-]
Aarhus University
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Benjamin Grant Purzycki is Associate Professor in the Department of the Study of Religion at Aarhus University.
Richard Sosis [+-]
University of Connecticut
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Richard Sosis is the James Barnett Professor of Humanistic Anthropology at the University of Connecticut.

Description

Chapter 1 considers the idea that religion is a transsomatic adaptation. We argue that at the genic level, the religious system manifests as an extended phenotype that has been fashioned by natural selection to overcome socioecological challenges to cooperation and coordination inherent in human sociality. At the collective level, the religious system manifests as a cognitive-cultural niche into which people are born. This chapter details the complex connections between genes, cognitive faculties, and their expression in religious contexts. We also discuss how the “sacred coupling” of supernatural agency and religious ritual functions to maintain relative social order. We conclude by exploring the relevance of niche construction theory for understanding the adaptive nature of religious systems.

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Citation

Purzycki, Benjamin; Sosis, Richard. The Extended Religious Phenotype: Religion as a Transsomatic Adaptation. Religion Evolving - Cultural, Cognitive, and Ecological Dynamics. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 9-26 Mar 2022. ISBN 9781800500525. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=42782. Date accessed: 17 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.42782. Mar 2022

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