Religion as a Cultural Solution to Social Living
Benjamin Grant Purzycki [+]
Richard Sosis [+]
University of Connecticut
When evolutionarily minded social scientists investigate fitness payoffs and the aforementioned “functional logic” of religion, they risk being dismissed as naive functionalists. As we embrace a form of evolutionary functionalism throughout the volume, Chapter 2 introduces this view and entertains the arguments that scholars have leveled against cultural functionalism. We show how contemporary evolutionary functionalist approaches avoid the pitfalls these scholars identify. In this chapter we also examine some of the socioecological problems that particular communities face and how religions overcome those challenges, thus bringing our analysis of beliefs, practices, and religious communication to bear on a variety of problems that religions address. This frames the discussion throughout the remainder of the volume.