Re: Religion Explained -- Almost

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Tue Jul 17 2001 - 12:28:43 MDT

Mark Walker wrote:
> I am not sure from your summary, but I take it that perhaps the most
>plausible development of your hypothesis is that supernatural beliefs are a
>credible signal of intragroup cooperativeness as opposed to intergroup

Yes. Almost no one looks for evolutionary signals of intragroup
cooperativeness because they don't expect to find any.

>... One way to confirm the 'social cohesion hypothesis' would be to look
>for instances of intragroup (defined by adherence to a single religion)
>break-down. Looking at the historical record this view ought to favour a
>higher incidence of conflicts spawning new religions. In other words,
>religious differences are said to spawn numerous wars, but it may be the
>case that regularly wars spawn religious differences.

I don't see any particular predictions about when religions would form.
The predictions I see are about a general human tendency to religiousness.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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