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This paper examines three ancient traits of religion whose origins likely date back to the Upper Paleolithic: ancestor worship, shamanism, and the belief in natural and animal spirits. Evidence for the emergence of these traits coincides with evidence for a dramatic advance in human social cooperation. It is argued that these traits played a role in the(More)
Social norms are communally agreed upon, morally significant behavioral standards that are, at least in part, responsible for uniquely human forms of cooperation and social organization. This article summarizes evidence demonstrating that ritual and ritualized behaviors are essential to the transmission and reinforcement of social norms. Ritualized(More)
This article summarizes the literature on the religious mind and connects it to archeological and anthropological data on the evolution of religion. These connections suggest a three stage model in the evolution of religion: One, the earliest form of religion (pre-Upper Paleolithic [UP]) would have been restricted to ecstatic rituals used to facilitate(More)
An experiment was conducted to test for the presence of alignment effects (previously found in sighted map users) in blind and visually impaired subjects using tactual maps. The term 'alignment effects' refers to the fact that when points represented as further up on a map do not correspond to points forward from the user in the environment, errors in the(More)
In 2006, scientist Richard Dawkins published a blockbuster bestseller, The God Delusion. This atheist manifesto sparked a furious reaction from believers, who have responded with numerous books of their own. By pitting science against religion, however, this debate overlooks what science can tell us about religion. According to evolutionary psychologist(More)