The Reproductive Benefits of Religious Affiliation

  title={The Reproductive Benefits of Religious Affiliation},
  author={Michael A. Blume},
As the brain of early humans expanded, they gained increasing abilities of considering cooperative tasks – finally including reproduction . The subsequent, probably convergent evolution of religious beliefs and related behaviors such as burials and offerings among Homo sapiens and among Homo neanderthalensis illustrates that religious abilities evolved as a logical consequence: perceived supernatural agents like ancestors or Gods are experienced as observing streams of tradition conferring… 

The cultural evolution of prosocial religions

It is explained how a package of culturally evolved religious beliefs and practices characterized by increasingly potent, moralizing, supernatural agents, credible displays of faith, and other psychologically active elements conducive to social solidarity promoted high fertility rates and large-scale cooperation with co-religionists, often contributing to success in intergroup competition and conflict.

The extended religious phenotype and the adaptive coupling of ritual and belief

In this paper, we consider the idea that religion is a transsomatic adaptation. At the genic level, the religious system constitutes an extended phenotype that has been fashioned by natural selection

Cognitive and Evolutionary Approaches to Religion

David Hume’s The Natural History of Religion (1976) is probably the best known intellectual ancestor of recent cognitive and evolutionary approaches to religion. These projects share an interest in

The association between religious homogamy and reproduction

  • M. FiederS. Huber
  • Psychology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2016
It is argued that, together with the relationship between general religious intensity and number of children, religious homogamy has reproductive consequences that may impact future demographic developments and could have also played a role in the biological evolution of humans.

Execution, Violent Punishment and Selection for Religiousness in Medieval England

Frost and Harpending, Evolutionary Psychology, 13 (2015), have argued that the increasing use of capital punishment across the Middle Ages in Europe altered the genotype, helping to create a less

Why are world religions so concerned with sexual behavior?


Scholars employing an evolutionary approach to the study of religion and religious beliefs search for ultimate explanations of the origin, propagation, and persistence of religious beliefs. This

Why and how do religious individuals, and some religious groups, achieve higher relative fertility?

ABSTRACT Across the contemporary world, religious individuals tend to exhibit higher relative fertility than their secular counterparts, while religions vary substantially in mean fertility levels.



Altruistic Celibacy, Kin‐Cue Manipulation, and The Development of Religious Institutions

Abstract. Building on a model first proposed by Gary Johnson, it is hypothesized that religious institutions demanding celibacy and other forms of altruism from members take advantage of human

Cooperation and Commune Longevity: A Test of the Costly Signaling Theory of Religion

The costly signaling theory of religion posits that religious rituals and taboos can promote intragroup cooperation, which is argued to be the primary adaptive benefit of religion. To test this

Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society

David Sloan Wilson's "Darwin's Cathedral" takes the radical step of joining the two, in the process proposing an evolutionary theory of religion that shakes both evolutionary biology and social theory at their foundations.

Religion and fertility ideals, intentions and behaviour: a comparative study of European countries

European demographers rarely study religion as a determinant of contemporary demographic behaviour. One reason could be the secularisation observed in European countries, implying that the effect of

Religion, Religiousness and Fertility in the US and in Europe

This article aims to assess the role of religion and religiousness in engendering higher US fertility compared to Europe. Religion is important in the life of one-half of US women, whereas not even

The development of afterlife beliefs in religiously and secularly schooled children.

Although children attending Catholic school were generally more likely to state that functions continue after death than children attending secular school, the pattern of change with regard to question type did not differ between the Catholic and secular groups.

Women’s fertility, religion and education in a low-fertility population: Evidence from South Australia

The old issue of religion and fertility is examined in relation to women s level of education. In-depth interviews exploring influences on parity for Adelaide parents in 2003–04 suggest that more

Genes, Culture, and Human Evolution: A Synthesis

This book discusses Genetics as a Key to Human Origins and Prehistory, and the Fundamentals of Human Evolution: Drift, Migration, and Quantitative Analysis of Human Genetic Diversity.

On Human Nature

HUMAN nature as understood by that most pessimistic of philosophers, Schopenhauer, is here presented in English dress by Mr. Saunders. The essays which make up the book have been selected and

The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism

Hayek gives the main arguments for the free-market case and presents his manifesto on the "errors of socialism." Hayek argues that socialism has, from its origins, been mistaken on factual, and even