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Clarity and causality needed in claims about Big Gods

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 March 2016

Joseph Watts
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. me@josephwatts.org http://www.josephwatts.org
Joseph Bulbulia
Affiliation:
School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6012, New Zealand. joseph.bulbulia@vuw.ac.nz http://www.josephbulbulia.com/
Russell D. Gray
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. me@josephwatts.org http://www.josephwatts.org Research School of the Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia Capital Territory 0200, Australia. rd.gray@auckland.ac.nz http://www.psych.auckland.ac.nz/people/rd-gray Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena 07745, Germany. q.atkinson@auckland.ac.nz http://www.psych.auckland.ac.nz/people/q-atkinson Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Quentin D. Atkinson
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. me@josephwatts.org http://www.josephwatts.org Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena 07745, Germany. q.atkinson@auckland.ac.nz http://www.psych.auckland.ac.nz/people/q-atkinson

Abstract

We welcome Norenzayan et al.’s claim that the prosocial effects of beliefs in supernatural agents extend beyond Big Gods. To date, however, supporting evidence has focused on the Abrahamic Big God, making generalisations difficult. We discuss a recent study that highlights the need for clarity about the causal path by which supernatural beliefs affect the evolution of big societies.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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References

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