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Explaining the success of karmic religions

  • Claire White (a1), Paulo Sousa (a2) and Karolina Prochownik (a3)
Abstract
Abstract

One of the central claims of Norenzayan et al.’s article is that supernatural monitoring and intergroup competition have facilitated the rise of large-scale prosocial religions. Although the authors outline in detail how social instincts that govern supernatural monitoring are honed by cultural evolution and have given rise to Big Gods, they do not provide a clear explanation for the success of karmic religions. Therefore, to test the real scope of their model, Norenzayan et al. need to seriously engage with questions concerning the evolution of karmic prosocial religions.

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References
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Baumard N. & Boyer P. (2013) Explaining moral religions. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17:272–80.
Baumard N. & Chevallier C. (2012) What goes around comes around: The evolutionary roots of the belief in immanent justice. Journal of Cognition and Culture 12(1):6780.
Baumard N., Hyafil A., Morris I. & Boyer P. (2015) Increased affluence explains the emergence of ascetic wisdoms and moralizing religions. Current Biology 25(1):1015. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.063.
Obeyesekere G. (2002) Imagining karma: Ethical transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek rebirth. University of California Press.
Watts J., Greenhill S. J., Atkinson Q. D., Currie T. E., Bulbulia J. & Gray R. D. (2015) Broad supernatural punishment but not moralizing high gods precede the evolution of political complexity in Austronesia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282(1804). doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2556.
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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