What is Right and What is Wrong in the Darwinian Approach to the Study of Religion


Author: Konrad Szocik
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 18, Number 2 / September 2019

DOI: https://doi.org/10.30884/seh/2019.02.11

One of the greatest challenges for the study of cultural evolution is an explanation of processes and mechanisms of transmission of cultural traits. Darwinian approach is a promising and useful research program. However, it is worth to ask in what extent Darwinian account can provide appropriate and reliable explanation for origin and transmission of religious components. We can look for biological benefits provided by religious affiliation when we try to explain it in terms of survival and reproduction. However, biological evolutionary explanation cannot explain ultimately some unique human traits like religiosity. The focal point is if this approach can provide reliable explanation for specifically human cultural phenomena that only analogically can be found among some social animals. The key idea of this paper is that Darwinian approach to religion might explain only small part of human religiosity, and reliable explanation should combine Darwinian and cultural evolution, and cognitive account.

Konrad Szocik, University of Information Technology and Management, Rzeszow more