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Evolutionary Processes in the Natural History of Religion

Body, Brain, Belief

  • Scrutinizes the evolution of human religion from the perspective of current evolutionary biology

  • Uniquely approaches the paleontology of religion from a biological point of view

  • Theoretically determines how the evolution of religion should be described by a multi-level and multi-dimensional model

Part of the book series: New Approaches to the Scientific Study of Religion (NASR, volume 10)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-030-70408-7
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  • Own it forever
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Softcover Book USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
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Table of contents (16 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-x
  2. Religion Through the Eyes of a Biologist

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Evolution in All Its Facets

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 3-13
    3. The Scientific Approach to Religion

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 15-24
    4. What Do We Know? What Can Be Known?

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 25-41
    5. Understanding Religion from the Inside

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 43-56
  3. About Evolutionary Biology and the Evolution of Religion

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 57-57
    2. Evolution: The Modern Synthesis

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 59-71
    3. Gene-Culture Coevolution

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 89-100
  4. Phenomenology of Paleolithic Religion

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 101-101
    2. A Story Told Backwards

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 103-112
  5. CSR: The Cognitive Science of Religion

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 135-135
    2. Evolutionary Psychology and Religion

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 137-150
    3. Religious Fanaticism

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 151-166
    4. Practical Religion and Spirituality

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 167-179
    5. Magic, Religion and Evolutionary Ethics

      • Hansjörg Hemminger
      Pages 181-193
  6. Modeling the Evolutionary Path to Culture and Religion

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 195-195

About this book

The study of religion by the humanities and social sciences has become receptive for an evolutionary perspective. Some proposals model the evolution of religion in Darwinian terms, or construct a synergy between biological and non-Darwinian processes. The results, however, have not yet become truly interdisciplinary. The biological theory of evolution in form of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) is only sparsely represented in theories published so far by scholars of religion. Therefore this book reverses the line of view and asks how their results assort with evolutionary biology:

  • How can the subject area “religion” integrated into behavioral biology?
  • How is theory building affected by the asymmetry between the scarce empirical knowledge of prehistoric religion, and the body of knowledge about extant and historic religions?
  • How does hominin evolution in general relate to the evolution of religion? Are there evolutionary pre-adaptations?
  • Subsequent versions of evolutionary biology from the original Darwinism to EES are used in interdisciplinary constructs. Can they be integrated into a comprehensive theory?
  • The biological concept most often used is co-evolution, in form of a gene-culture co-evolution. However, the term denotes a process different from biological co-evolution.
  • Important EES concepts do not appear in present models of religious evolution: e.g. neutral evolution, evolutionary drift, evolutionary constraints etc. How to include them into an interdisciplinary approach?
  • Does the cognitive science of religion (CSR) harmonize with behavioral biology and the brain sciences?
  • Religion as part of human culture is supported by a complex, multi-level behavioral system. How can it be modeled scientifically?

The book addresses graduate students and researchers concerned about the scientific study of religion, and biologist interested in interdisciplinary theory building in the field.

Keywords

  • evolution of religion
  • prehistoric religion
  • religiosity and religion
  • evolution of spirituality
  • extended evolutionary synthesis
  • pre-adaptations for religion
  • gene-culture co-evolution
  • cognitive science of religion
  • strong emergence
  • multi-dimensional evolution

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doctor of Science with Habilitation, University of Freiburg, Baiersbronn, Germany

    Hansjörg Hemminger

About the author

Hansjörg Hemminger received his postdoctoral qualification as a university teacher of behavioral biology (Habilitation) from the University of Freiburg (Germany). He was commissioner for world view questions, especially for the dialogue between science and religion, in the Protestant Church until retirement.  As an expert member of a parliament commission (Bundestag) he investigated fanatic and sectarian forms of religion. He published numerous articles and books in German and English.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Evolutionary Processes in the Natural History of Religion

  • Book Subtitle: Body, Brain, Belief

  • Authors: Hansjörg Hemminger

  • Series Title: New Approaches to the Scientific Study of Religion

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-70408-7

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Religion and Philosophy, Philosophy and Religion (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-70407-0

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-70410-0

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-70408-7

  • Series ISSN: 2367-3494

  • Series E-ISSN: 2367-3508

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: X, 212

  • Number of Illustrations: 4 b/w illustrations, 23 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: History of Religion, Religion and Sciences, Evolutionary Biology

Buying options

eBook USD 64.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-70408-7
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)