Evoluční pohled na náboženství: Výzkumy v experimentální laboratoři v Brně

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Title in English Evolutionary study of religion: Research in experimental lab in Brno


Year of publication 2015
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Evolutionary study of religion is as old as the Scientific Study of Religion. I briefly outline the theoretical background of classical cultural evolutionism of the nineteenth century, while pointing out the main objections. On the other hand, the evolutionary study of religion is currently witnessing significant advances that avoid these pitfalls. The lecture will offer an introduction to the currently most influential evolutionary theories of religion (religion as a byproduct of evolution, religion as individual adaptation, religion as a cultural group adaptation) and will focus on their different assumptions and methods (evolutionary psychology, behavioral ecology, gene-culture coevolution). Despite the existing weaknesses and limitations of the application of neo-Darwinian theory of natural selection to the study of religion (and culture in general), most contemporary evolutionary study of religion is a promising and informative approach that includes both the effects of biological evolutionary history on shaping cultural changes, as well as feedback, in which culture in turn affects gene. I will also argue for the fact that it is not only possible but also useful to use experimental methods in the study of cultural phenomena, such as religious collective ritualized action, and as illustrations I will use laboratory (Brno) and field research (multi-ethnic Mauritius) on the influence of physiological excitation on social behavior both conducted by the Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion (LEVYNA).
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