Evolutionary Religious Studies: A Beginner's Guide

David Sloan Wilson, William Scott Green

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Evolutionary theory includes a number of major hypotheses that can be applied to the study of all traits, including the traits associated with religion. Although evolutionists agree about the general theoretical framework, they have disagreed about which hypotheses best describe the nature of religion. Some favor group-level adaptationism, others favor individual-level adaptationism, others favor byproduct hypotheses, and so on. More recently, positions that previously seemed incompatible have been reconciled with each other. This chapter outlines the emerging consensus, which should make evolutionary theory the framework of choice for the scientific and scholarly study of religion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCreating Consilience
Subtitle of host publicationIntegrating the Sciences and the Humanities
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199919338
ISBN (Print)9780199794393
StatePublished - Jan 19 2012


  • Evolutionary theory
  • Group adaptationism
  • Individual adaptationism
  • Religion
  • Traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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