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Inclusive fitness theory for the evolution of religion
- Crespi, Bernard, Summers, Kyle
- Animal behaviour 2014 v.92 pp. 313-323
- animal behavior, anthropology, cognition, endocrinology, genetics, humans, natural selection, neurophysiology, religion
- We describe and evaluate an integrative hypothesis for the origin and evolution of human religious cognition and behaviour, based on maximization of inclusive fitness. By this hypothesis, the concept of God is represented by one's circle of kin and social salience, such that serving God and serving this circle become synonymous. The theory is supported by data from anthropology, evolutionary theory, psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, endocrinology and genetics. It is largely compatible with, yet can subsume, previous theories of religion that are also based on adaptation and natural selection.