scilogs Biology of Religion

Richard Sosis - Exploring the Evolutionary Value(s) of Religious Rituals

from Michael Blume, 02. September 2009, 07:36

Few scientists have fuelled the contemporary dynamics of Evolutionary Religious Studies in the last years as anthropologist Richard Sosis from the University of Connecticut. With empirically driven studies ranging from US history to Israel and Ifaluk (in the Pacific Ocean), Richard observed and described how ritual behaviour toward supernatural agents enhanced cooperation.

Richard Sosis, Anthropologist

The comparative study on religious and secular communities in 19th-century USA he did with Eric Bressler became an exemplary eye-opener to many. Sosis & Bressler found that religious communities tended to outlive secular ones - if the religious committment was signaled by costly requirements such as regular rituals, commandments concerning food and clothing etc.

As evolutionary studies concerning religiosity and religions are extremely interdisciplinary, the easy availability of publications to fellow scientists and the interested public is of central importance.

* Check out Richard's List of Publications (Klick!) as a wonderful example!

German Scilogs-Post about the works of Richard Sosis: Gebote & Rituale - Was nichts kostet, ist weniger wert.

And if you are interested in the scientific study of rituals, you might also be interested in Daniel Böttger's study of Mantra-chanting (as i.e. Hare Krishna).

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