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  Did Religion Play a Causal Role in the Evolution of Large, Complex Societies?

Gray, R. D. (2016). Did Religion Play a Causal Role in the Evolution of Large, Complex Societies? doi:10.21036/LTPUB10216.

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 Creators:
Gray, Russell D.1, Author           
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1Linguistic and Culture Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074311              

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 Abstract: The notion of a powerful god is often said to play a significant role in supporting the transition from small relatively equal hunter and gatherer societies to big hierarchical societies. However, as RUSSELL GRAY explains in this video, while there is a correlation between “big gods” and “big societies”, this is no causal relationship. By comparing the evolution of different forms of social organization in cultures with a common ancestry in the Pacific and Southeast Asia the researchers found that these societies grew bigger first and only then borrowed the notion of a powerful god through the influence of Muslim traders. Another result on the influence of religion is that ritual human sacrifice played a major role in maintaining or even promoting social inequality.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2016-05-092016
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.21036/LTPUB10216
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