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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Supernatural beliefs and ritual activities co-occur, suggesting that the evolutionary functions of beliefs and rituals might be linked. However, this link has not received sufficient attention in the evolutionary literatures on religion. This chapter reviews how ‘commitment signalling’ theory explains the co-evolution of religious beliefs and rituals, focusing on religion’s role in cultural evolution of cities and states. Religious rituals and religious beliefs conspired to support the evolution of cooperative trade networks, as well as the evolution of normative, intergenerational social inequality.

Keywords: cooperation, evolution, inequality, prediction, religion, signalling, social complexity

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