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The Reproductive Advantage of Religiosity Religious Demography benefitting Evolutionary Fitness Dr. Michael Blume ( www.blume-religionswissenschaft.de.

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Presentation on theme: "The Reproductive Advantage of Religiosity Religious Demography benefitting Evolutionary Fitness Dr. Michael Blume ( www.blume-religionswissenschaft.de."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Reproductive Advantage of Religiosity Religious Demography benefitting Evolutionary Fitness Dr. Michael Blume ( www.blume-religionswissenschaft.de )www.blume-religionswissenschaft.de Conference Explaining Religion 2010, Bristol University

2 Observation & Hypothesis Religiously affiliated humans reproduce (on average) more successfully than their secular peers. Of course, this doesnt mean that Religion is the ONLY demographic factor, but that it is an INDEPENDENT one. As assumed by Charles Darwin, Religiosity evolved – and is evolving - as an adaptive, biocultural trait.

3 Example Judaism & Israel Cp. Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious inherit the Earth? Demography and Politics in the 21st century, London 2010 Haredim growth in Israel: 6-8 children per woman throughout generations

4 Example Old Order Amish in the USA Other high-fertile religious communities in the US (Example): - Hutterites - Old Order Mennonites -Mormons - Orthodox Jews Cp. D.B. Kraybill & C.D. Bowman: On the Backroad to Heaven. Old Order Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish and Brethren, Johns Hopkins Univ. 2002

5 Secular demographics In contrast, we still found NOT A SINGLE CASE of a SECULAR population retaining replacement fertility rates of more than two children per woman for a century! Religious Non-Affiliation Note: Demographically, it is NOT possible to fully substitute the potentials of Religiosity! Cp. P. Norris & R. Inglehart: Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide, Cambridge 2004

6 Swiss Census 2000 Denominational category (CFR) Births per woman % academic education % higher occupational class Hinduism* 2,79 (1) 17,0% (12)7,4% (14) Islam* 2,44 (2) 11,4% (15)6,1% (15) Jewish 2,06 (3) 42,7% (1)42,4% (1) Other (smaller) Protestant 2,04 (4) 20,1% (5)19,2% (6) New Pietism / Evangelical 2,02 (5) 19,2% (6)17,9% (8) Pentecostal 1,96 (6) 17,1% (11)15,7% (10) Other (smaller) Christian 1,82 (7) 39,1% (2)31,8% (2) Didnt answer 1,74 (8) 19,1% (7)5,3% (16) Christian-Orthodox* 1,62 (9) 18,0% (10)9,8% (13) Swiss Average1,4319,2%19,6% Buddhist* 1,42 (10) 20,3% (4)13,4% (11) Roman-Catholic 1,41 (11) 16,8% (13)18,5% (7) New Apostolic 1,39 (12) 13,9% (14)17,6% (9) Reformed Protestant 1,35 (13) 18,9% (8)22,2% (4) Yehovas Witnesses 1,24 (14) 6,8% (16)11,2% (12) Christian-Catholic 1,21 (15) 18,4% (9)22,2% (5) Non-affiliated 1,11 (16) 30,6% (3)26,7% (3) r / Spearman Rank Correl.0,054-0,269

7 USA, General Social Surveys Data Source: V. Skirbekk, A. Goujon & E. Kaufmann, Vienna Institute of Demography 2008

8 Exploring Bio-Cultural Evolution I Religiosity is bringing forth VARIANTS of RELIGIONS pursuing diverse reproductive (r- and K-)strategies! Examples from the USA: High-Fertile Old Order Amish (expanding) All-Celibate Shakers (dissolving) Methodist Variants 19th century: K-Strategy 20th century: r-Strategy

9 Exploring Bio-Cultural Evolution II Religiosity is offering POTENTIALS to culturally diverse, reproductive strategies Hutterites, Haredim, Old Order Amish etc. Shakers Non- Affiliated USA, China, France, Sweden, Austria etc.

10 Religion & Fertility Data Source: Dominik Enste, Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln 2007

11 Proximate Mechanisms Individual Level: 1. Belief in Supernatural Agents selecting for prolific Commandments Social Level: 2. Belief in Supernatural Agents selecting for prolific Cooperations Institutional Level: 3. Belief in Supernatural Agents selecting for prolific Institutions

12 1.1 Belief in Supernatural Agents perpetuating prolific Commandments Cp. Charles Darwin (Religion = Belief in spiritual Beings), F.A. von Hayek (Guardians of Traditions - Reproductive Advantage), Pascal Boyer, Scott Atran, Jesse Bering (The God Instinct), Deborah Kelemen (Intuitive Theism), Bruce Hood, Jay Feierman, Paolo Mantovani et al. Natural Animism by HAD & TOM

13 1.2 Belief in Supernatural Agents perpetuating prolific Commandments Comparative Examples: Be fruitful and multiply!, Bible, Genesis 1.28 Authoritative Motivation for Believers Reproductive success is defined as the passing of genes onto the next generation in a way that they too can pass those genes on., T. H. Clutton- Brock, University of Chicago 1990 Explanation. Motivation would constitute a Naturalistic Fallacy

14 Allensbach Survey 2006: People aged 16 to 29 in Germany were asked if they were religious and which values they would deem important for their lives Having Fun Non Rel. / Rel. 76% 67% Helping Others in Need 46% 69% Assuming Responsibilities for Others 26% 43% Having Children 42% 61% 1.3 Belief in Supernatural Agents perpetuating prolific Commandments

15 2 Belief in Supernatural Agents perpetuating prolific Cooperations We propose that the clearest identifiable effect of religious behavior is the formation of close kinship-like cooperative social relationships. * Craig Palmer, Ryan Ellsworth & Lyle Steadman: Talk and Tradition. Why the Least Interesting Components of Religion May Be the Most Evolutionary Important., in: E. Voland, W. Schiefenhövel (eds.): The Biological Evolution of Religious Mind and Behaviour. Springer 2009 Cp. Charles Darwin, F.A. von Hayek, Ara Norenzayan & Azim Shariff, Richard Sosis, Matt Rossano, Montserrat Soler, Jesse Bering, Dominic Johnson, Ryan McKay, David Lahti et al.

16 Cooperative Signalling: From religious networks to religious groups

17 Cooperation in Reproduction: Marriage vows Allbus Survey 2002, Germany A married man has a love affair with another woman… Data: ALLBUS 2002, Germany / fowid 2005

18 Gretchens Question Gretchenfrage by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe FAUST, Marthas Garden Margaret: Promise me, Henry! Faust: What I can! Margaret: How do you feel about religion? Tell me, pray. You are a dear, good-hearted man, But I believe you've little good of it to say. Faust.: Hush, hush, my child! You feel my love for you. For those I love, I'd give my blood and body too, Would no one of his feelings or of church bereave. Margaret: That's not enough. We must believe!

19 Comments of Goethes Devil MEPHISTOPHELES: I've heard it all and understood, The Doctor was put through the catechisms. I hope that it will do you good. Girls have a great desire to know, it's true, If one is sleek and pious, true to ancient isms. They think: if there he knuckles, us he'll follow too.

20 On average, stronger Beliefs of Women Shell Youth Study Germany 2006, p. 210

21 Distribution of Voluntary Activity Voluntary Survey Report, Baden-Württemberg 2007

22 Specific Beliefs of Male and Female Students (Kassel University 2004, Harald Euler) 1 = strong disbelief to 5 = strong belief

23 Swiss Census 2000 Denominational category % of members female % pairs married% pairs living with children % single parents Yehovas Witnesses57,4% (1)99,3% (1)53,3% (4)5,2% (6) Protest.-Methodists56,4% (2)97,1% (5)49,8% (8)3,0% (1) Smaller Christian54,9% (3)93,9% (6)51,2% (6)6,8% (7) Pentecostal54,6% (4)98,5% (3)63,8% (2)5,1% (5) Independent Protestant54,6% (5)97,8% (4)59,4% (3)4,2% (4) New Apostolic Church54,1% (6)91,1% (8)44,6% (9)5,9% (10) Christian-Catholic53,9% (7)89,4% (10)41,7% (11)5,6% (9) Evangelicals53,5% (8)98,9% (2)65,6% (1)5,9% (10) Protestant-Reform. (M)52,7% (9)88,2% (11)44,0% (10)5,4% (7) Roman-Catholic (M)51,6% (10)89,8% (9)51,4% (5)5,5% (8) Judaism51,0% (11)93,9% (7)51,0% (7)6,3% (11) Swiss Average51,0%89,0%48,5%5,8% Non-affiliated45,9% (12)81,5% (12)40,0% (12)7,8% (12) r / Spearman Rank C.0,6960,6220,378 Marriage vows and Sexual Selection

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25 Belief in Supernatural Agents perpetuating prolific Institutions The nuns/catholic effect provides evidence that religion affects fertility not only through preferences but also functionally, through social service provision. * Eli Berman, Laurence Iannaccone, Giuseppe Ragusa: From Empty Pews to Empty Cradles. Fertility Decline among European Catholics., UC San Diego 2007 Cp. Adam Smith, Eric Kaufmann, Richard Sosis

26 Cooperative Breeding / As-if Kin

27 Teachers & Celibates as As-if kin - Helpers at the Nest, enhancing survival & reproduction of community members Cp.: Pater = Father (syn.) Nun, etym. from nonna, nana = tutor, aunt, grandmother, same root with Nanny!

28 Reopening of the Jewish Grammar School in Stuttgart / Germany, 08.09.2008 Offering Education, All-Day Care & Religious Knowledge

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30 Swiss Census 2000 Denominational category (CFR) Births per woman % academic education % higher occupational class Hinduism* 2,79 (1) 17,0% (12)7,4% (14) Islam* 2,44 (2) 11,4% (15)6,1% (15) Jewish 2,06 (3) 42,7% (1)42,4% (1) Other (smaller) Protestant 2,04 (4) 20,1% (5)19,2% (6) New Pietism / Evangelical 2,02 (5) 19,2% (6)17,9% (8) Pentecostal 1,96 (6) 17,1% (11)15,7% (10) Other (smaller) Christian 1,82 (7) 39,1% (2)31,8% (2) Didnt answer 1,74 (8) 19,1% (7)5,3% (16) Christian-Orthodox* 1,62 (9) 18,0% (10)9,8% (13) Swiss Average1,4319,2%19,6% Buddhist* 1,42 (10) 20,3% (4)13,4% (11) Roman-Catholic 1,41 (11) 16,8% (13)18,5% (7) New Apostolic 1,39 (12) 13,9% (14)17,6% (9) Reformed Protestant 1,35 (13) 18,9% (8)22,2% (4) Yehovas Witnesses 1,24 (14) 6,8% (16)11,2% (12) Christian-Catholic 1,21 (15) 18,4% (9)22,2% (5) Non-affiliated 1,11 (16) 30,6% (3)26,7% (3) r / Spearman Rank Correl.0,054-0,269

31 Religion and Fertility – A long-lived Team Willendorf, ca. 22.000 BCE Hohle Fels, ca. 36.000 BCE Laussel, ca. 25.000 BCE Tursac, ca. 20.000 BCE 3. The Evolution of Religiosity – Naturalistic? Emergent? Materialistic? (Latin Materia from Mater = Mother!) 2. The Role of Women in the Evolution of Religiosity and Religions has been greatly underestimated (Cp. David Hume, Volker Sommer) 1. Religiosity is evolutionary advantageous. The trait is showing the potential and tendency to raise the reproductive success throughout generations


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