Testing the Big Gods hypothesis with global historical data: a review and “retake”

Harvey Whitehouse, Pieter François, Patrick E. Savage, Daniel Hoyer, Kevin C. Feeney, Enrico Cioni, Rosalind Purcell, Jennifer Larson, John Baines, Barend ter Haar, Alan Covey, Peter Turchin

研究成果: Article査読

6 被引用数 (Scopus)


This Retake article presents a corrected and extended version of a Letter published in Nature (Whitehouse et al., 2019) which set out to test the Big Gods hypothesis proposing that beliefs in moralizing punitive deities drove the evolution of sociopolitical complexity in world history. The Letter was retracted by the authors in response to a critique by Beheim et al. (2021). Correction of errors in the coding and analysis of missing data to address this critique does not, however, significantly change the main findings of the original Nature Letter. We report the results of a major reanalysis of Seshat data following expansion of the codebook and database and substantial improvements to our data management methods. We also employ a more direct statistical methodology to test theories of evolutionary causality. Together, these results show a compellingly convergent picture, confirming the headline finding of the original Letter in Nature, which shows that the largest increases in social complexity do indeed precede Big Gods in world history and that Big Gods did not contribute to the evolution of sociopolitical complexity as predicted by the Big Gods hypothesis.

ジャーナルReligion, Brain and Behavior
出版ステータスPublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 実験心理学および認知心理学
  • 宗教学


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