Adapting adaptation: An analysis of the adaptation discourse in the evolutionary sciences of religion
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Scientists studying religion in light of evolution are generally divisible into two schools: One that considers religion an evolutionary adaptation, and one that considers it a by-product of other traits. I argue that the concept of adaptation is more complex than as it has been presented in the science of religion, and refer to issues in the biological discourse. I then compare to the debate of religion's adaptive status, showing that several new research questions arise in this way. In particular, I advocate studying cultural evolution, and playing down the distinction between adaptationist and by-product theories. The thesis closes with a general recommendation of an evolutionary approach to the study of religion.