Religious costs as adaptations that signal altruistic intention
(2004) Evolution and Cognition, 10(1):19, 2004 9-38
The question of how religions evolve remains fascinatingly unclear. Religious beliefs and rituals lack clear economic and political utilities. Evolutionary dynamics tend to favour efficiency. The persistence of religion therefore presents biologists with an evolutionary “cost problem.” This article explains how the costs of religion may function as mechanisms for assuring cooperative commitments.