Browsing All posts tagged under »religion«

Does Affluence Lead to Asceticism? Part II

December 16, 2014 by


Comments on Part I tended to take a rather negative view of the argument advanced by Baumard et al. Thus, Gene Anderson questioned whether Confucianism is even a religion. It was certainly a moralistic teaching, but how important a role did supernatural agents play in it is very much in question. Furthermore, Confucianism, as far […]

Murals versus Flags: A Symbolically Dense Landscape, continued

July 21, 2014 by


As I said in my previous blog, the Catholic areas in Belfast tend to be symbolically demarcated primarily with murals, while the Protestant ones are festooned with flags. The distinction is not absolute, and you can see the Irish Tricolor (green-white-orange) in two photographs in the previous blog. Still, they are mostly found in the […]

A Tour of Sacred Places in Moscow

June 19, 2014 by


As I more-or-less expected, my trip to Toulouse, Moscow, and St. Petersburg was too intense (and the internet connection too iffy) for me to be able to blog. Lots of new ideas, impressions, and topics to blog about, however. One of these is a walk I took in Moscow last week, next day after the […]

Complex Societies before Agriculture: Göbekli Tepe

May 17, 2013 by


A week or two ago I was sitting in a doctor’s office, when I realized that I forgot to bring any readings with me. As I was idly rifling through the usual stack, my roving eye was suddenly arrested by a cover of a two-year old National Geographic, which proclaimed THE BIRTH OF RELIGION: The […]

How to Overthrow an Empire – and Replace It with Your Own

April 17, 2013 by


Imagine …   You are an heir of a Noble House. Your enemies, who include the emperor and a powerful noble, have assassinated your father and destroyed your House. You have escaped, but you have no loyal retainers, no troops, no allies, and no money. You want revenge! But you also want to rebuild your […]

Jonathan Lanman. Two Stars and a (Fourth) Wish: Ritual Theory and the Challenges of Fusing Humanity. A Commentary on Harvey Whitehouse

March 18, 2013 by

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There is much to admire in Whitehouse’s ambitious programme of research.  There is the testing of a theory that offers greater precision in describing and explaining social cohesion. There is the formulation of an account of psychological kinship that can serve as a reminder that cultural and evolutionary approaches can work together to produce compelling insights.  […]

Proxmire Strikes from the Grave

February 16, 2013 by


The late (and unlamented, at least by the scientific community) William Proxmire was a US Senator from Wisconsin, who made a name for himself as an uncompromising fighter against wasteful government spending. Except when it was directed to the dairy industry. (source: pd lankovsky) Proxmire is best known for his Golden Fleece Award, given to […]


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