2019 ISSR Summer Conference:
The conference has now concluded. Please stay tuned for post-conference materials and details.
This conference, which took place from 21-24 July at Eynsham Hall Hotel outside of Oxford, was open to all evolutionary approaches to religion, but focused particularly on themes relating to the current ISSR research project — Religion and the Social Brain. Conference themes included the following:
· How religion gradually evolved, and when it really became ‘religion.’
· The interplay of social, biological and cognitive factors in the evolution of religion.
· The particular contribution of religion to social bonding and group size.
· The positive contribution that religion made to human evolution more generally.
· Evolutionary perspectives on contemporary religion.
· The theological and philosophical significance of the evolution of religion
Plenary speakers included:
James W Jones
Presentations by members of the Religion and the Social Brain research team included:
This project, funded by the Templeton Religion Trust, is developing an approach to the evolution of religion drawing on the Social Brain hypothesis of Professor Robin Dunbar. There is a particular focus on the synchronous rhythmic movement of trance dancing, and the effects of that on the endorphin system, and on social bonding and group size. The research includes:
· Phylogenetic analyses of religion in Hunter-gatherer societies
· Empirical studies of contemporary religion inspired by Social Brain theory
· Explorations of the philosophical and theological significance of the Social Brain approach to religion.
For more about the project, please click the picture below: