The ecology of religious beliefs

PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) Vol/Iss. 111 (47) Published In Pages: 16784-16789
By Botero, Carlos A. , Gardner, Beth, Kirby, Kathryn R. , Bulbulia, Joseph, Gavin, Michael C. , Gray, Russell D.


Moralizing high gods are most likely to be found in ecologically inhospitable and unpredictable environments, in politically complex societies, in societies near (or linguistically related to) other societies with high gods, and in societies with animal husbandry and/or agriculture.


Models with various combinations of the independent variables were computed and used to create an average model. The average model predicted high gods with 91% accuracy for a separate sample. The independent variables are listed below in order of importance to the average model. The only variable related to MHGs in an unpredicted direction is agriculture, which has a negative relationship.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
multiple regressionSupportedUNKNOWNUNKNOWNUNKNOWN