Testing the Big Gods hypothesis with global historical data: a review and“retake”

Religion, Brain & Behavior Vol/Iss. 13(2) Taylor & Francis Group Published In Pages: 124-166
By Whitehouse, Harvey, François, Pieter, Savage, Patrick E., Hoyer, Daniel, Feeney, Kevin C., Cioni, Enrico, Purcell, Rosalind, Larson, Jennifer, Baines, John, ter Haar, Barend, Covey, Alan, Turchin, Peter


Contrary to the Big Gods hypothesis, sociopolitical complexity precedes moralizing gods.


The authors maintained this hypothesis from their retracted article since the results did not significantly change: The authors also tested the possibility of sociopolitical complexity driving moralizing religion; while there is support, the results are incomplete since they only focus on the possibility of reciprocal causality.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Dynamic Regression AnalysesSupportedp < 0.001UNKNOWNUNKNOWN