This post-review discusses the reception of Ara Norenzayan’s Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict (2013) by zooming in on two review symposia for the book — one in Religion (2014), the other in Religion, Brain and Behavior (2014). The symposia ran parallel to one another, and both have resulted in the publication of ten reviews plus one commentary. The post-review discusses a selection of topics raised, including some underlying key premises, similarities with the Supernatural Punishment Hypothesis, the evidence presented, its cultural evolution framework, its conceptualization of “religion,” prosociality versus obedience, and whether “Big Gods” are really just “Abrahamic gods” rewrapped.
AbbottAlison“Disputed Results a Fresh Blow for Social Psychology.”Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science2013accessed 6 February 2015url: http://www.nature.com/news/disputed-results-a-fresh-blow-for-social-psychology-1.12902
BhattacharjeeYudhijit“The Mind of a Con Man.”The New York Times2013April26accessed 6 February 2015url: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/diederik-stapels-audacious-academic-fraud.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
ColemanThomas J.III“Ara Norenzayan on ‘Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict.’ ”The Religious Studies Project2014accessed 27 December 2014url: http://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/ara-norenzayan-on-big-gods-how-religion-transformed-cooperation-and-conflict/
DoaneMichael“An Outline of Norenzayan’s ‘Big Gods,’ by Michael Doane.”The Religious Studies Project2014accessed 27 December 2014url: http://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/2014/03/05/an-outline-of-norenzayans-big-gods-by-michael-doane/
LevyGabriel“ ‘Be careful, or you’ll act corruptly and make a carved image for yourselves, in the form of a figure, the likeness of male and female’ (Deut. 4:16): A Commentary on Norenzayan’s Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict (2013).”Religion2014444614621
SchlieterJens“ ‘. . . for they know not what they do’? Religion, Religions and Ethics as Conceptualized in Ara Norenzayan’s Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict (2013).”Religion2014444649657
SosisRichard“Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation And Conflict.”This View of Life2014accessed 6 February 2015url: https://evolution-institute.org/article/big-gods-how-religion-transformed-cooperation-and-conflict/
On 3 March2014The Religious Studies Project website posted an interview with Norenzayan conducted by Thomas J. Coleman iii (http://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/podcast/ara-norenzayan-on-big-gods-how-religion-transformed-cooperation-and-conflict/ [accessed 27 December 2014]). A few days later on 7 March an outline of Big Gods written by Michael Doane was also posted (http://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/2014/03/05/an-outline-of-norenzayans-big-gods-by-michael-doane/ [accessed 27 December 2014]). Later that year This View of Life the online magazine of the Evolution Institute posted an interview with Norenzayan conducted by Richard Sosis on 31 December 2014 (https://evolution-institute.org/article/big-gods-how-religion-transformed-cooperation-and-conflict/ [accessed 6 February 2015]). The Evolution Institute is a think tank headed by Julie Seaman with David Sloan Wilson as the magazine’s editor in chief.