Human ritual is an evolutionary product of the behavioral instinct for play. Without that instinct, we might work ourselves to the bone. Read more

Connor Wood On Election Tuesday last week, I flew from Boston to Norfolk, Virginia, for a work conference. The day was beautiful and sunny, and people were friendly. My colleagues and I got an incredible view of Manhattan taking off from our layover in LaGuardia, its numberless spires catching the light like crystals. I was optimistic about the future and hopeful for the election. That evening, as the world realized that Donald Trump would win, that hopeful optimism was replaced… Read more

According to historian Peter Turchin, the white American ethnicity arose out of protracted military struggles against native Americans. But could there be a way to create social unity and cohesion without fighting against an outgroup? Read more

A new model suggests that religion may benefit mental health by building adherents’ self-control. The catch? The rituals that build self-control are what discriminate insiders from outsiders. Read more

Psychologists say authoritarianism is to blame for the Brexit and Donald Trump. But there’s another way to see things: cosmopolitans think like hunter-gatherers, while populists think like farmers. Read more

Any country’s success depends on its social capital, or “asabiya.” The United States is losing its social capital, and the consequences could be tremendous. Read more

Two gripping video interviews by the Religion for Breakfast vlog about computer simulation and religion. Also Mormons. Read more

Cultural liberalism is valuable. More than that: it’s something to feel patriotic towards. I’m lucky to live in a society that lets me criticize any aspect of tradition I want – even as I also value the conservatism that makes tradition possible. Read more

Believing in gods that care about human morality may encourage people to treat each other more impartially – thereby stabilizing social institutions that depend on anonymous cooperation. Read more

Scientists rudely keep uncovering more and more reasons for mysterious phenomena. That’s why the god of the gaps isn’t a good bet. Read more

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