January 22, 2020 Human Origins Part 3 (Did Big Cities Create Big Gods?)

Episode 22

Were the big, moralistic gods of most major religions created to control the people of the early cities? Did big gods enable the creation of big cities? Is religion just an artifact of the agricultural revolution? Which came first, and why is it so important? 

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produced by Zack Jackson 
music by Zack Jackson and Barton Willis

 

Show Notes

Dunbars number, 150, and where it came from: https://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/social-media-affect-math-dunbar-number-friendships

And : https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191001-dunbars-number-why-we-can-only-maintain-150-relationships 

 

Books:

Kurt Vonnegut book, Galapagos: https://amzn.to/2tHuQWW

Book by Andrew Newberg “How God changes your brain”: https://amzn.to/36if6Hc

 

Early writing, in Egypt:

Extensive article: https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935413.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199935413-e-61 

A bit more reader-friendly: https://www.reckon.com/reckon-blog/ancient-egyptians-the-original-bookkeepers1/ 

 

“Hidden Brain” episode of the origin of religion:  https://www.npr.org/2019/05/06/720656274/where-does-religion-come-from-one-researcher-points-to-cultural-evolution 

Short video on humans from 200,000 years ago to now and the population changes throughout the world: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/aekazg/watching-humans-take-over-the-earth-in-200000-years-is-pretty-relaxing 

 

BIblical references: 

Gen 11: 1-9 and tower of Babel: https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.11?lang=bi&aliyot=0 

Gen 4:1-16 and Cain/Abel story: https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.4?ven=Jewish_English_Torah&lang=bi&aliyot=0 


Big Gods or Big Cities….and the problems with trying to find out:

        1. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/scienceonreligion/2019/05/did-big-gods-come-before-or-after-big-societies/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=share_bar&fbclid=IwAR3lVLCmhHpZ1uXfDveYj2q3ppmT7CHiU3Q59Td6W6ntr45UQBSf9UBJcXw#pbXkMxz9qZkCbB8O.01 
        2. http://nautil.us/blog/which-comes-first-big-cities-or-big-gods 
        3. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/349/6251/918.full 
        4. https://theconversation.com/big-gods-came-after-the-rise-of-civilisations-not-before-finds-study-using-huge-historical-database-113801 
        5. https://www.livescience.com/65039-punishing-gods-rise-with-complex-societies.html 
        6. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/big-religion-may-have-gotten-too-much-credit-for-the-evolution-of-modern-society/