Can the Actions of the Church be Understood in terms of evolutionary psychology

Can the Actions of the Church be Understood in terms of evolutionary psychology

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Can the Actions of the Church be Understood in terms of evolutionary psychology? 1. A main goal of the Church was to become a wealthy, powerful institution by superseding the nobility. The concerns with power and wealth are certainly comprehensible from an evolutionary perspective, even if they are unrelated to increased reproductive success. We evolved to want high social status because high social status was linked to reproductive success. But the link with reproductive success need not occur in any particular environment. In the same way we evolved to like sweets and fat, but these desires may not be linked with reproductive success in current environments. 2. At times Churchmen used their position to increase their reproductive success. Nepotism played a role of varying importance in ecclesiastical politics throughout the medieval period until the 19th century. During the early medieval period bishops gave Church properties to their relatives who provided them with their office. A common saying had it that 'the Lord has taken away our sons and has given us so many nephews." However, there were reforms during the high Middle Ages (12th and 13th centuries) that prevented nepotism from getting out of hand. 3. Popular acceptance of ecclesiastical power was facilitated by the Church's manipulation of evolved systems of dominance and subordination. For example, during the peak of ecclesiastical control over secular authorities, the papacy adopted symbols associated with secular Roman political power (the tiara, porphyry, imperial purple, burial in imperial sarcophagi) and developed ceremonies emphasizing the subordinate role of kings. 4. Popular acceptance of ecclesiastical influence was aided by the image (and reality) that the
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This note was uploaded on 11/17/2011 for the course PSY PSY2012 taught by Professor Scheff during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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Can the Actions of the Church be Understood in terms of evolutionary psychology

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