Project Summary: The Evolution of Religion and Morality

“The Evolution of Religion and Morality” is a grant awarded to a group of directors from UBC-SFU’s Centre for the Study of Human Evolution, Cognition and Culture (HECC), led by Edward Slingerland (PI) at UBC. It centers on a project of unprecedented scope and ambition aimed at exploring the cultural evolutionary roots of religion.

This six-year project brings together the expertise of over fifty scientists, social scientists and humanities scholars from universities across North America, Europe and East Asia—along with postdocs and graduate students—into a research network that will be called the Cultural Evolution of Religion Research Consortium (CERC). Over this six-year project, CERC aims to answer the question of what religion is, how it is linked to morality, and why it plays such a ubiquitous role in human existence.

The grant will also contribute to the establishment of a new, interdisciplinary Program for the Study of Religion at UBC.

This project has been made possible with a $3 million grant from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), as part of their new Partnership Grant initiative, with approximately $3 million in matching funds from partner institutions and other contributors.

A full report on the CERC’s findings will be available in 2018, when UBC will also host a large public workshop and museum exhibition to illustrate its central findings. Ongoing reports and list of publications and public policy reports from the six-year project will be posted on UBC-SFU’s Centre for the Study of Human Evolution, Cognition and Culture (HECC) site at hecc.ubc.ca.