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← Why Women Are Bound to Religion: An Evolutionary Perspective

JohnC's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by JohnC

Disclosure: I regard most evolutionary psychology that I've encountered as unscientific story-telling.

Some figures from Australia first. In the 2006 Census there were 9,799,249 males and 10,056,041 females counted (ratio 0.974). The numbers who are nominally Christian are 6,018,674 males and 6,667,160 females (0.903). But this discrepancy starts to dissolve somewhat when one realizes that the major gradient of nominal belief is age, with 55% of 25-34yo being nominal Christians but 78% of those aged 65-74, and while men outnumber women slightly in the younger cohort, women substantially outnumber men among older persons.

In other words, as far as nominal Christian belief goes there is not a large discrepancy between men and women.

Church attendance is a different matter, but less than 8% of Australians are in church in any week. Here, women outnumber men by at least 2:1 (as they do in both the US and Europe). And the age gradient is even steeper than for nominal belief.

So before we get carried away with Just So stories, let us recognise that women are not much more likely to "believe" but among the small number of (older) people who do attend church, women are indeed greatly over-represented.

Do we need a Darwinian explanation for this? I think more proximate reasons may be at hand. Of course, things may be different in Colorada Springs but if so that only makes a Darwinian explanation even less likely.

Tue, 17 Feb 2009 03:41:00 UTC | #325955