In this question they talk about how animals can develop rituals that they thing have some influence in a particular outcome, when in reality there isn't a real connection whatsoever between the performed ritual and the reward they expect as an outcome.

So, I'm curious about whether there are similar studies involving religion.


Let's say we have the soccer players that make the sign of the cross over them before the match begins, and the pigeon that make a circled counter-clockwise before the food is dropped, I'm not sure if I can draw a line separating superstition from religion in that case.

  • $\begingroup$ Not sure I follow ... are you asking about evidence of religious beliefs in animals? $\endgroup$ – Arnon Weinberg Sep 23 '15 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg I've updated the question with an example, thanks. $\endgroup$ – rraallvv Sep 23 '15 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ There are countless thousands of superstitions that arise out of people trying to project/protect illusion of control over the chaotic world. Higher religions typically arise out of mystical experiences, for example: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet I'm sure such experiences are neither available to animals nor can be fully interpreted by them $\endgroup$ – Alex Stone Sep 23 '15 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ I believe the question is whether religious behaviors in humans, like the soccer play making a cross before the match, can be explained in the same way as animals developing rituals. $\endgroup$ – Josh de Leeuw Sep 23 '15 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Josh I agree, but until an edit is made to the question, it risks being closed as being "unclear" $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Jul 5 '16 at 18:55