The Database of Religious History (DRH), a collaboration between the University of British Colombia (UBC) and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), has received a grant of $4.8 million from the John Templeton Foundation in the United States.
Religion remains a large driver of human behaviours in society. For social scientists and policymakers this database could help uncover the religious roots of how different communities engage with the world today, including attitudes towards vaccinations and other healthcare interventions.
The project is led by Prof Ted Slingerland (UBC) and Prof Michael Muthukrishna (Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, LSE). Dr M. Willis Monroe (UBC) is Managing Editor and Associate Director and Dr Rachel Spicer (LSE) is Chief Data Scientist.
Dr Michael Muthukrishna said: “This is a true humanities-science collaboration. The tool is a useful resource for humanities scholars - a qualitative and quantitative database of history. But for social scientists, it's now one of (if not the) largest quantitative databases of history. We're using it to understand the factors that predict the rise and fall of civilization, testing cultural evolutionary theories about the role of religion. Religion has been implicated in helping to grow and stabilize societies prior to secular institutions. We can test this and other cultural evolutionary theories by applying data science to this historical data.”
Browse the database at https://religiondatabase.org/browse/