Contributor Nature

Additional robustness analyses confirm that complex societies precede moralizing gods throughout world history

Beheim et al. conclude based on a reanalysis of our publicly available data and code that our title finding that “complex societies precede moralizing gods throughout world history” reverses when correctly analyzed. I am honoured to have such a distinguished group of scholars engage deeply with our research. But their reanalyses contain a crucial flaw in how they deal with known historical expansions of moralizing gods through conquest or diffusion from already complex societies. When this flaw is accounted for, their analyses in fact confirm the robustness of our central finding. More generally, this episode highlights the power of open science to allow rapid exchange of differing opinions outside the traditional journal publication process, but also highlights the need for caution before jumping to conclusions based on complicated analyses that have not undergone peer review.
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May 05, 2019