Science at the Prague Castle: Evolution and Culture – Issue of religious celibacy

Speaker: Ruth Mace

British Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at University College London. She specialises in the evolutionary ecology of human demography and life history, and phylogenetic approaches to culture and language evolution.

Science-popularizing lecture from the new series Science at the Prague Castle.

We use the issue of religious celibacy to address the wide question of whether fitness considerations underly the evolution of cultural traits – even cultural traits that are hard to explain in evolutionary terms. We model how sending a child to the monastery, to live a celibate life, could evolve as a mechanism to enhance the fitness of his family. If close kin benefit from the decision and the decision is made by parents rather than the individual, then sending a proportion of children to the monastery to live as monks or nuns can be favoured by selection. This effect is modified by environmental or other cultural variables.

This lecture will be given in English.

Organized by Prague Castle Administration, Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry  of the CAS, and Charles University.

Recording of the lecture is available here.

Date and place

Wednesday, 6 December 2023, 6 p.m.
Lecture takes place in the lecture room in the Supreme Burgrave´s House (entrance from the Golden Lane)
If you are interested in this lecture, please make reservation here


Admission free.