Recent Lectures

June 27, 2013
“Religion among Foragers”
10th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies
School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology
University of Liverpool, UK
Abstract: Religiosity is unique to humans. It probably evolved before the appearance of the first modern human foragers. This talk identifies the most basic and probably oldest aspects of religiosity by focusing on the religion of forager societies using data from original ethnographic sources. Until the advent of farming around 10,000 years ago, all humans were foragers. Their daily existence depended on hunting, gathering, and fishing. Although ethnographic foragers are not direct analogues of those early societies, they can provide a window onto traits selected for in the Pleistocene, including the origins of religion.

March 27, 2013
“Subsistence and the Evolution of Religion”
Bristol Archaeology and Anthropology Research Seminar
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
University of Bristol, UK
Abstract: A cross-cultural analysis shows that the presence of an active or moral High God in societies varies generally along a continuum from lesser to greater technological complexity and subsistence productivity. Foragers are least likely to have High Gods. Horticulturalists and agriculturalists are more likely, while pastoralists are most likely. We suggest that belief in moral High Gods was fostered by emerging leaders in societies dependent on resources that were difficult to manage and defend without group cooperation. These leaders used the concept of a supernatural moral enforcer to manipulate others into cooperating, which resulted in greater productivity. Supernatural enforcement of moral codes maintained social cohesion and allowed for further population growth, giving one society an advantage in competition with others.

Past Lectures

  • “Religion among Foragers,” American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting November 14, 2012
  • “Future Human” – Rita & Herbert Gold Endowed Lecture, The Education Center, Longboat Key, FL, 1/20/2009
  • “Evolution vs. Intelligent Design” – Rita & Herbert Gold Endowed Lecture, The Education Center, Longboat Key, FL 1/9/2007
  • “The Human Question” – Rita & Herbert Gold Endowed Lecture, The Education Center, Longboat Key, FL, January 26, 2005
  • Featured speaker, James Randi’s “The Amazing Meeting II,” Las Vegas, January 15-18, 2004
  • Featured speaker, Asolo Theatre (FSU) 2003 production of “Inherit the Wind.”
  • Featured speaker, Center for Inquiry International, Florida Inaugural Conference, St. Petersburg, FL, 2/8/03
  • Featured Speaker, Phi Beta Kappa Association, Sarasota, FL, 3/20/04
  • Gulf Coast Humanists 1/21/06
  • Atlanta Freethought Society 6/08/03
  • AUTHOR FEST, Huntsville, AL ( WAAY-TV) 4/12/03
  • Sarasota Bay Humanists 3/05/03
  • Delray Beach Author’s Showcase1/12/03

Radio & TV

  • Interview, Gary Pozsik, “Health, Wealth and Happiness Radio” WGCV, Columbia, SC
  • Live Call-in, “Alex Pennock Show” KLPW Radio, St. Louis
  • Interview, Mike Bunge, KXEL Radio, Waterloo, IA
  • Interview “Don on the Weekend” Don Zukowski, WLPO Radio, LaSalle, IL
  • Interview, “Personality Talk Radio” with Stu Bryer, WICH Radio, Norwich, CT
  • Live Call-in, “Tonight with Joe Salzone” WGBB Radio, Long Island, NY
  • Live Call-in, Joel Oriend Show, WKPQ Radio, Corning, NY
  • Live Call-in, Bill Boshears, “SciZone” WLW Radio, Cincinnati, OH
  • Live Call-in, Bee Brahm & Wayne Metrano, “Night Light” WSAR Radio, Boston area
  • Live Call-in, Margie Kay, “Quest” KCXL Radio, Kansas City, MO
  • TV Interview, Rich Thompson, “Austin Faith Dialogue” KNVA-TV (WB), Austin, TX
  • Live Call-in, Alan Strike’s “Take It to the Street” WTRC Radio, Elkhart, IN
  • Interview, Brian Michaelz, KBYG radio, Big Spring, TX
  • Interview, David Rubens, “Strange Universe” Talk News Radio
  • Live Call-in, “Nick Lawrence Show” WPAZ radio , Pottstown, PA (Philadelphia area)
  • Interview, Terry Davis, “New Orleans Living” WSMB Radio, New Orleans
  • Live Call-in, Reginald Finley, INFIDELGUY.COM Radio, Atlanta
  • TV Interview, Kerry Kirschner’s DATELINE SARASOTA
  • Interview, Nick Lawrence, “Straight Talk” WEEU Radio, Reading, PA
  • Live Call-in, “Dave Glover Show” THE POWERHOUSE 97.1 St. Louis, MO
  • Live Call-in, Alan Strike’s “Take It to the Street” WTRC Radio, Elkhart, IN
  • Interview, “The Hilly Rose Show” Sirius Satellite Radio and
  • Interview, Pete Summers, “The Morning Show” WLAD Radio, Danbury, CT
  • Live Call-in, Frank Whalen, “Morning Show” KXNA Radio, Fayetteville, AR
  • TV Interview “The Humanist Perspective,” Center for Inquiry, Amherst, NY

Featured Video

“The Amazing Meeting II” Las Vegas – 2004

Part 1:

Part 2:


Hervey Peoples is available for presentations and interviews in the US, UK, and Europe. Please e-mail her at: