It is immediately apparent to everyone that humans do co-operate and work together
in large groups - sometimes sacrificing their own lives for their group.
Two main ideas have been proposed to account for this self-sacrificing altruism.
Inclusive fitness and reciprocal altruism. These go some way to explaining how
groups of organisms can co-operate.
However, human groups, and religious groups in particular, can form on a scale which
is an order of magnitude greater than these mechanisms allow.
This suggests that there is another evolutionary mechanism at play that has yet to
be modelled by evolutionary biologists. One might even suggest that at the phenomenon
is so readily observed and so widespread that it is the evolutionary theory that
needs working on rather than dismissing the idea that such altruism could be genetically
Alternatively, and perhaps according to the prevalent view, the formation of large
groups of cooperating individuals has nothing to do with genes or evolution. We
form these large groups because we are intelligent enough do so. Or if you take
a religious perspective, such formations occur under divine guidance.