It is not clear to what he refers (“effort to find support for this hypothesis in the ancient world”), as my my main effort for empirically testing this hypotheses has centered on the US from 1789 to the present, with a huge emphasis on the contemporary America (from the 1970s on). Perhaps America in the late 20 century is an ancient country? The main source is Ages of Discord.
I also agree with Bret about his critique of Max Roser’s “data” which is indeed “not charting global deaths in conflict, but rather in charting the rate at which evidence for battles is preserved over time”
However, this doesn’t mean that such data are useless; to properly extract insights from them we need to include the measurement process in the analysis. This takes thought and work, but is a better alternative than just throwing up arms in defeat.
I would be interested in Bret’s comment/critique of that. I think that this effort, although by no means the final word, moves us a long way towards testing (and rejecting) evolutionary theories about the role of religion in the rise of complex human societies.
Finally, Noah calls for empirical tests of theories in history. I’d like to attract his attention (and everybody else) to #Seshat project’s massive effort to test 17 different theories about the evolution of social complexity across the past 10,000 years: