A researcher at Ghent University named Jakob De roover has identified issues and problems with the evolutionary explanation of religion:
1. People like Atran and Sloan Wilson abuse evolutionary biology to
produce ad hoc explanations of an explanandum whose truth they
presuppose: the universality of religion.
2. This universality of religion is a pre-theoretical assumption, as
is the case in the earlier explanations by Hume, Freud and others.
Whatever definition one chooses to give of 'religion' ('implausible
beliefs', etc.), it remains the case that these guys commit the
fallacy of petitio principii: they presuppose the truth of a
proposition whose truth they should prove, namely, that religion is
universal. After all, it cannot depend on one's definition of the
word 'religion' whether or not religion is universal. Just imagine
we let the existence of gravitation on all planets depend on our
definition of 'gravitation' ('a force that exists on all planets').
3. In fact, they commit another petitio principii also: they
presuppose that religion is a human product, the product of human
evolution (whether as a by-product or 'spandrel' or as an
adaptation). Since religion claims that it is God's gift to humanity
and not of human origin, one should have proof before one supposes
that it is a human product. It is impossible to prove that religion
is of human and not of divine origin. Therefore, Atran and Sloan
Wilson are engaged in a double petitio principii.
4. On top, these guys are ignorant of the object they claim to
study. Firstly, they do not know what makes some phenomenon into
religion. Hence, they really don't know *what it is they are
explaining*. Secondly, their knowledge of religions like
Christianity and traditions like the Hindu traditions is superficial
at best and non-existent at worst.