Friday, September 23, 2011

Priceless Study: More Autism among atheists

Study by Catherine Caldwell Harris

The cognitive science of religion is a new field which
explains religious belief as emerging from normal cognitive
processes such as inferring others' mental states, agency
detection and imposing patterns on noise. This paper
investigates the proposal that individual differences in belief
will reflect cognitive processing styles, with high functioning
autism being an extreme style that will predispose towards
nonbelief (atheism and agnosticism). This view was
supported by content analysis of discussion forums about
religion on an autism website (covering 192 unique posters),
and by a survey that included 61 persons with HFA. Persons
with autistic spectrum disorder were much more likely than
those in our neurotypical comparison group to identify as
atheist or agnostic, and, if religious, were more likely to
construct their own religious belief system. Nonbelief was
also higher in those who were attracted to systemizing
activities, as measured by the Systemizing Quotient.
Keywords: Cognitive science of religion; autism; cognitive
styles; individual differences
This doesn't mean atheists all have autism it just means more autistic among them. Hispid on CARM introduced it and explained this way:

It makes sense if the major trait associated with autism is the lower functioning of "theory of mind" then it is also less likely that one would attribute natural phenomena to the workings of an uber mind.
In other words the autistic among them keep them grounded in reality. I think that might explain their inability to understand concepts, their refusal to consider philosophical notions, their childish mocking. That and low self esteem accounts for the really obnoxious part of the atheist community.

I'm sure Hermit will respond with outrage. the truth is I don't know what this means. I'm sure atheism is not the product of any mental defect.

We can't bury the research but we shouldn't make intellectual criticisms based upon the weakest opponents. We should only base intellectual criticism upon the strongest opponents. Unless we are talking about the bad behavior of an element. We can't criticize a whole movement on the weakness of a few.


Anonymous said...

"I'm sure Hermit will respond with outrage."

Only if you pull your usual trick (the one you use with the self esteem issue and hte reigious experience studies)and start ranting about how "studies prove" that atheists are autistic when all you really have is one study with a sample size of 61 which might tell us something about autism; not about atheism.

Anonymous said...

I also wonder why you have this post labelled with
"ahte group atheism. brown shirt tackics of atheis mocking., autism"

What do the thought processes of autism have to do with "brown shirt tactics?" Is pulling out the Nazi card such a reflex with you that you just attach it to everything now?

Metacrock said...

the blogger thing puts labels in for you. If you type "atheists" it sticks in all the labels you've ever typed about atheist and you have to take out the one's that don't fit. I forgot to notice.

Loren said...

So what about being autistic or having Asperger's syndrome? It can help you understand the way that the Universe works. Many of the more fundamental features of our Universe are described by equations, and rather fancy equations at that.

Being a social yakety-yak won't help you do so, though some gentleman named Farsight has made a valiant effort in that direction.

Metacrock said...

you talk like it's a choice they made and I'm circuiting their choice but it was a good one. It's not a choice and I'm not putting down people with autism. I do think it's funny that athiets are these whining winging offensive attacking aggressive insulting illiterate puncks who can't think on every message board. then it turns out a lot of them are unable to do the thinking necessary to have a discussion any way. All the while they brag and love to feel superior and more intelligent, claim to be "rational thinkers."

It's not anything they choosing out of reason. For a lot of them.