Are Atheists Genetically Damaged?

#1
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuros...I7pltF7nm0

INTRO: I just came across a paper with an interesting title: The Mutant Says in His Heart, “There Is No God”. The conclusions of this work are even more interesting. According to the authors, Edward Dutton et al., humans evolved to be religious and atheism is caused (in part) by mutational damage to our normal, religious DNA. Atheists, in other words, are genetic degenerates.

Despite the talk of mutations, there is no genetics in this paper. No atheist genomes were sequenced and found to be mutated. Rather, Dutton et al. claim (mostly on the basis of a review of previous literature) that atheists have elevated rates of proxy measures of genetic health or ‘mutational load’, namely ill-health, autism, and left-handedness. This, they say, is consistent with atheism being a manifestation of “increasing genetic mutation affecting the mind”.

Well. These arguments are unconvincing, to say the least....

MORE: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuros...I7pltF7nm0
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#2
(Mar 18, 2019 08:39 AM)C C Wrote: Well. These arguments are unconvincing, to say the least....

...to an atheist.

To take autism as an example, Dutton et al. cite a handful of small studies as suggesting that people with autism are more likely to be atheists. Even if this is true, it doesn’t mean that ‘mutational load’ is involved. It could just be that having autism makes you more likely to become an atheist – I don’t think this has ever been tested, but it seems plausible.


Even if not genetic, isn't autism a dysfunction?

Many studies show that atheists are more intelligent, on average, than religious believers...Yet how can high intelligence be compatible with the idea that atheists have harmful mutations?


“These findings provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that the religiosity effect relates to conflict [between reasoning and intuition] as opposed to reasoning ability or intelligence more generally.” - https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10....02191/full

Intuition is more fundamental, and a lack of social intuition is a hallmark of autism. That may even be a link as to why atheists do not typically have regular community gatherings on par with the religious. In that sense, religiosity is more adaptive than reasoning.
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#3
Could it be said that theism is threatening human survival? These guys say it nicer than I do. I guess autism is just an unwelcome byproduct of the religious/atheist genetic mutation/evolution taking place. Jenny McCarthy move over. I should have had more kids.
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#4
Theism hasn't threatened human survival at any time over its many thousands of year history, whereas secular governments have threatened human survival, with the possibility of nuclear war...and that's only since 1945.
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#5
(Mar 18, 2019 05:25 PM)Syne Wrote: Theism hasn't threatened human survival at any time over its many thousands of year history, whereas secular governments have threatened human survival, with the possibility of nuclear war...and that's only since 1945.

Sure....

In an evolutionary sense then, even if only on the receiving end, it must be dangerous to be religious or that some religions seem threatening to others. I think it is wrong to kill or die in the name of a god or religion. Evolution may have already figured that out.
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#6
There is a net survival benefit to ingroup loyalty, which religion promotes, specifically as a defense against competing groups, which are bound to exist even without any religious differences. Just look at all the secular governments at odds and threatening war. How do you feel about killing or dying to defend your country or its interests? And how do respond to other countries willing to do so at your expense? Would you just be willing to lay down and die? That mentality would leave the worse people completely unchecked and able to continue doing the same to others.

IOW, religion is not unique in this respect, although at least the religious believe they have a moral duty beyond just their geography.
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#7
(Mar 18, 2019 06:39 PM)Syne Wrote: There is a net survival benefit to ingroup loyalty, which religion promotes, specifically as a defense against competing groups, which are bound to exist even without any religious differences. Just look at all the secular governments at odds and threatening war. How do you feel about killing or dying to defend your country or its interests? And how do respond to other countries willing to do so at your expense? Would you just be willing to lay down and die? That mentality would leave the worse people completely unchecked and able to continue doing the same to others.

IOW, religion is not unique in this respect, although at least the religious believe they have a moral duty beyond just their geography.

Strictly at the evolutionary level, we should all possess the necessary equipment for survival. Unfortunately there are many scenarios where it’s not there. Being a ballerina stranded in the Arctic isn’t going to aid survival as much as being a skilled outdoorsman. If I saw the might of a foreign power coming down my street would it be in my best interest to fight them or hang a banner from my front door saying ‘Welcome’.  

Neither might mean I survive but I think I have a better chance by hanging the sign. If it meant denouncing religion or conversion to survive, I would have no problem doing so as a believer. A belief in my eyes is negotiable. I’d trade it in a heartbeat to survive.
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#8
It's only in modern society that people have specialized to the exclusion of basic survival skills. And instinct often does kick in at some point of desperation. But even if equally skilled, there are still inherent differences between people that mean there will always be some stronger than others. The only protection against might makes right tyranny is cooperative defense.

Having zero loyalty or bravery means people will not display any on your behalf either. Your neighbor will equally cower in his house, with a welcome sign, while you and your family are dragged out into the street to be made a random example of. After all the mighty rule by fear and must induce it. And by your own absence of loyalty you condone exactly that, visited upon untold numbers more.

And why would you be willing to play the odds with your survival but not with your eternal survival? Why not Pascale's Wager?

So you would really convert to Islam and head people to save your own hide?
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#9
Quote:So you would really convert to Islam and behead people to save your own hide?

Can’t answer that. I don’t know the limits of my survival kit. I think I’d have difficulty chopping off a head but no trouble switching beliefs and hoping that’s enough to see me through the day. Sad to think that a convert who’ll behead someone will probably have a better chance of passing on their genes than a pacifist like myself ..... and maybe that’s the answer to survival right there, killers more likely to pass on their genes.
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#10
No, I think the answer to survival is that selfish, disloyal pacifists don't pass on their genes. Good people...you know, those who already know they'd never behead other people...will band together in loyal groups to fight killers. They are the same people who built your safe western society and the police who protect you even now.
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