Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not

A naturalist examines the cognitive and cultural foundations of religion, science, and more

Autism Impedes Religiosity

New empirical studies show that autistic spectrum disorders thwart religious belief and understanding. Read More

Impaired theory of mind, or simply common sense?

Ah, yes, another study that puts autistic behaviour down to 'impaired theory of mind'. Just what the world needed.

Perhaps we autistic atheists and agnostics are more likely to lack belief because there is no solid scientific evidence for the existence of gods, or because there is no need for religious belief to live a fulfilling life. Perhaps it's because we don't understand why anyone should choose one specific religion when there are many to choose from - it is difficult to understand what makes one better than the others and thus worth believing in to a strong degree.

Perhaps it's because we're capable of seeing, feeling, and hearing amazing patterns, structure and other things in the world around us every day that don't appear to have any connection with a god (besides, people are always telling me that my perceptions are imaginary, the result of 'faulty wiring' or 'taken out of context' - perhaps it's your perceptions of gods that are imaginary, faulty, or taken out of context).

Or perhaps (in the Judeo-Christian faiths at least) it is because the contradictory, illogical, and blatantly inaccurate religious texts do not mesh well with our preference for logicality, structure, accuracy, and order.

All of these are perfectly valid reasons why individuals with ASDs don't believe in gods, and none have anything to do with theory of mind.

In fact, the entire tone of your article suggests that lack of religiousity is a negative characteristic. Seriously, 'thwart religious belief and understanding'? I think 'provides a mindset well-suited to questioning the validity of religion' would be more appropriate.

Well I never got it.

Well as person with ASD i nver did understand religion at all. I figured it is a good tool to show off your morality. But there is a rule about it. Always pretend to be believe even if you don't. Normal people think your immoral if you don't and will hate for it. However if your a have good social skills you can use god to to enhance your moral image. One doay i have to learn how to do that.

Belief or mannerisms

When I look at religious people in the media, I usually see two stereotypes:

1) Quiet/Contemplative: A soft-spoken individual who not only goes to church/temple/mosque at their appointed times every week, but will avoid offending people by using good manners and going out of their way to help others in exchange for a little favor from the big man in the sky. This is the newest popular model for the moral theist and how i think you recognize religious types.


2) Crusader/"Jihadist": The one in a million religious individuals that you often would see in the news trying to push Sharia into government or burning down abortion clinics. They have complete disregard for people with different ideas about morality, they "know" they are right and they will make you see it one way or another! Are these people moral? Most would disagree (some wouldn't). I personally disagree.

The reason i described those two is just to make a point that being religious doesn't cause morality, it only correlates to it. If you want to portray yourself as moral, practice manners and empathy for those around you, it's not worthwhile to try to learn religion at this point in time.

Anyways, i hope you at least found that interesting;


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Robert N. McCauley, Ph.D., is the author of Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not. He is William Rand Kenan Jr. University Professor of Philosophy at Emory University.


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