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Interesting - but problematic statistics: Autism and Atheism

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posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 12:52 PM
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Important Preface

Now..., mind you; there is a great danger in the practice of generalizations. There is also, a great potential for demographic statistics to be used to represent something that is an opinion; as one famously stated: "Statistics are like lampposts for dunks, they use them mainly for leaning on, not illumination!" But it would be cynical and disingenuous to make such a supposition as this material is meant to do anything other than suggest an avenue of discussion... please attend.

The source of this post can be considered both the study, and this artice.

It is unfortunate that I cannot share the graphs internally... but the first shows

Religious Beliefs by Group



Which seems to illustrate the contention that among two equivalent demographic samples differentiated by autism diagnosis state, the high functioning autistics are much more likely to be atheists.

...... the second shows

Autism Quotient for Religious Identity



Which is described as conveying that among a sample of autistics and neurotypicals those who are atheists have the highest “autism quotient.”

Rather than debate the concepts of Atheism and Deism, I urge you to consider this salient and remarkable observation, which the author of the media piece states well;


I’ve seen speculation about the peculiar psychological profile of atheists before in the cognitive science literature, and there’s a fair amount of social psychological data on the different personality profile of atheists (e.g., more disagreeable). But there hasn’t been a lot of systematic investigation of the possibility that autistic individuals are more likely to be atheist because they lack a fully fleshed “theory of mind,” which would make supernatural agents, gods, more plausible.


It seems to me that this is a particular idea I hadn't given much consideration to in my musings. What does it mean to be able to conjure in our own minds the likelihood of a "God" .. and what does it say of those who simply cannot?

Is there a describable difference between those who cannot conceive of a "god" or the existence of supernatural realities... and those who can.., but reject them because they cannot be rationalized logically.

Is there a noteworthy thing to be stated about those who refuse faith, and those who cannot have faith because they have nothing to believe in?

Bonus Question: As some of our other earthling species approach the cusp of sentience... will they have gods? Can they? Will that be a defining element of sentience? Not that they believe in a god, but that they could.?

Happy thinking....

MM



+4 more 
posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:03 PM
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Originally posted by Maxmars

But there hasn’t been a lot of systematic investigation of the possibility that autistic individuals are more likely to be atheist because they lack a fully fleshed “theory of mind,” which would make supernatural agents, gods, more plausible.


Or maybe it's because they simply know B.S. when they see it. The above quote is a highly arrogant claim, and one that is embedded within a common misunderstanding of atheism: that one doesn't believe in deities because of a mental illness (lack of theory of mind) resembling a selfishness or inability to recognize feelings other than their own. I'm uncertain as to how such a condition renders impotent any belief in the supernatural, but whatever.

Sure, some cases may autistic atheism may be from such a scenario, but most of my experience with autistic people reveals unusually high intelligence in one area or another and they simply will not accept deities as explanations for anything.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:04 PM
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Atheism also seems to be more prevalent in the more educated countries.
Is Autism more prevalent in more educated countries?



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


Interesting but not related in my opinion. Being athiest seems to be much more about critical thinking than "disagreeability" to me. Here is a statistical "lamp post" for you; there have been no reported cases of people with cellphones contracting smallpox. So, clearly all babies need cell phones. Oh, and I happen to have a lot of motorolla stock too.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:11 PM
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i'm autistic, i LOVE science, and i'm a christian.

before i made my choice, i studied many different religions and evolution. i believe the real reason is because most of us tend to be cynical and struggle with depression, so naturally many of us think there is no higher power.
edit on 19-9-2011 by Bob Sholtz because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:19 PM
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This argument/convo is mute. We all know how to cure autism, we've known since 1969.



I'm not saying he's supernatural, but he did cure little Amanda.
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edit on 19-9-2011 by thesungod because: Trying to embed...



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by Maxmars
Important Preface

Now..., mind you; there is a great danger in the practice of generalizations. There is also, a great potential for demographic statistics to be used to represent something that is an opinion; as one famously stated: "Statistics are like lampposts for dunks, they use them mainly for leaning on, not illumination!" But it would be cynical and disingenuous to make such a supposition as this material is meant to do anything other than suggest an avenue of discussion... please attend.

The source of this post can be considered both the study, and this artice.

It is unfortunate that I cannot share the graphs internally... but the first shows

Religious Beliefs by Group



Which seems to illustrate the contention that among two equivalent demographic samples differentiated by autism diagnosis state, the high functioning autistics are much more likely to be atheists.

...... the second shows

Autism Quotient for Religious Identity



Which is described as conveying that among a sample of autistics and neurotypicals those who are atheists have the highest “autism quotient.”

Rather than debate the concepts of Atheism and Deism, I urge you to consider this salient and remarkable observation, which the author of the media piece states well;


I’ve seen speculation about the peculiar psychological profile of atheists before in the cognitive science literature, and there’s a fair amount of social psychological data on the different personality profile of atheists (e.g., more disagreeable). But there hasn’t been a lot of systematic investigation of the possibility that autistic individuals are more likely to be atheist because they lack a fully fleshed “theory of mind,” which would make supernatural agents, gods, more plausible.


It seems to me that this is a particular idea I hadn't given much consideration to in my musings. What does it mean to be able to conjure in our own minds the likelihood of a "God" .. and what does it say of those who simply cannot?

Is there a describable difference between those who cannot conceive of a "god" or the existence of supernatural realities... and those who can.., but reject them because they cannot be rationalized logically.

Is there a noteworthy thing to be stated about those who refuse faith, and those who cannot have faith because they have nothing to believe in?

Bonus Question: As some of our other earthling species approach the cusp of sentience... will they have gods? Can they? Will that be a defining element of sentience? Not that they believe in a god, but that they could.?

Happy thinking....

MM





What a load of bull. Yep a big load of stinky bull. let me guess, God will save those who don't believe from this condition? What a load of bull and thank you for wasting the time of any person who can read. You've just gone one step further in making the God squad look like the tools you are.
edit on 19-9-2011 by steveknows because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:22 PM
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I would say that there's a good correlation between Autism and what some call "militant" Atheism. Of course, that's probably just a coincidence, as those with Asperger's syndrome (high functioning Autism) are less than tactful 9 times out of 10.

Given that Asperger's is the only kind of Autism I've heard of that also includes one being high-functioning enough to actually have an opinion on religion, I'd say there's just a lot of Aspies messing up the numbers.


+1 more 
posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:30 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


It seems to me (mother of an Aspie) that they are not social people, hence no need to subscribe to a socially pressured belief system. Nothing to do with ability or inability to conceptualize a higher power.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:39 PM
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I hope you will all pardon my amusement that you've reacted as if this were an assertion, and thus taken offense where none was given.

But this does round out nicely the array of labels with which I have been branded.

Insofar as equating Atheism with a mental defect, that is not my doing or my contention. having said that, you may now proceed to ignore it and be angry at the effrontery represented by the report from the folks at Boston University.

I find it hard to accept on the face of it.... but some appear to be fitting a stereotype I can do without.

Drop the anger... you don't need the extra baggage in life.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:40 PM
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A person who KNOWS they're autistic (the highly-functioning) are far more likely to have an anger/hate relationship with God, so that will skew this a lot.


Think about Steven Hawking. Go watch his latest rants that are little but emotionally hating on Christians and other religions that specifically call for a Creator God. He's a very bitter person who cannot accept God or any concept of Him as rational because why would God suffer him to that body. And I do sympathize with that pain and anger that is still present in the man, but it is darn near impossible for that to not skew his reasoning, for as bright as he is.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 01:58 PM
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Originally posted by gwynnhwyfar
reply to post by Maxmars
 


It seems to me (mother of an Aspie) that they are not social people, hence no need to subscribe to a socially pressured belief system. Nothing to do with ability or inability to conceptualize a higher power.


That's something that seems to answer my question nicely.

It makes sense, and I respect that it comes from experience. Thanks for not assuming I was bashing people with autism (or atheists.)



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 02:08 PM
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reply to post by CynicalDrivel
 


It looks to me like your'e saying that people suffer their challenges as a result of lack of belief in God. So are you saying that lack of belief in God causes an ilness be it mental, nuorlogical or physical ?

That is so dark age. Seriously dark age. It falls into dark age church way of thinking that a person having an epileptic seizure is possessed by satan or wheat blight is caused be witches.

Unbelievable



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by CynicalDrivel
A person who KNOWS they're autistic (the highly-functioning) are far more likely to have an anger/hate relationship with God, so that will skew this a lot.


Think about Steven Hawking. Go watch his latest rants that are little but emotionally hating on Christians and other religions that specifically call for a Creator God. He's a very bitter person who cannot accept God or any concept of Him as rational because why would God suffer him to that body. And I do sympathize with that pain and anger that is still present in the man, but it is darn near impossible for that to not skew his reasoning, for as bright as he is.



Perhaps he's just more aware than the average person when it comes to science and he's sick of the God squad trying to confuse the issues and devaluate long scientific research by comparing a scientific theory to a guess.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 02:22 PM
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reply to post by steveknows
 


You seem to be spoiling for a fight on this point.

Is there no room in your world for discussion regarding the information these researchers compiled? What is your fixation with this "god squad" and who are they?

I can't see where anyone has stated that atheism is a disease, or autism some kind of 'divine retribution' for atheism.... that sounds rather more like exposing an ignorance in someone before they even say anything ignorant.

Does this topic offend you personally? And if so, aside from the obvious solution, would it not offend if it were not associated with Atheism?



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 02:39 PM
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Originally posted by Maxmars
reply to post by steveknows
 


You seem to be spoiling for a fight on this point.

Is there no room in your world for discussion regarding the information these researchers compiled? What is your fixation with this "god squad" and who are they?

I can't see where anyone has stated that atheism is a disease, or autism some kind of 'divine retribution' for atheism.... that sounds rather more like exposing an ignorance in someone before they even say anything ignorant.

Does this topic offend you personally? And if so, aside from the obvious solution, would it not offend if it were not associated with Atheism?


I'm not spoiling for a fight at all I'm just having trouble getting my head around what it implies. Every part of my humanity has been repulsed by the connotation this carries. And yes it's a forum for debate but I don't think you can pull the "don't shoot the messanger" aspect because you've obviously gone looking for this trash in order for you to have found it. So "I believe" that what you've done is found something you agree with and you're hiding behind the "don't shoot the messanger" aspect.

I actually do believe in God but I don't believe in the bible or the church. Nor do I believe God rules mankind and I don't believe that lack of faith is an ilness which is what the thread implies and you know it.

And yes it's obviously a pro God anti athiest post.
edit on 19-9-2011 by steveknows because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 02:56 PM
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I think people are missing the reason for why there is a correlation.

I think it is not the mind that is doing this but the central nervous system. The central nervous system (kundalini) is like an antenna array for the spiritual. If it does not work properly (like Stephen Hawking) you cannot experience it properly.

This I believe is what is happening.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 03:08 PM
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reply to post by steveknows
 


That explains the approach. I understand your sensitivity. I would suggest you take a bit more time to assess whether I am the type of poster who uses an agenda like that. But I will spare you any claims to the contrary. Hopefully given time, you will see that I am not inclined to behave that way.

At any rate, should anyone think this is about trying to make the point that atheism may be in part caused by some 'autism-like' aspect of the the mind; I suggest you read the study more closely.

I admit that I am unaware of the persons who conducted the research or the article author... should they have an agenda I can only ask you not associate with me.

I simply thought it was significant enough to bring here for opinions.

I find myself wondering if there is some substance to the idea that this is meant to disparage Atheism. I know it has obviously had that effect at least perceptually.. but could that have been the point? I was prepared to think not, but now I will be more circumspect about who these researchers are, and whether they have displayed a pattern of studies or reports that focus disproportionately on associating negativity with atheism..

Meanwhile, if I have offended anyone by relaying the material and asking questions that could be taken the wrong way, I sincerely apologize.



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 03:14 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


Boston University you say

Here in Europe >not< being religious is seen a sign of having good mental health

And those wacky American evangelical types are thought of as odd



posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 03:16 PM
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SeleneLux and CynicalDrivel,

If we go down the path that physical affectations have metaphysical effects, we will be treading on really slippery ground.

First off, I am fairly certain that Dr. Hawkins' condition is not related to a manifestation of autism. And he is far from alone in the world in being disabled as he is - although few get as good care as he does. Also, one personal anger can manifest itself in many ways which could include denying god, or wishing to turn people away from god... but you do realize that such a position by definition means they believe in him.

If god does not exist any emotions directed at him/her/it would be defacto wasted.

If the life force "Kundalini" coursing through the human 'transceiver' is disrupted physically, say, by neurological affectation, we would be admitting to a very troubling reality; namely that our metaphysical capabilities were irrevocably tied to our physical form. I am leery of accepting that theory.


edit on 19-9-2011 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)



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