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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The scientific benefits of faith

Tangentially related to the day's earlier post comes this news that there are material differences between the brains of religious individuals and those of the irreligious:
They say religion is a matter of the heart – but it seems the shape of our brains could also have a role to play. Believers or those with a spiritual side have ‘thicker’ sections of brain tissue than other people, a study suggests. And in welcome news for the faithful, the researchers think that this thickening could also help to stave off depression.

‘Our beliefs and our moods are reflected in our brain and with new imaging techniques we can begin to see this,’ Dr Myrna Weissman, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University, told Reuters Health.
As I mentioned in the previous comments, I think it might be informative to see a study done on the frontal lobes of atheists. My scientific hypothesis, based on the observation that adult atheists tend to exhibit a variety of reasoning patterns more commonly observed in teenagers, is that the brains of atheists will show signs of their frontal lobes not being fully developed.

And before you deny the science, keep in mind that not one, but two scientific studies at two different universities have already found evidence supporting my hypothesis concerning a connection between mild forms of autism and atheism. It looks increasingly likely that Sam Harris's attempt to bring neuroscience into religious matters is going to backfire on atheists in a big way.

But this should have been obvious from the start, as who is more likely to be aneurotypical, a small and poorly behaved minority or the overwhelming majority? As economists have learned over the last 80 years, Sigmund Freud's ideas are a very poor basis upon which to build one's scientific hypotheses.

Of course, it's entirely possible that Mr. Harris's frontal lobes are, at least in part, to blame for his inability to correctly reason through the probable connection between brain development and religious belief, assuming that there is one in the first place.

UPDATE: Gara complained that I didn't mention the fact that atheists have higher average IQs than theists. So, I'm rectifying that by quoting myself on the subject of superior average atheist intelligence:

"I have readily conceded that religious individuals are less intelligent on average than non-believers in general and atheists in particular for years.  However, what the midwits who get very excited about this statistical fact never seem to keep in mind is that because there are so many more religious people, there are considerably more highly intelligent religious people than there are highly intelligent non-believers.

In fact, the ratio of theists to atheists with Mensa+ level IQs is more than 10 to one."

Labels:

168 Comments:

Anonymous Spoos in August January 14, 2014 9:14 AM  

It is worth noting that, as depression reduces both neurogenesis and neuron survival, the causal arrow may actually point in the other direction. Perhaps atheists' cortices are arrested at an earlier stage of development because atheism is depressing. Alternatively, many atheists eschew the opportunities for social interaction provided by churches; lack of a support network could plausibly also increase or exacerbate incidences of depression in atheists.

One would have to look at adolescent atheists and track cortical thickening over the course of at least a few years to see.

Anonymous RedJack January 14, 2014 9:19 AM  

The question I have is the brain hard coded that way, or does it develop over time because of the faith (or lack there of) of the person.

I also wonder about the definition of autism. By some standards, every engineer I have ever known is autistic (including myself) on a small scale.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus January 14, 2014 9:23 AM  

You know what else correlates with autism? Eating "organic" foods.

here

I'd post the image directly, but the comments don't take the IMG tag.

OpenID simplytimothy January 14, 2014 9:43 AM  

signs of their frontally lobes not being fully developed.

Frontally lobes? or Frontal lobes?

Blogger IM2L844 January 14, 2014 9:52 AM  

Frontally lobes? or Frontal lobes?

Atheists have effrontery lobes.

Blogger JartStar January 14, 2014 9:55 AM  

The emotional and physical benefits of religious belief are strongly supported by the evidence with more support all of the time. What's interesting is that spiritual but not religious fare even worse than atheists or believers. The spiritual but not religious likely to face mental health issues, drug use, study says

I've never seen an atheist even attempt to refute the scientific evidence, but I welcome the chance to see the attempt.

Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 10:00 AM  

I can't avoid noticing than in a post about atheism and brain studies you don't include the fact that different studies have shown more than once that atheist tend to have statistically higher IQs than religious people. Which is funny considering how you hardly miss a chance to tell us about your Mensa IQ level of intelligence yourself.

Anonymous Salt January 14, 2014 10:03 AM  

Proclaiming oneself an Atheist could one day be deemed a medical condition; one suffering from Frontal Lobe Deficiency.

OpenID simplytimothy January 14, 2014 10:08 AM  

Atheists have effrontery lobes.

That's funny.

Anonymous RedJack January 14, 2014 10:17 AM  

Gara,
I have personaly seen studies go both ways with IQ and atheism. One had over represented academics (which said they had higher IQ), the other was broader in scope, but the internals made me think that they were sampling naturally lower IQ persons. There the atheists had average or below IQ's. Wish I could remember the details on the latter.

Now it has been a few years since I cared to dig into it, so there may be more studies now.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 10:17 AM  

I can't avoid noticing than in a post about atheism and brain studies you don't include the fact that different studies have shown more than once that atheist tend to have statistically higher IQs than religious people. Which is funny considering how you hardly miss a chance to tell us about your Mensa IQ level of intelligence yourself.

You really are remarkably stupid, Gara. I have posted on the subject many times. What is funny is that you're a typical mouthy, ignorant atheist who is so stupid, he doesn't even stop to SEARCH THE BLOG for the very thing he is claiming doesn't exist.

Kind of a habit with you atheists, isn't it. You don't look and then claim it doesn't exist. And yet, it most certainly does. That's only one of several posts on the subject dating back to 2008.

As it happens, 56.8% of all atheists have IQs below 100. And there are 9 highly intelligent theists who are sure that God exists, (and 13 who believe in God's existence), for every highly intelligent atheist who believes God does not exist.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 10:23 AM  

I have personaly seen studies go both ways with IQ and atheism.

Atheists are a very small population. They have higher AVERAGE IQs, but most of them have IQs below 100. Basically, the Oxford-educated Richard Dawkins with his 2SD IQ is balanced by 3 idiot internet atheists with -1SD to normal IQs. But there are FAR more theists at the highest level of intelligence than atheists.

Theists being most of the population, their average comes in right at 100. As must be the case. Where atheists cheat on this thing is that they try to redefine "atheist" as "self-identifying atheist". Of course, that's going to eliminate all the sub-100 atheists who don't believe in God, but also don't spend any time thinking about abstract matters.

In fact, given that the supernatural is an intrinsically abstract concept, it should be no surprise that atheists are disproportionately represented at the lowest levels of intelligence too.

Anonymous Josh January 14, 2014 10:23 AM  

I can't avoid noticing than in a post about atheism and brain studies you don't include the fact that different studies have shown more than once that atheist tend to have statistically higher IQs than religious people. Which is funny considering how you hardly miss a chance to tell us about your Mensa IQ level of intelligence yourself.

High church vs low church atheists. This was covered in The Irrational Atheist. Go read it.

Anonymous CS January 14, 2014 10:26 AM  

I'd be interested to know whether these neural differences are congenital or perhaps developed later in life with the onset of religious belief and thinking within the individual

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben January 14, 2014 10:33 AM  

I can't imagine being an atheist because it's depressing to think that there is no point to life, nothing bigger than this world.

Why would you want to live like that? Also, what's the atheist alternative to living a meaningful religious life? Is it the absurdity of atheist "churches"?

Anonymous Starbuck January 14, 2014 10:43 AM  

the researchers think that this thickening could also help to stave off depression.

Gives a different slant on "a seared conscience" or "giving them over to a reprobate mind". Could it be people do that to themselves as opposed to God doing it to them?

Anonymous Alexander January 14, 2014 10:48 AM  

Not disputing Vox's facts, but something else to consider.

Atheists can't celebrate their higher-than-average IQ, while simultaneously trying to pick off the dullest fruit from the God-fearing tree in order to boost their own numbers.

Or rather, they *can*, but it does nothing for their argument that they are more logical.

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus January 14, 2014 10:54 AM  

In fact, the ratio of theists to atheists with Mensa+ level IQs is more than 10 to one.

Oddly enough, that's about the ratio of atheists to theists in the United States, give or take a couple of percentage points.

Anonymous The other skeptic January 14, 2014 10:57 AM  

I can't avoid noticing than in a post about atheism and brain studies you don't include the fact that different studies have shown more than once that atheist tend to have statistically higher IQs than religious people.

While Vox has already added an addendum on this, so what?

What has Richard Dawkins or any of the prominent atheists done to improve the life of the average person out there?

Perhaps that is not your criterion of the worth of a highly intelligent person but it is one criterion that could be used.

Anonymous Spoos in August January 14, 2014 10:57 AM  

As I understand it (and I could be way off-base here, so feel free to correct me), sin is basically a part of human nature, and is mostly something we do to ourselves, even if, as with Eve and the apple, there's somebody egging you on. Sin has consequences both temporal and spiritual; repentance and God's forgiveness ameliorate the spiritual consequences more than the temporal (I would assume).

That's the flip side of free will and agency; men are not just God's tinkertoys, so we are responsible for our decisions. Just because God will forgive you for making bad life choices doesn't absolve you of that responsibility.

Anonymous Sensei January 14, 2014 11:00 AM  

Could it be people do that to themselves as opposed to God doing it to them?

Someone defined hell as people who have rejected God, allowed by God to have what they insisted on: being left to themselves for eternity. Any additional torments are merely icing on the cake for that kind of horrific fate.

Anonymous The other skeptic January 14, 2014 11:04 AM  

Someone who truly understands The Theory of Evolution (as opposed to someone who uses it as a cudgel to beat traditional Caucasians around the head with) would be aware that selection has increased since we discovered agriculture and large-scale civilizations.

I would not be surprised to find differences between the brains of Europeans, Chinese (and East Asians) and Indians, driven in large part by their selection for hard-wired support and acceptance of the dominant cultural ideas/memes in those different groups. Two thousand years is enough time for such selection to have such an effect.

The difference in the west of late is the presence of another group.

OpenID thetroll January 14, 2014 11:05 AM  

> atheist tend to have statistically higher IQs than religious people

Actually, the correlation is mildly negative when measured correctly. And "correctly" here means "normalizing for wealth". The actual strong statistical cross-cultural correlation is that religious belief drops off markedly as material well-being increases. And since intelligence generally correlates reasonably well with wealth in any given culture, we likewise generally see this second order correlation of intelligence and atheism. But it disappears to reverses slightly when you normalize your samples by social stratum.

> Also, what's the atheist alternative to living a meaningful religious life?

I'm more of a strong agnostic than an atheist, but as far as lack of defined existential purpose goes they're functionally identical; treating my observable universe as a great show someone's staging for my amusement satisfies me quite nicely, thanks. I rather think it would be more depressing to believe that there is a point to life and we're failing at it so badly, as documented here constantly.

But that could be just me.

Anonymous CarpeOro January 14, 2014 11:10 AM  

@Gara

While there are a number of atheist readers of the blog, some of whom are very intelligent, the least intelligent people that come here are the atheist trolls. General readership here probably averages above 2 STD, and the bulk are believers.

Anonymous Sensei January 14, 2014 11:14 AM  

I rather think it would be more depressing to believe that there is a point to life and we're failing at it so badly, as documented here constantly.

Yeah, like entropy, what a drag. I prefer to believe that everything is being slowly perfected, much less depressing that way...

But all sarcasm aside, it sounds like you at least understand reality as presented by the Bible better than those who accuse Christians of being naive wishful thinkers.

OpenID thetroll January 14, 2014 11:17 AM  

> would be aware that selection has increased since we discovered agriculture

What it's looking like right now is that the capacity for abstract thought, which is what we generally measure as 'intelligence', is selected for by agriculture *with distinct seasons*. When survival depends on correctly judging a) when to plant b) how to nurture and protect your crops c) when to harvest d) how much to save for next year's planting, you need one hellawhack more of cognitive capacity than you do as a hunter-gatherer or even as an agriculturalist in areas without sharply defined seasons. This selection pressure is what explains conventional general racial IQ differences, as well as the oddball populations scattered here and there that don't conform to them.

That's the theory, anyway. Not completely sure how you'd go about testing it definitively, but it seems to match up with observations rather well.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera January 14, 2014 11:28 AM  

The DSM-V basically got rid of "Asperger's" as a diagnosis, insisting that it is a form of high-functioning autism. This is because modern scientists hate knowledge, and prefer to stir everything together into a grey sludge.

It is a ridiculous decision, pushed by interest groups. Asperger's is characterised by timely language development. This is not a small difference. It is as if an interest group of doctors claimed that the flu is a mild case of AIDS. Otherwise, we'd have to admit that Somalis are different from white Minnesotans.

Normal stuff out of the way, some thoughts from the far side of the internet...

I've come to the conclusion, personally, that neanderthal theory is not describing "aspies" as we know them, but rather a group different breeds altogother. These groups are often aspie-like, but I think the simularities stem from a simple distinction: they are bright and have failed to adapt to this by learning to "act normal". For instance, they often prefer to communicate precisely, which often entails big words. But ordinary people use big words to show off. Therefore, bright people who are acting naturally appear to always be showing off unless they curtail themselves into vagueness and handwaving half-sense like ordinary people. But at least ordinary people would enjoy being around them (racial hatreds aside for the time being).

Particularly, the phrenology doesn't match up. Aspie facial morphs actually look a little repulsive to me, and I'm an archetypal case for Koanic and Tex's theory. They are feminized, broad, and somewhat pugnacious. None of these descriptions fit the theory. Modern aspies also tend to have vertical foreheads and shallow eye sockets.

So what we're seeing is a small segment of the population showing a large number of variations, who are all dysfunctional by nature and either adapt or do not adapt to "normal". This indicates a large number of dwindling high-IQ races getting squished into the right end of the bell curve by the overwhelming hordes of neurotypicals. Which is to say, stupids. This would not be possible except for the advent of agricultural post-scarcity.

Anonymous BAJ January 14, 2014 11:52 AM  

ARGUMENT AGAINST G.K. CHESTERTON (II), a.k.a. THE BLACK SWAN ARGUMENT (II)
(1) Some intellectual men of intellect, great in science or philosophy, have been Christian.
(2) This proves that they either are not great intellects or are not really Christian.
(3) Therefore, no man of intellect, great in science or philosophy, are Christian.
(4) Therefore, God does not exist.

Anonymous Glacierman January 14, 2014 11:54 AM  

Funny how the Seat of Authority, located in the frontal lobes of every persons brain, is where Holy Spirit resides in Believers. The Word says that our spiritual armour includes the "helmet of salvation" (Ephesians 6), and if we have a helmet on our head, would that not intrinsically translate into a greater coating or extra thickness being applied to our brain? Science always seems to concur and confirm the Word of God to be true and so multidimensional. Quantum physics will prove that there are many more dimensions which the Armour of God will effect.

Very interesting work being done by Arthur Burk, lead of Sapphire Leadership Group on many fronts, but has spent some considerate amount of time on the Brain Renewal Project (http://brainrenewalproject.com/ Arthur's Blog about his start-up project and research on the brain and the spirit).

This is not light reading, and for those who are squeamish about people who talk about their direct dialogue with the Father through Holy Spirit, then this will be very disturbing.

For those of you who don't mind going deep, learning new things about things which are being brought to the Light, then this will be most fascinating.

Fits right in with what this article is talking about, but Arthur is taking it in a bit of a new direction.

Vox, I think you will find this especially fascinating, as this research could be right up our alley.

Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 12:01 PM  

"You really are remarkably stupid, Gara. I have posted on the subject many times. What is funny is that you're a typical mouthy, ignorant atheist who is so stupid, he doesn't even stop to SEARCH THE BLOG for the very thing he is claiming doesn't exist. "

For such a smart guy you should try working on your reading comprehension next time. I never said "you have never spoken about atheism and average IQ in your whole blog". I pointed out that you didn't mentioned that fact anywhere in that POST (which obviously edited in response to my comment) despite the fact that it is very relevant to what you were discussing. But feel free to keep misreading me if it allows you to feel so intellectually superior.

Blogger Doug January 14, 2014 12:04 PM  

Considering that Atheism may well be an intellectual luxury for the wealthy ( http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/24/atheism-richard-dawkins-challenge-beliefs-homeless ) it should be no surprise at all that the average intelligence of atheists is higher than average...

I.e. -- what thetroll said.

Blogger JCclimber January 14, 2014 12:11 PM  

It seems very intuitive to me. James chapter 1 says if any lack wisdom, pray for it, AND have faith that it will be granted to you.
Wisdom isn't equal to intelligence, but since the conscience and higher reasoning seem to reside in the frontal lobes, it makes sense that faith in God, over years and decades, will lead to increased growth in that area of the brain.

Especially in light of our knowledge of the brain's plasticity and ability to remold itself over time. May also explain why older atheists have such difficulty coming up with new and more creative arguments, as the Creator has been banished from their cortex and over the years, their truly creative abilities will degrade.

Anonymous Giraffe January 14, 2014 12:12 PM  

So much butthurt, Gara.

You brought your bad attitude and got your spanking. I recommend you cut your losses.

Anonymous Brother Thomas January 14, 2014 12:13 PM  

I wonder if Christians are more romantic? The idea that love is eternal is a rather romantic notion. Love conquers death.

Blogger JCclimber January 14, 2014 12:15 PM  

Ah, poor poor Gara.
Try reading it again. Do you see Intelligence mentioned before you brought it up?
It talks about depression. Aspergers and autism. Frontal lobe development.
So, where exactly there relevance about intelligence among atheists and believers?
Do you also want to bring up the hypothalamus, the visual cortex, and other brain functions?

mid-wit.

Anonymous jack January 14, 2014 12:23 PM  

atheists have frontal lobes? Who would have thought it....

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 12:27 PM  

For such a smart guy you should try working on your reading comprehension next time. I never said "you have never spoken about atheism and average IQ in your whole blog". I pointed out that you didn't mentioned that fact anywhere in that POST.

Obviously. Just as I didn't mention anything about a hundred other differences between the religious and the irreligious. This post had nothing to do with IQ and there was no reason to mention it at all. I only mentioned it in the update because it is amusing to point out that the very aspect you thought would show to your advantage doesn't do anything of the sort.

You clearly had no idea that I'd posted on it before, otherwise you wouldn't have "thought it was funny" that I just happened to neglect mentioning that 56.8 percent of atheists have subnormal IQs.

Blogger Nate January 14, 2014 12:32 PM  

"despite the fact that it is very relevant to what you were discussing. But feel free to keep misreading me if it allows you to feel so intellectually superior."

What's dishonest is your implication that it was something that was deliberately left to minimize atheists.

Anonymous Van January 14, 2014 12:33 PM  

"I would not be surprised to find differences between the brains of Europeans, Chinese (and East Asians) and Indians"

Well established. East Asians have slightly larger brains than whites, who have much larger brains than sub-Saharan Africans. The same patter is seen in density (neurons per cc). Africans also have "flatter" brains - fewer folds in the cortex, and much smaller frontal lobes. Controversial to say, but well established.

"The actual strong statistical cross-cultural correlation is that religious belief drops off markedly as material well-being increases. And since intelligence generally correlates reasonably well with wealth in any given culture, we likewise generally see this second order correlation of intelligence and atheism. But it disappears to reverses slightly when you normalize your samples by social stratum."

Do any studies control for race? If not, they are useless; further, if not, once race is controlled for, any advantage held by atheists would reverse, as blacks are more likely than whites to be religious, but have lower average IQ.

Anonymous bob k. mando January 14, 2014 12:35 PM  

hunh.

tell me this doesn't sound like the New Atheist / Gaia Environmentalist talking about their shiny new secular utopia:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZY43QSx3Fk&t=0m32s

Anonymous CLK January 14, 2014 12:35 PM  

"I have readily conceded that religious individuals are less intelligent on average than non-believers in general and atheists in particular for years. However, what the midwits who get very excited about this statistical fact never seem to keep in mind is that because there are so many more religious people, there are considerably more highly intelligent religious people than there are highly intelligent non-believers."

First, -- I am a Christian (RC) .. but I have to point out that you statement above while not wrong, is misleading. Statistically as a group atheists have higher IQ than theists .. period.. end story. The fact that the size of the theist group is larger and thus there may be more of any given subgroup is immaterial because there are considerably both more smart people and stupid people in the larger group... this is why we have to resort to the use of statistics in the first place... both are large groups but of different sizes who,cant all be counted.

I am not really sure that smarter means the same thing to everyone. I am very suspect of IQ comparisons (are these self reported in these sorts of surveys? ) and of IQ in general as a real indicator of smartness...

Anonymous Krul January 14, 2014 12:36 PM  

Fight on, Sir Gara the Epistemic! Don't let the Faith Monsters get you down!

Quick, use your microscopes!

Anonymous allyn71 January 14, 2014 12:43 PM  

"But feel free to keep misreading me if it allows you to feel so intellectually superior." - Gara January 14, 2014 12:01 PM

Vox is free to feel intellectually superior to you because you have repeatedly shown he is, regardless of how accurately he reads you.

Anonymous Mudz January 14, 2014 12:44 PM  

Can't believe no-one, not even the visiting non-believers, has mentioned the totally obvious joke.

We're literally more thick-headed than atheists. :D

Obviously the solution to this terrible IQ controversy is to kill all the <120 IQ Christian folk. Then Christians will be collectively smarterer than EVERYONE IN THE WORLD. Thus proving Christianity true.

Anonymous Giraffe January 14, 2014 12:48 PM  

Obviously the solution to this terrible IQ controversy is to kill all the <120 IQ Christian folk. Then Christians will be collectively smarterer than EVERYONE IN THE WORLD. Thus proving Christianity true.

Ah, but then there would only be about 50 Christians left. :)

Anonymous Van January 14, 2014 12:49 PM  

Wasn't "Faith Monsters" a group of rabid George Michael fans in the late 80s?

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 12:52 PM  

I have to point out that you statement above while not wrong, is misleading. Statistically as a group atheists have higher IQ than theists .. period.. end story.

There is nothing misleading about it. There are three statistical facts here:

Atheists have a higher average IQ than theists. FULL STOP

There are 10x more high-IQ theists than high-IQ atheists. FULL STOP

Most atheists have an IQ below 100. FULL STOP.

Ah, wait, I forget. There is one more.

If you can't figure out how those three facts are non-contradictory, you do not belong to my target audience. FULL STOP. It's only potentially misleading to those who are not part of the conversation.

Anonymous JC January 14, 2014 12:55 PM  

Why would you want to live like that? Also, what's the atheist alternative to living a meaningful religious life? Is it the absurdity of atheist "churches"?

While this doesn't apply to all of them, I think for a number of them it's going to conventions.

Anonymous bob k. mando January 14, 2014 12:56 PM  

back to the Dunham post, this vid seems amusing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9gAiUPveTQ

OpenID thetroll January 14, 2014 1:02 PM  

> Do any studies control for race? If not, they are useless;

The same pattern holds consistently across differing ethnic and multi-ethnic societies. That thing about camels and needles, looks like it's a universal truth, not just YHWH's deal.

Blogger IM2L844 January 14, 2014 1:15 PM  

Is it the absurdity of atheist "churches"?

I think that is just a page ripped from the gaytheist churches tactics for demanding respect playbook.

Blogger JartStar January 14, 2014 1:34 PM  

Julian the Apostate tried to replicate the success of Christianity in some of the same way atheist "churches" do today. It didn't work then and won't work now as the axioms are too different. Or in another words: Why associate together in the name of Faith, Hope, Charity, and Love when there's no compelling reason much less a mandate?

Anonymous X January 14, 2014 2:00 PM  

1. Yes/No - God designs each person's brains before they are born
2. Yes/No - Thus some brains are made to receive Him, others are not
3. Yes/No - It's not Free Will that determines Salvation
4. Yes/Not - Thus Predestination & Calvinism is true.

(Just throwing this out for fun... gasoline, meet match)

Anonymous The Right January 14, 2014 2:13 PM  

"because there are so many more religious people, there are considerably more highly intelligent religious people than there are highly intelligent non-believers."

Despite the fact that professional football players are demonstrably better at holding a ball and running than non-professional football players, it is a fact that there are far more non-professional football players that run with a ball than professional football players that run with a ball.

LOL....YOU THEISTS ARE FUNNY

Anonymous Giraffe January 14, 2014 2:23 PM  

Despite the fact that professional football players are demonstrably better at holding a ball and running than non-professional football players, it is a fact that there are far more non-professional football players that run with a ball than professional football players that run with a ball.

Analogy fail. Lets see if I can help you out.

If we were building an NFL team out of suitable athletes in the percentages proportional to atheists vs. theists, there would be 5 atheists out of 53 on the team.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 2:25 PM  

LOL....YOU THEISTS ARE FUNNY

Oh, the irony. Someone obviously isn't one of the high-IQ atheists.

Anonymous Concerned Rabbit Hunter January 14, 2014 2:26 PM  

"Someone who truly understands The Theory of Evolution (as opposed to someone who uses it as a cudgel to beat traditional Caucasians around the head with) would be aware that selection has increased since we discovered agriculture and large-scale civilizations."

You forgot to explain atheists.

Anonymous Mudz January 14, 2014 2:28 PM  


Ah, but then there would only be about 50 Christians left. :)


But they would be the most statistically intelligent minority IN THE WORLD! That's all that matters!

(And sheesh, don't be so de-exaggerational. We'd have more than that many supergenius'.)

But honestly, I'm perfectly glad for atheists to be happy over a positive inclination of averaged IQ. I mean, if it was actually important to determining an individual's belief or non-belief, they could all convert to Judaism by default. That'd be a start.

Anonymous X January 14, 2014 2:28 PM  

So is the point that professional atheists are better running the ball than atheists? Do we really need to go there?

But I tell you what: Atheists are more likely to have creepy neck-beards than your average NFL player.

Anonymous Krul January 14, 2014 2:29 PM  

Shot in the dark: I think "the right" is "truth" by another name.

Anonymous CarpeOro January 14, 2014 2:32 PM  

"Especially in light of our knowledge of the brain's plasticity and ability to remold itself over time. May also explain why older atheists have such difficulty coming up with new and more creative arguments, as the Creator has been banished from their cortex and over the years, their truly creative abilities will degrade. "

Perhaps the reason that Camile Paglia has pointed to the degrading value of the arts as faith plays less of a part in them. Painting, music, sculpture done to glorify God (or a god) in the past seem far more refined than what is produced today and evoke more complex reactions than the drivel known as "modern art" where everything is open to interpretation.

Anonymous Giraffe January 14, 2014 2:33 PM  

Sparklepunter: Proof that atheists dominate the NFL.

Anonymous Mudz January 14, 2014 2:33 PM  

LOL....YOU THEISTS ARE FUNNY

Yeah, that was a pretty pathetic attempt dude. Try not to sound so desperate. As if 'professional' and 'non-professional' had equivalence to atheism and theism.

Anonymous Van January 14, 2014 2:35 PM  

"Oh, the irony. Someone obviously isn't one of the high-IQ atheists."

But atheists are smarter than the religious, and he's an atheist while you're religious. Therefore, he can be certain he's smarter than you. That's how it works, right? And since atheists are smart, and the religious are dumb, and he's an atheist and you're religious, it must be true that he is smart and you are dumb. Therefore, everything he says is right.

Blogger IM2L844 January 14, 2014 2:57 PM  

LOL....YOU THEISTS ARE FUNNY

I don't feel like you are providing the sort of positive feedback my fragile ego desperately needs. /s

Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 2:58 PM  

JCclimber
Try reading it again. Do you see Intelligence mentioned before you brought it up?
It talks about depression. Aspergers and autism. Frontal lobe development.


You are the one who needs to read it again (I'm talking about Vox comment, not what he quoted). Vox specifically implied that atheist have the reasoning patterns of teenagers and underdeveloped of frontal lobes. Do you really think that things like reasoning patterns have absolutely nothing to do with intelligence?

Obviously. Just as I didn't mention anything about a hundred other differences between the religious and the irreligious. This post had nothing to do with IQ and there was no reason to mention it at all.

Oh, come on, thats just back-pedaling. Do you seriously believe that "reasoning patterns" and the development of the lobe associated with attention and short term memory have nothing to do with IQ??? I would love to see you try to make that argument.

As it happens, 56.8% of all atheists have IQs below 100. You are right. For the shake of completeness, lets point out that the figure for believers is 64.1%, and the least represented ones are the agnostics (according to the original GSS source)

Where atheists cheat on this thing is that they try to redefine "atheist" as "self-identifying atheist". Of course, that's going to eliminate all the sub-100 atheists who don't believe in God, but also don't spend any time thinking about abstract matters.

While this is also right, I would point out that people who don't spend any thinking thinking about those matters would be considered agnostics according to some atheist's definition (And before you point it out, yes, I know most internet atheist disagree with this, namely the "I am an atheist regarding santa claus" and "babys are atheist" camp.

Anonymous Van January 14, 2014 3:10 PM  

" lets point out that the figure for believers is 64.1%, and the least represented ones are the agnostics (according to the original GSS source)"

As I asked above, does this data source control for race? I believe the GSS does not, and it is limited to the US, which is a multiracial population.

Blacks are more likely to be religious, and score lower on intelligence tests. Have you controlled for this variable, Gara?

Blogger El Borak January 14, 2014 3:20 PM  

Sam Harris, call your office:
People who regularly visit a place of worship are less likely to get involved in low level crime and delinquency, according to new research.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 3:23 PM  

Vox specifically implied that atheist have the reasoning patterns of teenagers and underdeveloped of frontal lobes. Do you really think that things like reasoning patterns have absolutely nothing to do with intelligence?

In this sense, absolutely. I am no more intelligent than I was when I was 18. In fact, I took the IQ test with which I was accepted into Mensa when I was 17. But I reason differently now. I mean, you know children as young as 4 have been tested and shown to have exceptionally high IQs, right? Unfinished frontal lobe development doesn't mean one is stupid. You don't get more intelligent from 17 to 27, but you learn how to use your intelligence more effectively.

Oh, come on, thats just back-pedaling. Do you seriously believe that "reasoning patterns" and the development of the lobe associated with attention and short term memory have nothing to do with IQ??? I would love to see you try to make that argument.

I'm not backpedaling at all. And yes, I am not only making that argument, I am telling you that you are completely wrong. Adults are not smarter than adolescents. They have better judgment. You are confusing the size of the gun with the ability to know where to more effectively aim the gun.

I would point out that people who don't spend any thinking thinking about those matters would be considered agnostics according to some atheist's definition

Irrelevant. Someone who believes there is no God is an atheist regardless of whether he calls himself an atheist or not. Otherwise, you would have to accept that even though I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, but I happen to call myself a Baptist, I am not a Christian because I'm not calling myself a Christian.

Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 4:11 PM  

Vox, what is your definition of reasoning? Because saying that reasoning has nothing to with inteligence sounds completely counter intuitive. Since you said in the OP that yours is a scientific hypothesis, tell me then, what is your definition of reasoning, and what could be considered an objetive way to measure or qualify "reasoning patterns"?

And actually, there are several studies that show an IQ increase with age. So is not as constant as you say. (IQ test are standarized for age anyway). But I see what you mean and I see how I could be wrong depending on the definition of reasoning. In any case it is IQ what is usually correlated with other positive things in life (such as wealth, health, etc) so at least I can be glad about the fact that even if high IQ atheist have subnormal "reasoning patterns" (whatever you mean by that) it doesn't seem to hinder their chances of being successfull in life very much.

Someone who believes there is no God is an atheist regardless of whether he calls himself an atheist or not.

Someone who never thinks about it =/= Someone who believes there is no God.

Anonymous Van January 14, 2014 4:26 PM  

Gara -

I asked you a direct question: Have you considered the influence of racial differences in intelligence test scores on the relationship between religious belief and intelligence as reported by the GSS?

Blogger JCclimber January 14, 2014 4:27 PM  

Gara, you're really sounding like a college freshman.
It is patently obvious to those with an IQ above 130 that "reasoning" and "intelligence" are different.

It is obvious to those with an IQ below 110 as well, because at least they can figure out that we have two different words and do NOT use them interchangeably, probably means they don't have the same meaning.

So you must be somewhere in between 110 and 130. A midwit.

Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 4:29 PM  

Well I just did a quick search on science direct and guess what I found:

Recent studies have indicated that performance on tests of frontal lobe function are highly associated with general intellectual ability (g). (Source: Performance on tests of frontal lobe function reflect general intellectual ability. Neuropsychologia. Volume 40, Issue 7, 2002, Pages 970–977)

And this:

Evidence from neuroimaging studies suggests that intelligence differences may be supported by a parieto-frontal network. Research shows that this network is also relevant for cognitive functions such as working memory and attention. (Source: Neuroanatomic overlap between intelligence and cognitive factors: Morphometry methods provide support for the key role of the frontal lobes. NeuroImage Volume 72, 15 May 2013, Pages 143–152)


So much for the frontal lobes having nothing to do with intelligence.

Blogger JCclimber January 14, 2014 4:29 PM  

Not that there is anything wrong with being a midwit. My wife is one, for example. But midwits, by virtue of a lifetime of experience being "smarter than average" have somehow gotten the idea that they are brilliant.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 4:30 PM  

Vox, what is your definition of reasoning?

The process of forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts or premises. So, intelligence is a factor in reasoning. It's an important factor. But it's not the only one. That's the point that I suspect you are missing.

In any case it is IQ what is usually correlated with other positive things in life (such as wealth, health, etc) so at least I can be glad about the fact that even if high IQ atheist have subnormal "reasoning patterns" (whatever you mean by that) it doesn't seem to hinder their chances of being successful in life very much.

True. In fact, if I'm correct, it might even drive them to be more successful in many ways, since one aspect of wisdom is learning to be content with what you have.

Someone who never thinks about it =/= Someone who believes there is no God.

Agreed. But that's not the question that was asked. This was the question asked: "Tell me which statement comes closest to expressing what you believe about God: 1. I don't believe in God. 2. I don't know whether there is a God and I don't believe there is any way to find out. 3. I don't believe in a personal God, but I do believe in a Higher Power of some kind. 4. I find myself believing in God some of the time, but not at others. 5. While I have doubts, I feel that I do believe in God. 6. I know God really exists and I have no doubts about it."

Category 1 is considered atheist. "I don't believe in God". Do you disagree?

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 4:33 PM  

So much for the frontal lobes having nothing to do with intelligence.

Yes, I should have been more precise. The completion of the maturation process of the frontal lobes obviously has nothing to do with intelligence. Unless my frontal lobes developed much more rapidly than most, or unless I have a truly spectacularly high IQ, it should be obvious that the full development of one's frontal lobes is not necessary for high intelligence.

Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 4:42 PM  

Gara, you're really sounding like a college freshman.
It is patently obvious to those with an IQ above 130 that "reasoning" and "intelligence" are different.

It is obvious to those with an IQ below 110 as well, because at least they can figure out that we have two different words and do NOT use them interchangeably, probably means they don't have the same meaning.


Then you must be bellow 100 because you have a terrible reading comprehension. Show me where I said that the two things are the same. Go ahead.

"I asked you a direct question: Have you considered the influence of racial differences in intelligence test scores on the relationship between religious belief and intelligence as reported by the GSS?"

What about it? I don't get exactly what your point is. Are you trying to tell me that believers would do better if we take out the dispropotionally religious and somewhat less inteligent black and latino individuals out of the calculation? Because I would probably agree with that actually (and I am actually latino myself, but Im honest enough to recognize the facts). If you know of any poll that specifically compares white atheist vs white theist let me know, I don't know of any.

Anonymous Mudz January 14, 2014 4:56 PM  


Then you must be bellow 100 because you have a terrible reading comprehension. Show me where I said that the two things are the same. Go ahead.


And he didn't say you said that.

Isn't pedantism fun?

Blogger JCclimber January 14, 2014 4:58 PM  

Nice Gara, since I scored in the top 1% on Verbal Reasoning (essentially reading comprehension) on the MCAT exam, I'm going to think about your assertion......nah.

I don't think reasoning patterns have much to do with intelligence.
I doubt you're going to be able to instantly see what I'm referring to, so I'll try for 3 or 4 minutes to break it down for ya, not that you'll learn anything because your reasoning pattern will be if something makes you feel bad, you reject it out of hand and immediately look for reasons to reject the truth.

For an example of atheist reasoning patterns, I refer you to this:
http://www.thomism.org/atheism/atheist_logic.html

Most people have pretty basic reasoning patterns. Does what I just heard/read fit in with what I already have experienced/believe? If yes, then I accept it as true.

If no, does what I just read make me feel bad? If yes, then immediately look for a way to discredit it somehow, the entire reasoning process driven by emotions because of the feelbad.

The really fascinating studies include one showing that scientists (like real, PhDs getting paid to do science) will quite literally not see physical results that reveal study results that conflict with their pre-determined hypothesis. It was fascinating that people who pride themselves on their "objectivity" were completely blind to the fact that they saw one result (a pH reading on a meter) when the meter was showing a different result that contradicted their expected results.

It was also replicable and repeatable.

Anonymous Van January 14, 2014 5:01 PM  

"Are you trying to tell me that believers would do better if we take out the dispropotionally religious and somewhat less inteligent black and latino individuals out of the calculation?"

I'm saying that a study that doesn't take race into account while comparing religious belief and intelligence is worthless. We know enough about how race correlates with intelligence and religious belief to deduce that the influence on intelligence and religious belief is significant.

Consider: the overwhelming majority of blacks and Hispanics report being religious; the majority of atheists are white; and the white, Hispanic, black average intelligence is somewhere around 102, 90, and 87, respectively.

Depending on the breakdown of atheists and religious believers among whites, the racial difference in intelligence alone could account for the appearance of an intelligence difference in atheists and believers.

Blogger wrf3 January 14, 2014 5:04 PM  

Gara

As I have written elsewhere, the issue between atheism and theism isn't about the direct evidence. Rather, it's about how brains process evidence. A person who is color blind can't see particular colors -- no matter how much evidence is presented. On the other hand, a person who is hallucinating may not be able to convince someone who isn't.

So, how do you prove that you aren't color blind, or that we are hallucinating? Evolution isn't on your side, since evolution has wired the majority of humans to believe in God and, as this post shows, it does have definite survival benefits.

Anonymous curious agnostic January 14, 2014 5:18 PM  

... so why are most / nearly all scientists atheist then? why are the majority of professors, philosophers, and politicians atheist? these employ the highest IQs in society, no?

Anonymous Van January 14, 2014 5:28 PM  

According to Pew Research, 51% of scientists believe in God, a higher power, or a universal spirit.

http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

Anonymous The Right January 14, 2014 5:28 PM  

"If we were building an NFL team out of suitable athletes in the percentages proportional to atheists vs. theists, there would be 5 atheists out of 53 on the team."

Proving once again that Theists can count. Thanks for that.

Here is the point that VD (and you) left out.

If you wanted to build a football team more likely to be better than average, you'd seek out professional football players. Likewise, if you wanted to build a team of people likely to be smarter than average, you'd seek out atheists.

Anonymous automatthew January 14, 2014 5:31 PM  

"so why are most / nearly all scientists atheist then? why are the majority of professors, philosophers, and politicians atheist?"

Who butters their bread?

Anonymous Van January 14, 2014 5:32 PM  

"Likewise, if you wanted to build a team of people likely to be smarter than average, you'd seek out atheists. "

Umm, I'd give candidates IQ tests and wouldn't worry about their religious beliefs. But I tend to be direct.

Anonymous Mudz January 14, 2014 5:44 PM  

If you wanted to build a football team more likely to be better than average, you'd seek out professional football players. Likewise, if you wanted to build a team of people likely to be smarter than average, you'd seek out atheists.

If you were a rational person, you'd seek out people that are smart. And you'd have many more religious people to choose from.

Kinda sucks how all your arguments aren't working out, right?

Blogger Doom January 14, 2014 5:53 PM  

When someone pulls out statistics or a study or such to prove what is observably false... I know they have already lost the argument. But, but, but... Yeah, no. It's about the same when they start correcting pronunciation, grammar, punctuation, or spelling. Often they don't even get that right. Sad. Have you ever noticed the whiny voice or 'tude they get when they pull these things out or start correcting?

Further, there are limits. Could Einstein have survived on his own? The last neo-Einstein didn't calculate his bungee cord correctly and died from it, as I recall. Further, Einstein, a pacifist at that, helped create the tool that will end human life if that happens through human will. Being just one thing is dangerous, as well, like being so strong you can break your own bones with feats of strength. Without humility, wisdom, faith, tradition, and some other things, intelligence is bound to be genocidal. Well, that proves out easily. As one more example, abortion, so that women can go to college and have a career? *grins* Smart, perhaps even *S-mart.

*-dead end smart-

Anonymous DNW January 14, 2014 6:12 PM  

The connection between atheism and a collectivist outlook has always seemed obscure to me in terms of pure inference.

Meaning, that the correlation that seems to exist in fact, doesn't seem to follow of implicative necessity from a principle of non-theism.

There seems to be something intrinsic within the atheist itself - or many of them anyway - which gravitates toward the security of an imposed and non-voluntary collective as a default. This attitude is nothing new. Recall Marx's 'atheism is humanism and humanism is socialism' axiom. But socialism, rather than being the clear conclusion of a chain of necessary and indubitable inferences, seems to be a psychological artifact or disposition of the type, rather than propagated as a logical inference.

Non-theism seems to lead just as well to allowing the socially or inter-personally obnoxious to die in 6 inches of dirty ditch water as not. The speculation that within an atheist interpretive context one should be consciously motivated by an indifferently applied altruistic principle to preserve the life of the overtly annoying or obnoxious - because, presumably, the annoying one may harbor some as yet unexpressed or discovered relative utility - is easily rebutted.

Such an assumption mistakenly operates on (as Charlton points out) an overgeneralized inference which transforms a sometimes unavoidable ignorance concerning the value of particular individuals in trouble, into a false posit of fungible human utility.

And, in any event, with technology being what it is, it (the potential associative desirability or utility of the needy organism) could probably be reduced before too long into a matter of provable cases anyway.

Pointing scanning analyzer ... "Nope this one has nothing to offer but its neurosis. Let it lie there in the mess it has created ... saving it will only cause more problems down the road."

It might be that some glabrous cheeked, squinting, bespectacled dweebs should in fact be self-sacrificially helped to survive based on non-controversial and non-theistic social operating principles indicating a potential return on investment ... but, in getting down to cases ...

Blogger Quadko January 14, 2014 6:15 PM  

A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.

Came across this computing quote today after following our discussions here. Had this happy picture of Dawkins in an MIT lab trying to get an AI to behave as he wanted. I'm with Vox that software is the fertile field for developing logic and awareness of the underlying structures of the world and the problem of intelligence.

Blogger wrf3 January 14, 2014 6:25 PM  

Quadko wrote: ad this happy picture of Dawkins in an MIT lab trying to get an AI to behave as he wanted.

That's just it. A human-level AI will never behave the way the creator wants. The first machine to pass the Turing Test will have to include among it's answers: "why have you made me like this?"

Anonymous tiredofitall January 14, 2014 6:40 PM  

"I can't imagine being an atheist because it's depressing to think that there is no point to life, nothing bigger than this world.

Why would you want to live like that?" - FUBAR Nation Ben

"Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around." - Penn Jillette

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 6:50 PM  

Likewise, if you wanted to build a team of people likely to be smarter than average, you'd seek out atheists.

No, you wouldn't. Because simply using "atheist" as an identifier, you're only getting a very small statistical advantage. You'd do better to select "Jew" or better yet, "Episcopalian".

Anonymous Van January 14, 2014 6:53 PM  

"Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around..." unless, of course, I decide that I don't care about other people or what they think of me. In that case, I'm free to be a big of a jerk, or even a thief or adulterer if I chose, because there are no consequences. And that's still good... for me. Whatever makes me happy.

Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 7:50 PM  

The process of forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts or premises. So, intelligence is a factor in reasoning. It's an important factor. But it's not the only one. That's the point that I suspect you are missing.

That I am missing? Dude, you are the one who said they have nothing to do with each other, and I am the one saying from the very beginning that they are probably related.

Ok, so I can agree with that definition. Now, do you know of any test in psychology (or any standarized test that could possible be done) that could measure the ability to "forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts or premises"? If there is, it would be interesting to see if a) atheist do perform worse than theist and b) is correlated with IQ. (Remember, Jcclimber and you said originally that those things had NOTHING to do with IQ, so they shouldn't be even correlated if what you said is right)

Category 1 is considered atheist. "I don't believe in God". Do you disagree? No. But did all the people who don't give a second thought to the matter answered 1? I assume that by "people who don't think about the supernatural" in contrast to "self-described atheist" you mean those 56%, did I understood it right?

Still, it doesn't affect my earlier point. I wasn't disagreeing with you, but merely pointed out that, according to some definitions, those people would be considered agnostics. The fact that their answer on this specific formulary would be identical to the atheist response doesn't invalidate that.

The completion of the maturation process of the frontal lobes OBVIOUSLY (caps mine) has nothing to do with intelligence. Unless my frontal lobes developed much more rapidly than most, or unless I have a truly spectacularly high IQ, it should be obvious that the full development of one's frontal lobes is not necessary for high intelligence

It may be my crippling lack of a superintelligence like yours, but I fail to see how that assertion is true, much less obvious. What you said is a giant non-sequitur. That you did well on an IQ test despite your not completely developed frontal lobes does not mean that the development of frontal lobes is completely irrelevant to ones IQ score. Specially since those test are standarized by age as I said.

Lets assume your level of frontal lobes development at 17 was average for the shake of the argument. Now, what do you think it would have happened if your frontal lobe had been really underdeveloped at the time, like lets say, the one of a 12 year old? Do you really think you would have gotten in Mensa?

I already showed specifically and with references to scientific studies how the frontal lobe is strongly correlated to the kind of tasks that you need to solve in an IQ test. If I now went and searched a study correlating intelligence and the level of forntal lobe development, you would probably move the goalpost once again and say "oh, well, what I ment is that IQ is not related to xxxxx ", so whatever. Feel free to keep saying these two things have nothing to do with each other despite clear evidence of the opposite.

Mudz. And he didn't say you said that. Uh... he didn't stated it explicitly but it was more than heavily implied (you must be between 110 and 130 because both the people above and below know there is a difference between those two words). Let me guess, you also took part on the same MCAT test JcClimber did? Because that would start explaining how he got to the top 1%



Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 7:51 PM  

Nice Gara, since I scored in the top 1% on Verbal Reasoning (essentially reading comprehension) on the MCAT exam, I'm going to think about your assertion......nah

Even if that was true (which I don't believe for a second, but whatever) it would only mean that you deliberately decided to respond to an argument I never made, which would make you just dishonest instead of unable to read.

Most people have pretty basic reasoning patterns. Does what I just heard/read fit in with what I already have experienced/believe? If yes, then I accept it as true.

If no, does what I just read make me feel bad? If yes, then immediately look for a way to discredit it somehow, the entire reasoning process driven by emotions because of the feelbad


Yes, There are a lot of systematic biases built into our brains that operate without us even being aware of them, causing us to make reasoning errors all the time. That still doesn't support your assertion that intelligence and reasoning patterns have nothing to do with each other. For that you would have to provide a study specifically showing that there is no correlation at all between IQ and the tendency of a person to commit such errors. (And I would like to see the source for the experiment you mention)
Allow me to reming you that I was refering to the study Vox used to support his point (which you would know if you had clicked the original links on the OP). So if there is anything that cast doubt on the validity of such study you should tell that to him. And BTW I agree with you 100%. Part of the reason why atheist have a higher average IQ than theist is because lower IQ blacks and latinos are usually theist. No disagreement here, It would be interesting to see a study that compared IQ of theist vs atheist but only for whites (for example) to see just how much of that difference is due to racial differences.

wrf3: Rather, it's about how brains process evidence. A person who is color blind can't see particular colors -- no matter how much evidence is presented. On the other hand, a person who is hallucinating may not be able to convince someone who isn't.

There is a huge difference wrf3, and is that, baring extreme cases such as color blindless, two persons looking at the same thing will ordinarily agree on its color. Different people can easily reach a consensus on whether a new object is red or blue. This is to be expected since the object in question is an external thing independent of them. But with religious experience you have exactly the opossite situation. There are many different people across the globe – all of whom insist that their religion is the "true one" – will nevertheless disagree dramatically on the nature of God and what he wants from us. Some believe that God is loving and just, others that he is wrathful and merciless, others believe that he is impersonal, others believe that there is only one God, other that there are many, etc etc. In that regard religion is indeed more similar to that hallucination you mention.

Anonymous Gara January 14, 2014 7:55 PM  

Uh, that sixth paragraph in the previous was inresponse to Van. Blogspot forced me to separatemy post because the original was too big and it screwed up the formating a little bit

Anonymous a. tad. obvious January 14, 2014 8:13 PM  

To "Truth/The Right" ...do you consider your trolling to be thoughtful accountable behaviour?

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 8:23 PM  

That I am missing? Dude, you are the one who said they have nothing to do with each other, and I am the one saying from the very beginning that they are probably related.

Don't be obtuse, Gara. The circulation of the bloodstream and the digestive system is also related to intelligence if you want to stretch it far enough. The point is that the difference between the development of the frontal lobes in the adolescent and in the adult has nothing to do with that individual's measured intelligence.

But did all the people who don't give a second thought to the matter answered 1? I assume that by "people who don't think about the supernatural" in contrast to "self-described atheist" you mean those 56%, did I understood it right?

I'm not sure I understand your question here. The point is that there are a lot of the lowest IQ people in Category 1. I suspect that they don't call themselves atheists and that they don't think about it a lot, for the obvious reason that their IQs are too low to be giving much thought to abstract issues. And we know statistically that many of them don't call themselves atheists even though, when asked, they clearly state their disbelief in God's existence.

I wasn't disagreeing with you, but merely pointed out that, according to some definitions, those people would be considered agnostics.

Yes, but under normal definitions, they would be considered atheists. Hell, Sam Harris defines an atheist about 12 different ways in one book. Category 2 is agnostic.

It may be my crippling lack of a superintelligence like yours, but I fail to see how that assertion is true, much less obvious. What you said is a giant non-sequitur. That you did well on an IQ test despite your not completely developed frontal lobes does not mean that the development of frontal lobes is completely irrelevant to ones IQ score.

Lets say I tested at 125 at 17 with not fully developed frontal lobes. If you're correct, and one doesn't reach one's maximum intelligence quotient, then my IQ would be even higher as an adult. But I know older people with 140 IQs and I'm just not as smart as they are. I observe that as an adult I haven't caught up to them in terms of mental acuity. I might reason better, but I'm not grasping complicated maths any faster and so forth.

Also, as it happens, I actually did take some IQ tests competitively with two friends in my late 20s because one of them was in that field. Exactly the same score as when I was 17, as was the case with my best friend too.

Anonymous VD January 14, 2014 8:29 PM  

Lets assume your level of frontal lobes development at 17 was average for the shake of the argument. Now, what do you think it would have happened if your frontal lobe had been really underdeveloped at the time, like lets say, the one of a 12 year old? Do you really think you would have gotten in Mensa?

I'm probably the wrong one to ask this question, Gara. I would have gotten into Mensa at 12. In fact, I would have gotten into it at 8. But I take your point and I don't disagree. Obviously, at some point, the development of the frontal lobe is connected to the measured intelligence. An newborn child does not have a high IQ, merely the potential for it.

So, there is some middle ground if you want to look at it that way. But my hypothesis remains what it has been from the start, which is that the adult atheist brain will show immature frontal lobe development similar to the normal adolescent. And hypothesis is is not in the least bit contradicted by the observed fact of higher average atheist intelligence.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. It's a hypothesis. It has to be tested before anyone puts any store in it.

Anonymous George of the Hole January 14, 2014 8:57 PM  

Atheism correlates with left hemisphere chemical dominance.

Blogger wrf3 January 14, 2014 9:10 PM  

Gara wrote: There is a huge difference wrf3, and is that, baring extreme cases such as color blindless, two persons looking at the same thing will ordinarily agree on its color.

It depends on the form of color blindness. At one extreme (total blindness), one person won't agree on the color. One of them can't see it. Atheists say "there is no color"; agnostics say, "I can't know if there is a color" (which is "practical blindness", which is why agnostics typically don't go to church); theists say, "there is a color, even if we don't all agree on the details."

But with religious experience you have exactly the opossite situation. There are many different people across the globe – all of whom insist that their religion is the "true one" – will nevertheless disagree dramatically on the nature of God and what he wants from us.

But they all agree there there is something to be seen. They all agree that there is a God. The Bible says, "we see through a glass darkly", so it isn't surprising that we may disagree on some of the details.

Some believe that God is loving and just, others that he is wrathful and merciless, others believe that he is impersonal, others believe that there is only one God, other that there are many, etc etc. In that regard religion is indeed more similar to that hallucination you mention.

Good grief, put two physicists in a room and watch the sparks fly when one of them subscribes to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics and the other the Many Worlds view. Lubos Motl, for example, is always highly entertaining on this subject. They agree that there is an external reality that is independent of the observers, but they don't agree on the details of what that external reality really is. Furthermore, that there is an external reality independent of the observer is actually an article of faith, since the eminent philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell, wrote: In one sense it must be admitted that we can never prove the existence of things other than ourselves and our experiences. No logical absurdity results from the hypothesis that the world consists of myself and my thoughts and feelings and sensations, and that everything else is mere fancy.

The scientists live by faith and yet disagree on the details of what they observe. Yet you (likely) embrace one and completely deny the other.

So, as I wrote here, you haven't proved that your brain is capable of correctly processing the evidence provided by the external world as to the existence of God. And, as studies are increasingly showing, atheism is the result of brain mis-wiring.

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 9:21 PM  

IQ staying the same with age doesn't tell you anything about what happened to your intelligence, since the number always compares you to your own age group. We would have to see the number of correct answers plotted against age to know how it behaves. However, this graph probably exists out there, since it's just one graph for everyone - then you simply compare the number of your own correct answers to the average number at that particular age.

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 9:30 PM  

And here they are. So, the raw intelligence gets very close to the peak at about 16, peaks at 18, and starts a decline after 25.

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 9:33 PM  

So, the kind of frontal lobe development that has an effect on the things that IQ measures almost completely stops at 16. Any development after that has to affect other things.

Blogger Markku January 14, 2014 9:38 PM  

And hence, if the hypothesis is correct, it would be exactly right to call atheists adolescent. Since that is the stage of development they would have reached, as evidenced by their IQ.

If the frontal lobe of the average atheist in his thirties is more similar to an adolescent person of similar IQ than a theist in his thirties of similar IQ, then the hypothesis is proven correct.

Anonymous CLK January 14, 2014 10:27 PM  

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.

VD ...I enjoy 99% of what you write here...

"There is nothing misleading about it. There are three statistical facts here:"

#1 Atheists have a higher average IQ than theists. FULL STOP

True... (but we need to see that data to know the shape of the distribution)

#2 There are 10x more high-IQ theists than high-IQ atheists. FULL STOP

Lets say the distribution shape is the same for both groups and just the mean (averages) are different (which is a reasonable assumption in my book). If there are 10x as many theists in the world as atheists then of course there would be 10x as many smart theists.. but you can't use #2 as an argument against #1 -- they two different things --- #1 is a indication of intelligence, #2 is an indication of reproduction - one is statistical, the other is deterministic. and I think the number is closer to 2% of the population of those that identify as atheists so it would be 50x as many.

Most atheists have an IQ below 100. FULL STOP.

How can you say that #1 is true and then say #3 --- assume different averages but similar distributions and that would say that there would be 10x more theists with IQs less than 100.

Now the unknown here is what is the data that you got #1 from ---and what does the distributions look like. The only way you statement #3 could possibly correct is if the two distributions are shaped differently and the atheist one is much wider and shewed severely to a low IQ .. which would seem very very unlikely... Its likely that variance of the distribution of intellegence of theists will match the general population variance and that the distribution of the atheists will be in fact a subset of the theists-

I suspect that the averages are not different between the two populations (theist vs atheist) -- I would not disagree with a smaller variation in IQ for the theists if for no other reason that the samples/population is less.

Ah, wait, I forget. There is one more.

If you can't figure out how those three facts are non-contradictory, you do not belong to my target audience. FULL STOP. It's only potentially misleading to those who are not part of the conversation."

I do apologize for getting in the middle of the private conversation ... and for being right.. I will try to be less right in the future. :)

Anonymous tiredofitall January 14, 2014 10:56 PM  

"unless, of course, I decide that I don't care about other people or what they think of me. In that case, I'm free to be a big of a jerk, or even a thief or adulterer if I chose, because there are no consequences. And that's still good... for me. Whatever makes me happy." - Van

And your point being that the religious can't or don't follow that same trail of thought as well? If I were religious and knew I could ask forgiveness for sinning from God and it'd be wiped away, what's to stop me from being an utter shit? The same thing that's stopping atheists and agnostics (of which I'm one) that it's wrong to do acts of evil and I know it.

Anonymous chi rho January 14, 2014 11:15 PM  

>>>If I were religious and knew I could ask forgiveness for sinning from God and it'd be wiped away, what's to stop me from being an utter shit?<<

because as a believer, you'd understand being a "shit" is not free.

someone else paid for your sin. a terrible price in fact..

meanwhile notice how easily you lie, right here. you claim to have done no evil in your life, ever?

is it social autism caused by biology... or just an unrepentant mind... to create such a log in ones eye yet brag otherwise?

Anonymous wEz January 15, 2014 12:12 AM  

I think the theist/atheist belief/non-belief numbers are fundamentally flawed. MANY so called theists know nothing of scripture and make God in their own image. I wonder how many criminals say they believe in God, yet they dont fear nor know him.
It takes a bit of contemplation to say ones an atheist, but I think there are probably many moronic people that would say 'theist' on a questionare who are essentially atheists in application that dont know , thought about, or understand the term; They're simply regurgitating all they've heard.
The whole we're smarter, no we're smarter bit is garbage. Most people are emotional, stupid, and irrational. So these stats, if done properly, wouldnt mean jack sh*t. But enjoy your worthless stats gara...next time flesh out the data more with some common sense, tool.

Anonymous tiredofitall January 15, 2014 1:00 AM  

"meanwhile notice how easily you lie, right here. you claim to have done no evil in your life, ever?

is it social autism caused by biology... or just an unrepentant mind... to create such a log in ones eye yet brag otherwise?" - chi rho

Yes, I've never done anything "evil" in my life, you shining beacon of brilliance. I can proudly say I've never done any of the big ten, if that makes it better for you.

And I'm neither socially autistic*, nor unrepentant (since I'm irreligious). I just wondered on a public forum how judging atheists and agnostics for not following rules of a religion they neither follow or believe in is any different than judging those who do follow religion, yet have the same capacity for breaking their own rules.


*Blow me, you armchair psychologist.

Anonymous Mudz January 15, 2014 1:49 AM  

Uh... he didn't stated it explicitly but it was more than heavily implied

Hahaha, that's the point, genius. You decided to get wanky by challenging him to find you 'saying exactly that', but he didn't 'say exactly that', either. There's just a heavy implication, and he obviously also drew a heavy implication from what you were saying.

In other words, it was pedantic and a waste of time. Now you can see how retarded it was. I hope you've learned something from this experience.

How can you say that #1 is true and then say #3 --- assume different averages but similar distributions and that would say that there would be 10x more theists with IQs less than 100.

Yes, and?

I don't think you guys really understand the point being made. Then again, I'm not sure if I can really articulate it either.

Like I was saying before, would something really change if say, all the sub-average Christians suddenly disappeared? Is that relevant to the fact that a huge number of very intelligent people believe in Christianity, as well as a huge number of people with less-than-average-intelligence?

Christianity is offered to people without a criteria of relative intelligence, whereas atheism is peddled on the basis of intellectual advancement. A whole bunch of relatively less than average Christians is how it should be, statistically. Whereas if atheists wish to claim that intelligence is the causative factor in regards to atheism (and assuming that IQ is a good indicator), then there should not be any high-iq Christians. Obviously false (and also, you'd have to wonder why so many dumb atheists). Statistics isn't relevant to this. In real numbers of real people, we observe millions of failures of the iq theory of atheism.

Statistics is abstract. The 'average iq' doesn't actually belong to a real person (except for the people with average iq). Each real person is real life evidence for or against.

That's the point. Every high-iq Christian, is a falsification of the proposed atheist formula, and there's heaps of them.

Anonymous Mudz January 15, 2014 2:24 AM  

If I were religious and knew I could ask forgiveness for sinning from God and it'd be wiped away, what's to stop me from being an utter shit?

You have to repent, not just 'ask for forgiveness'. If you were Christian, the things to stop you from being an utter shit, is the commandment of God, religious doctrine and moral instruction, obligating you not to be a shit. I don't see how that works for atheists and agnostics.

And your point being that the religious can't or don't follow that same trail of thought as well?

No, not really. We tend to think in terms of 'is this right? Would God or Jesus approve or disapprove?' Bit 'whatever makes me happy'. Happiness is a subsidiary. For us, there are eternal consequences from evil actions.

I just wondered on a public forum how judging atheists and agnostics for not following rules of a religion they neither follow or believe in is any different than judging those who do follow religion, yet have the same capacity for breaking their own rules.

Uh, then I'll wonder on a public forum what your point is. Hope that resolves things for you.

If by rules of a religion you mean those rules that instruct moral behaviour, then yes, immorality is going to be judged to be immoral. But non-believers are given appropriate allowance for genuine ignorance. Which is why Christians expend a lot of effort to explicate the morality through logical arguments rather than simply pointing to scriptures and expecting non-believers to adhere to it. The scriptures are used to show why Christians are already obligated.

'"Capacity" for breaking their own rules'. Really? That's pretty dumb criteria innit it? Everyone has the 'capacity' to break rules, that's why the rules are there in the first place, because people 'have the capacity' to do those things.

Anonymous Mudz January 15, 2014 2:26 AM  

Line 10: Bit

*Not

Anonymous Mudz January 15, 2014 3:47 AM  

I thought this was interesting, as it's related to the discussion, though I'm sure a whole bunch of you already knew this:

http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

51% of scientists identify as theists. Only 17% actually identify as athiest. (Agnostics could probably claim 35% though.)

I guess science doesn't actually make everyone into atheists.

But still, I happily concede that it's an impressive magnification of <2% of the general population. But essentially the same situation applies here. The theory doesn't match the result, the causative factors is necessarily not 'science turning people into atheists'. Some other factor or factors are at work to explain the proportion. (It could well be that athiests like science more, for example.)

E.g.

http://blogs.christianpost.com/confident-christian/are-the-majority-of-scientists-atheists-16695/

"While Ecklund notes that some scientists do not believe because of their scientific studies, she sums up her overall findings this way: "In fact, for the majority of scientists I interviewed, it is not the engagement with science itself that leads them away from religion. Rather their reasons for unbelief mirror the circumstances in which other Americans find themselves: they were not raised in a religious home; they have had bad experience with religion; they disapprove of God or see God as too changeable."

Ecklund’s conclusions show that when atheists posit that the majority of scientists become unbelievers because of their science, they commit the logical fallacy of post hoc propter hoc, which is Latin for "after this, therefore because of this". According to Ecklund, most scientists do not, in fact, reject God because of some scientific awakening. Rather, they are unbelievers for reasons that are common to other atheists who are not scientists."

Blogger Markku January 15, 2014 4:01 AM  

Yeah, an environment that is hostile to religion probably just selects against those whose theism is merely a color they have assumed from their surroundings like chameleons. Those who had either become theists because they had actually thought the matter through, or had become convinced due to personal experiences with the supernatural, remain that way.

Anonymous VD January 15, 2014 4:12 AM  

The same thing that's stopping atheists and agnostics (of which I'm one) that it's wrong to do acts of evil and I know it.

Laughs. So you believe in evil, do you? Then you are already a theist, you just don't realize it yet.

Anonymous VD January 15, 2014 4:17 AM  

How can you say that #1 is true and then say #3 --- assume different averages but similar distributions and that would say that there would be 10x more theists with IQs less than 100.

Because the distributions are not similar.

Now the unknown here is what is the data that you got #1 from ---and what does the distributions look like. The only way you statement #3 could possibly correct is if the two distributions are shaped differently and the atheist one is much wider and shewed severely to a low IQ .. which would seem very very unlikely... Its likely that variance of the distribution of intellegence of theists will match the general population variance and that the distribution of the atheists will be in fact a subset of the theists-

You're wrong. The atheist distribution is shaped a bit like a U, higher on the left end. The theist distribution is shaped like a bell-curve.

I do apologize for getting in the middle of the private conversation ... and for being right.. I will try to be less right in the future. :)

You're not right, you're completely wrong. And you're stupid as well, since you jumped in with a false assumption because you couldn't bother to click on the links, look at the data, and see that the distributions are very different yourself.

Anonymous tiredofitall January 15, 2014 4:29 AM  

"So you believe in evil, do you? Then you are already a theist, you just don't realize it yet." - VD

Nope, strong agnostic. But it doesn't take any kind of belief in God to know evil exists in this world. It just takes someone willing to open their eyes and see humanity for what it is, namely yet another race of animals. Highly developed animals who should know better and who can often fail, but animals nonetheless.

Anonymous Mudz January 15, 2014 4:33 AM  

Me: Like I was saying before, would something really change if say, all the sub-average Christians suddenly disappeared? Is that relevant to the fact that a huge number of very intelligent people believe in Christianity, as well as a huge number of people with less-than-average-intelligence?

Look, I guess the best way to put this is that in the U.S, most intelligent people believe in Christianity, many more than are atheists.

Statisically speaking, atheism is unpersuasive to the majority of intelligent people all over the world.

Belief and non-belief aren't (in theory) racial traits, they're not genetically transmitted, they don't depend on inheritance, or population growth. So if intelligence causes atheism, is even strongly correlated with it, it should happen basically overnight, but instead Christians own the majority of the intelligence pool, atheists are an insignificant minority of the iq-pool. Which means that Christianity is very strongly correlated to the majority of intelligent people (in the U.S. And religion, globally.).

It's amazing what cause-free selectivity can accomplish when you put your mind to it. 'Averages' are useful only when tied to sufficiently explanatory causes. Otherwise, it's just an appeal to two non-existent animals.

That's really probably the best explanation I can make. Perspective, and what you base your evaluation on, makes a hell of a difference when you allow subjectivity and abstractions to dominate discourse.

In the end though, it doesn't really matter does it? It's all just so much posturing. What matters is what you believe, and why.

VD: You're not right, you're completely wrong. And you're stupid as well, since you jumped in with a false assumption because you couldn't bother to click on the links, look at the data, and see that the distributions are very different yourself.

I'll have to take this on the chin a bit as well. I mean, I did actually see the distribution, but I figured it was irrelevant anyway.

Anonymous yukonyon January 15, 2014 7:20 AM  

Why does a suffering human existence tend to bring one closer to God?

Anonymous VD January 15, 2014 7:50 AM  

I did actually see the distribution, but I figured it was irrelevant anyway.

Atheists are akin to Democrats. They tend to be disproportionately stacked at the high and low ends. That didn't surprise me in the slightest, after all, I coined the High Church/Low Church phenomenon. But I was very surprised to see that the atheist percentage was actually higher on the low end.

Blogger ScuzzaMan January 15, 2014 8:01 AM  

For those who have wondered about nature vs nurture vis a vis the neurology of faith, Tim Jenning's God Shaped Brain might be worth a look.

http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=3416

Anonymous chi rho January 15, 2014 10:33 AM  

" I can proudly say I've never done any of the big ten, if that makes it better for you."

bullshit. and your social autism has already been demonstrated here in this very thread, as has your dishonesty.

Anonymous chi rho January 15, 2014 10:35 AM  

"But it doesn't take any kind of belief in God to know evil exists in this world"

how can animals "know" anything? or is it every other human is an "animal" except yourself? (and if so, maybe you better double-check your claim of not being socially autistic)

Anonymous DNW January 15, 2014 11:04 AM  



yukonyon January 15, 2014 7:20 AM

Why does a suffering human existence tend to bring one closer to God?"

It may not. But it certainly proves to the self-worshiper that his god isn't much of a god.

Blogger Markku January 15, 2014 12:23 PM  

I can proudly say I've never done any of the big ten, if that makes it better for you.

You've kept the Sabbath holy? Every time? Or are you talking about some other big ten?

Anonymous Gara January 15, 2014 12:48 PM  

The circulation of the bloodstream and the digestive system is also related to intelligence if you want to stretch it far enough. The point is that the difference between the development of the frontal lobes in the adolescent and in the adult has nothing to do with that individual's measured intelligence

Is not that far of a stretch given the neurological evidence I pointed to earlier. The thing is that the specific IQ value is standardized for age. So if a test would give a value for your relative intelligence A, they divide this value by a number that would quantify your level of frontal lobes maturity B in order to get a number C that will remain more of less constant with age. This is simply done to get something that can be easily used for comparison purposes, but for sure it does not mean that the development of frontal lobes is irrelevant to the IQ. I think you are confusing standardizing a value in respect to another one with those values having “nothing to do” with each other.

I'm probably the wrong one to ask this question, Gara. I would have gotten into Mensa at 12. In fact, I would have gotten into it at 8

I don’t think I made myself clear. The question was not if you would have gotten into Mensa having taken the test at age 12. The question was if you would have gotten into Mensa taking the test at age 17 with the frontal lobe maturity you had when you were 12.

Let me see if I can explain myself. Given the scientific evidence I showed (that the frontal lobes are the responsible for the kind of task you would solve in an IQ test) I would venture saying that not only the development of frontal lobes is related to IQ, but has a direct relationship with it as determined by the actual degree of development compared to the average degree of development for a person of the subject’s age. I think if there was a way to quantify frontal lobe development the correlation with IQ would be very strong:

A 17 year old has a degree of frontal lobe development very close to the one of the average 17 year old- His IQ would probably be average.

A 17 year old has a degree of frontal lobe development very close to the one of the average 21 year old- His IQ would probably be way higher than average

A 17 year old has a degree of frontal lobe development very close to the one of the average 13 year old- He would probably be mental retarded.

Also, as it happens, I actually did take some IQ tests competitively with two friends in my late 20s because one of them was in that field. Exactly the same score as when I was 17, as was the case with my best friend too.

I would almost assure you that you did much better in your second test than in you first test, from raw points obtained. The catch is that they obviously take your age into account when calculating the IQ figure, so it gives almost exactly the same figure because the formula has been designed to give a constant value over a person’s life. Now, if your best friend was an atheist, he should have gotten a lower value (according to your baseless, unscientific hypothesis, off course) because he had a level of development that is basically the same that he had when he was a teenager.

So your hypothesis predicts that for atheist, the IQ will drop slightly over time. But there is no evidence that this is the case. Atheists regardless of age have higher average IQ than theists. The only way for your hypothesis to accommodate this fact would be for there to be a specific point above which the frontal lobe development contributes to other things but has no contribution at all to the kind of tasks that are included in an IQ test. Notice that this seems to be exactly the route Makku is taking. While I dont think the complete evidence is on his side (and I will take a look at that long study and respond to it when I have time) at least he does understands the implications of the IQ being standardized for age.


Blogger Markku January 15, 2014 12:58 PM  

A 17 year old has a degree of frontal lobe development very close to the one of the average 21 year old- His IQ would probably be way higher than average

Absolutely false. Look at pages 18 and 19 of This pdf. You are extremely close to your maximum raw intelligence at 16 years. Hence, the kind of frontal lobe development that can be detected with an IQ test stops at 16.

Anonymous chi rho January 15, 2014 1:01 PM  

CLAIM: "The same thing that's stopping atheists and agnostics (of which I'm one) that it's wrong to do acts of evil and I know it"

vs.

CLAIM: How religion cuts crime: Church-goers are less likely to shoplift, take drugs and download music illegally
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2539100/How-religion-cuts-crime-Attending-church-makes-likely-shoplift-drugs-download-music-illegally.html

Blogger Markku January 15, 2014 1:01 PM  

In other words, between 16 and 25, you'll probably get the same number of answers right in any IQ test you take.

Blogger Markku January 15, 2014 1:06 PM  

Still, much has been made of the recent findings that frontal lobe development continues until about 25, and there have been people in Great Britain who have argued that the legal definition of adolescence should be extended to 25 years. But still, IQ test can only measure any kind of development only up to about 16 years.

So, you can be mentally adolescent without this showing in an IQ test. This doesn't, of course, prove the hypothesis, but neither do the IQ test results defeat it.

Anonymous Gara January 15, 2014 1:11 PM  

Like I said, I will read it completely when I have more time. But I'm pretty sure I have seen studies than show the opposite result so is not like that study is the final word on the subject of wether intelligence can increase with times. That is an aspect that is still discussed in academic literature.

Good grief, put two physicists in a room and watch the sparks fly when one of them subscribes to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics and the other the Many Worlds view. Lubos Motl, for example, is always highly entertaining on this subject. The scientists live by faith and yet disagree on the details of what they observe.

wfr3, I'm sorrybut you are completely and utterly confused on how science works. Scientist don't disagree on the observation, but rather on which modell is the one that explains the observation the best. If they disagreed on the observation itself, all science would be impossible. Imagine two chemist doing an experiment together and trying to agree on a thermodynamic modell when one of them reads 100 on the thermometer and the other reads 140.

Blogger Markku January 15, 2014 1:24 PM  

But I'm pretty sure I have seen studies than show the opposite result so is not like that study is the final word on the subject of wether intelligence can increase with times.

Note how the study is from 2000, but the chart is from 1979. It is my understanding that it IS the actual chart that is used to convert the raw intelligence number to the IQ number. If it were wrong, then it could immediately be detected by the fact that people's IQ seems to change relative to age.

Blogger wrf3 January 15, 2014 1:38 PM  

Gara wrote: wfr3, I'm sorrybut you are completely and utterly confused on how science works.

I don't think so, since I happen to have an engineering degree. And I have a son who is a post doc in materials science, and he doesn't have any problem with my understanding of science.

Scientist don't disagree on the observation, but rather on which modell is the one that explains the observation the best.

Markku, Vox, I (and others) don't disagree on our observation of God, either. All of the evidence shows that Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days after His crucifixion. Yet Vox disagrees with Markku and I on certain models of Christianity.

If they disagreed on the observation itself, all science would be impossible. Imagine two chemist doing an experiment together and trying to agree on a thermodynamic modell when one of them reads 100 on the thermometer and the other reads 140.

There was a post about that very thing in a recent thread, but I'm too busy at the moment to go find it.

In any case, you still haven't addressed the main issue: whether or not you are actually capable of observing God. As it now stands, science is leading to the conclusion that atheism isn't the result of reason; but the inability of the atheist brain to correctly process evidence. You're god-blind, just like some people are color-blind.


Anonymous Gara January 15, 2014 2:09 PM  

I happen to have a degree in Chemical Engineering as well so appealing to your degree is going to do very little to impress me when you are going to keep saying things like the one you said earlier.

All of the evidence shows that Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days after His crucifixion. Yet Vox disagrees with Markku and I on certain models of Christianity.

I fail to see how this contradicts my point in any way. Actually, is exactly what I said. You may disagree on the interpretation of the evidence but you there is a bare minimum you have to agree on. None of you is saying "here, the text clearly said Jesus rose from the dead after a week". Saying that would be ridiculous. Just as if everyone reads 100 on a thermometer and then a guy comes in sayinghe reads 200, everyone is going to look at him like a lunatic.

As it now stands, science is leading to the conclusion that atheism isn't the result of reason; but the inability of the atheist brain to correctly process evidence

Which studies exactly? I can't wait to see them. Because the original study Vox mentioned simply deals with depression, and the fact that theist can deal better with depression is not surprising in the slightest. If I honestly believed that after this world there will be another world where good people will be rewarded and all my problems in this material world won't matter (heatlh, money, etc) I would probably find it much easier to cope with life problems too.

Blogger wrf3 January 15, 2014 2:38 PM  

Gara wrote: I happen to have a degree in Chemical Engineering as well so appealing to your degree is going to do very little to impress me when you are going to keep saying things like the one you said earlier.

Sure. But it's your inability to correctly process evidence that is at issue here. I haven't said anything that's wrong, or that disagrees with the scientific method.

I fail to see ...

And there we have it.

how this contradicts my point in any way. Actually, is exactly what I said.
I wrote, "All of the evidence shows that Jesus Christ rose from the dead" and you don't see how that contradicts your point? One of us is mis-evaluating evidence. Evaluation of evidence is a function of brain wiring -- not of the evidence itself.

Which studies exactly? I can't wait to see them.
Obviously, you can wait, since you haven't looked at the citations I already provided. Too, you might want to read The Psychopath Inside, which I just finished last night. Really interesting story that bolsters my case. This man, a noted neuroscientist, had been repeatedly told over the years by his professional friends that he had psychopathic/bi-polar tendencies. He didn't believe them for years, until finally something inside his head clicked. It's the same way with atheists. Some of them will eventually "click". Others won't.

And, for the third time, now:

In any case, you still haven't addressed the main issue: whether or not you are actually capable of observing God. Until you address this, you're just wasting everyone's time.

Blogger JCclimber January 15, 2014 2:41 PM  

For those speculating that atheists are born with a lack of some brain function or other that made it impossible to believe in God.....I reject that argument utterly.

God is fair and just, and when He judges each person, Satan would be correct if he pointed out that God was unfair for penalizing someone for not believing in God, if that person was incapable of ever believing.

All have the capacity to believe, but if you reject the prompting of the Holy Spirit, over time that is going to have a physical and spiritual effect on you, especially in your brain.

I'd bet that examining a set of infants, and then tracking their beliefs at adolesence and adulthood, we'd see no correlation with brain structure in infancy with belief in God, but a definite correlation showing in late adolescence and adulthood.

Anonymous Gara January 15, 2014 3:16 PM  

I haven't said anything that's wrong, or that disagrees with the scientific method.

Right. What you have done is show that you have no idea what the words "observation" and "modell" mean. I said that two independent observers usually agree on the nature of an observation based on traditional sensory imput (thats it, whether something is black or white, etc). And your clever response was to say that to scientist would disagree on whether this or that modell is true. Obviously you can't distinguish between "observation" and "the most likely explanation for said observation". And you are an engineer? I really, really hope you that don't work in a nuclear plant anywhere near to where I live.


I wrote, "All of the evidence shows that Jesus Christ rose from the dead" and you don't see how that contradicts your point? One of us is mis-evaluating evidence.

Wrong again. If two people look at the same evidence and reach different conclusions it doesn't mean one of the is missevaluating evidence. You forgot the obvious third option, which is that the evidence is not 100% conclusive in either way, which is in practice often the case.

Obviously, you can wait, since you haven't looked at the citations I already provided.

I looked quickly at your link and the only thing that comes to close to a study that says people with Asperger's typically don't ascribe intention or purpose behind the events in their lives. Is that what supposed to prove your point?

And, for the third time, now:

In any case, you still haven't addressed the main issue: whether or not you are actually capable of observing God. Until you address this, you're just wasting everyone's time.


You would have to prove that there is a God before you can talk about my supposed lack of ability to observe it. In any case, is iteresting that even the foundations of your own theological beliefs contradict your theory, as JCclimber points out earlier. If there are persons that are physically incapable of believing in God, then these people are at no fault for not believing in him, so it would be extremely unfair for God to judge them for this.

Anonymous x January 15, 2014 3:30 PM  

"You would have to prove that there is a God before you can talk about my supposed lack of ability to observe it"

question begging?

Anonymous The Brain January 15, 2014 4:17 PM  

My frontal lobes are so big.

Anonymous tiredofitall January 15, 2014 4:47 PM  

"I can proudly say I've never done any of the big ten, if that makes it better for you."

"bullshit. and your social autism has already been demonstrated here in this very thread, as has your dishonesty." - chi rho

Well it's good you're psychic and know everything I've ever done. I guess since you know my entire life there's no point in me responding anymore, right?



"But it doesn't take any kind of belief in God to know evil exists in this world"

"how can animals "know" anything? or is it every other human is an "animal" except yourself? (and if so, maybe you better double-check your claim of not being socially autistic)" - chi rho

You ignorant twat. Humans are animals. I am human, therefore I'm an animal. As are you, and every other human.

Nice about calling me an autistic, keep on repeating the accusation and maybe someone other than you will believe it, like the RSHD thing and the rabbits over at McRapey's place.

Anonymous tiredofitall January 15, 2014 5:05 PM  

I can proudly say I've never done any of the big ten, if that makes it better for you.

"You've kept the Sabbath holy? Every time? Or are you talking about some other big ten?" - Markku

Well let's see:

1. I am the Lord, your God. (Never applied, agnostic since about age 9)
2. Thou shall bring no false idols before me. (Never applied, agnostic since about age 9, but still never broke it.)
3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain. (Guilty, but show me anyone born after the 1800's who hasn't.)
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. (Actually enjoyed not being able to do stuff on a Sunday even though I'm not a believer.)
5. Honor thy father and thy mother. (Took care of both of my parents up until their deaths. Listened to what they said growing up and NEVER talked back once.)
6. Thou shall not kill/murder. (Well since I'm not writing this from a prison...)
7. Thou shall not commit adultery. (Never have, never would.)
8.Thou shall not steal. (Too afraid of getting in trouble/yelled at by my folks for it to be anything other than a quick passing thought.)
9.Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (Not lying? Okay, guilty on this one.)
10. Thou shall not covet. (Guilty on this one too.)

So out of the big ten I've broken three and a half. (3, 9, 10) But none of the majors. Not so bad for an agnostic I'd say.

Anonymous chi rho January 15, 2014 7:51 PM  

6.5 = 10 says the talking animal.

if not social autism, mabe just math impairment?

agnostic since age 9... jusy like Vox predicted

Blogger wrf3 January 15, 2014 9:57 PM  

Gara wrote: I said that two independent observers usually agree on the nature of an observation based on traditional sensory imput (thats it, whether something is black or white, etc).

And I keep telling you that you're jumping the gun. You're assuming that the two independent observers a) can both experience the same phenomena and b) will agree on their experience. A color blind person will not experience the same phenomena that a normal person will. Two people can look at the same thing (e.g. spinning dancer and see two different things. One person will see the dancer spinning clockwise, another counterclockwise, a third might switch back and forth between the two directions). Studies show (as referenced on my web cite) that atheists typically think teologically, but immediately suppress it. Your claim is that this is due to "reason", but you haven't done your due diligence to show that this is anything other than the result of defective brain wiring.

If two people look at the same evidence and reach different conclusions it doesn't mean one of the is missevaluating evidence. You forgot the obvious third option, which is that the evidence is not 100% conclusive in either way, which is in practice often the case.

I forgot nothing. Coming to a conclusion that isn't warranted is just as much misevaluation of evidence as not reaching a conclusion that is warranted.

I looked quickly at your link and the only thing that comes to close to a study that says people with Asperger's typically don't ascribe intention or purpose behind the events in their lives. Is that what supposed to prove your point?

There's also the reference in the second footnote, but, yes. Some people cannot think teleologically, some can, but suppress it, while normals embrace it.

You would have to prove that there is a God before you can talk about my supposed lack of ability to observe it

And you moved the goalpost. How would you suggest that one prove to a blind person that there is such a thing as the color red? If your brain isn't wired to see God, you'll never see God. It isn't an issue of evidence. Which is the point you just can't seem to grasp.

Blogger wrf3 January 15, 2014 10:01 PM  

tiredofitall wrote: Not so bad for an agnostic I'd say.

Hardly. You don't get to decide if the laws do, or do not, apply to you. "I am the Lord your God" applies to the theist, the atheist, and the agnostic. That's like going before a judge for doing 25 in a 15 mph school zone and saying, "but the law doesn't apply to me! I'm not a motorist, I'm a cyclist!"

Anonymous tiredofitall January 15, 2014 11:02 PM  

"6.5 = 10 says the talking animal.

if not social autism, mabe just math impairment?

agnostic since age 9... jusy like Vox predicted" - chi rho

1.) Yeah, I'm imperfect. Sue me.
2.) Keep banging on that autism drum, eventually someone else will join in.
3.) Yep, except that Vox said ATHEISTS are likely to have set their worldview at a young age. I'm an agnostic you dumb fuck.

My worldview as an agnostic went from weak agnostic to strong agnostic where I am now. I was never set in stone, except for the fact I had serious doubts at an early age. Did you know at age 9 what you believed for sure?


"Hardly. You don't get to decide if the laws do, or do not, apply to you. "I am the Lord your God" applies to the theist, the atheist, and the agnostic. That's like going before a judge for doing 25 in a 15 mph school zone and saying, "but the law doesn't apply to me! I'm not a motorist, I'm a cyclist!" - wrf3

Except in this case it's more like the laws of another country in which I don't live and under which I don't legally have to follow. He's not my God. The only laws I actually have to follow are the laws of my state and my country.

Anonymous chi rho January 16, 2014 7:41 AM  

lets look at the facts...

1) you lied about "following the big 10" ... 6.5 is not 10.
2) when your lie was exposed, you dishonestly moved the goal posts "I'm not perfect"
3) you also chose to respond with twitchy screaming profanity...

all are classic hallmarks of aspies. so it could be you are on the autism spectrum, and thus lack the social programing to pull off rhetoric. another aspie hallmark is perceiving everyone else as no better than "animals" and acting socially based on this misconception.

the other possibility is you deliberately lied to us... which makes you a dishonest liar, and a probable sociopath.

so which is it?

Anonymous Gara January 16, 2014 8:44 AM  

You're assuming that the two independent observers a) can both experience the same phenomena and b) will agree on their experience. A color blind person will not experience the same phenomena that a normal person will. Two people can look at the same thing (e.g. spinning dancer and see two different things. One person will see the dancer spinning clockwise, another counterclockwise, a third might switch back and forth between the two directions).

If you actually bothered to read what I write you would notice that I responded to that objection from the very beginning:

baring extreme cases such as color blindless, two persons looking at the same thing will ordinarily agree on its color

Notice the emphasis on "extreme cases". Colorblind people are about 5% of the population. Thats a minority even lower than atheist. The spinning dancer that changes directions thing and other optical illusions are also extreme cases. Notice that this has been artificially made exactly to get this result. For optical illusions our senses will fool us, but for the other 99% of the cases they work just fine.

But I get your general point. Our senses are limited and can be unreliable. True. But we already know that our senses are unreliable, which is why we have things like verification, independent experimental controls, measuremet instruments, etc. These kind of things are common in science but inexistent in theology. Scientist will reach a consensus much faster and much easier than theologicians can. The vast majority of scientist will agree on something some time after the evidence has been presented. But right now is more than 2000 years after the supposed evidence for christianity has been presented, and 70% of the world still disagrees with christians, not to mention the fact that many, many christians strongly disagree with each other in theological matters (and not just on details but sometimes on very fundamental facts)

Coming to a conclusion that isn't warranted is just as much misevaluation of evidence as not reaching a conclusion that is warranted.

Or it could be just having a more/less rigourous standard for what is considered convincing evidence.

There's also the reference in the second footnote, but, yes. Some people cannot think teleologically, some can, but suppress it, while normals embrace it.

First of all, thats a pretty big leap you are taking. Ascribing intention or purpose behind the events in one's lives does not mean that there is a God responsible for such intentions. You are also assuming that people ascribe intention to their lives based on (correctly interpreted) evidence, but this doesn't need to be the case. And third, according to what you are speculating the vast majority (if not all) the people with asperger syndrome should be atheist. Is this the case? (I know the percentage is higher but I don't know exactly how much)

If your brain isn't wired to see God, you'll never see God. It isn't an issue of evidence. Which is the point you just can't seem to grasp.

Thats true. However, I notice that you completely ignored my comment on how this idea is contradicted by traditional christian beliefs, which JcClimber also confirmed. If God wants us to believe in him, it makes little sense from him to design humans with a brain that would make it impossible to do it in 10% of the cases.

Blogger Markku January 16, 2014 9:23 AM  

4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. (Actually enjoyed not being able to do stuff on a Sunday even though I'm not a believer.)

"Holy" means "separated to God".

Note that I'm not accusing you for this, just that you have to strike that one out if you don't believe in God. And since you are now at about 50% anyway, then I'd recommend that you rather tried to aim for 50% on the Dual Commandment of Love. After all, that is UNAMBIGUOUSLY Christian.

Ten Commandments aren't. Sabbath is by definition from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, and it tells you to keep the SABBATH holy. I'd rather say that nine of the Ten Commandments are implied for the Christian by the Dual Commandment, and a resting day, whatever day it happens to be, is just common sense and taking care of the temple of one's body.

Blogger wrf3 January 16, 2014 10:33 AM  

Gara wrote: Notice the emphasis on "extreme cases".

I understand that. Philosophy, like bridges, or software, fail at boundary conditions. Since I'm introducing what is likely a new concept to you (i.e. it isn't about the evidence, but about how the brain evaluates the evidence), I start there. And it appears to have worked. At least, at a boundary condition, you seem to have agreed with me.

Colorblind people are about 5% of the population.

Which, depending on the statistical source, is about the percentage of atheists in the US. So that just lends credence to the thesis that atheism is not the result of considered, reasoned evaluation of the evidence, but is the result of brain mis-wiring.

These kind of things are common in science but inexistent in theology.
That's not true, but it's a much broader topic than I can cover here. However, I'll provide a flavor of it with your next comment.

many christians strongly disagree with each other in theological matters (and not just on details but sometimes on very fundamental facts)

All Christians agree that God exists and that Jesus rose from the dead. That's the major dividing point between atheists and Christians. Everything else is just interfamily squabble.

Thats true.

See? I do know what I'm talking about.

However, I notice that you completely ignored my comment on how this idea is contradicted by traditional christian beliefs, which JcClimber also confirmed.

Now you've stepped outside any pretense to expertise in theological matters, as Christianity has always had these types of debates, now referred to as Arminianism (JCClimber) vs. Calvinism (me). You're more than welcome to look at the Team Calvin, et. al. posts.

The astute reader will say, "wait, if atheism is the result of one facet of brain mis-wiring, doesn't that apply to everyone? Could some theist brains mis-evaluate evidence, too?" Sure. One of the more interesting issues that humans face is whether or not we have "free will". People like JCClimber think that we do. People like me (as well as the Apostle Paul) think that we don't. If you look at the Wikipedia article on Superdeterminism in Quantum Mechanics, you'll see that physicists reject it, not because of science, but because they believe that free will exists.

It doesn't. But that's a completely different topic.

If God wants us to believe in him, it makes little sense from him to design humans with a brain that would make it impossible to do it in 10% of the cases.

And you know this, how? Show me the reasoned, scientific, non-faith based case for this.

Anonymous Gara January 16, 2014 1:57 PM  

Which, depending on the statistical source, is about the percentage of atheists in the US.

This number certainly goes up when you also count the people who"don't know" if God exist, which should also have that brain misswirement according to your "God-perceiving sense" theory. And why would you limit it to the US? Why not count countries like Sweden, Denmark or Japan which have a percentage of atheist + agnostics of over 50%?. And in mosst of the cases where ateism arises organically (meaning not being imposed by the government), you get much lower criminality and better life quality than the christian US, which is in principle irrelevant but still a fun fact to remember.

Now that I mentioned, I realized something that completely challenges your theory that atheism has mostly a biological basis. Namely, it does not explain the assymetrical geographical distribution of atheist and the fact that it clearly changes over time. Tell me Is this brain misswirement genetic based?

If it is, then the percentage of atheist in a population should remain more of less constant in tiime provided such population remains more of less racially homogen.It would not explain, for example, why some countries in Europe went from a mostly catholic to mostly irreligious population within less than a century.

If it is not, then the atheist population should be more of less similar across the world. Unless you suggest that being born in an europe makes you somehow far more likely to get this brain miswirement than being born, for example, in south america.

All Christians agree that God exists and that Jesus rose from the dead. That's the major dividing point between atheists and Christians. Everything else is just interfamily squabble.

Don't make me laugh. The divisions between christians are so big that there was a thirty wagen over it (catholic vs protestant). And you call that an interfamily squabble? Christians can't even agree on what the requisites for salvation are, which is arguably one of the most important (if not the most important) things the bible teaches.

This is a bit off topic but I happen to think that this is one of the strongest specifically anti-christianity arguments you can make. And is not just atheist who say it. Christian apologetics hero C.S. Lewis considered the huge divisions among christians such an embarrasing fact that he actually recomended deceiving possible converts about it.

And you know this, how? Show me the reasoned, scientific, non-faith based case for this.

Lets see. I will try to use pure reason since science has as much to say about it as it has to say about how many angels can dance in the head of a pin.

1. God is just (basic christian premise)
1.a. A just being rewards and punishes in a just way (from the definition of just)
2. Atheist are not rewarded with salvation. (what most christians believe)

Since basically every christians seems to pick and choose whatever they want from christianity, you would have to tell me if you disagree with any of the premises. But I think these are true for the majority of christians in the U.S. From my education in a catholic school I know that some catholics believe an atheist can be saved if he is simply ignorant about God, but I don't think thats the case for most evangelical christians.

Now lets take your hypothesis

3. Atheism is caused by a brain misswirement and therefore entirely out of the individual's control

Now, from the definition of justice

4. Punishing or rewarding someone on the basis of something they have zero control over is not just/fair.

(If you disagree with this, you have the most strange definition of the word "just" or "fair" I have ever seen and it would be pointless to keep discussing this)

Now, from (3) and (2), it follows that God rewards people based on something they have no control over, and according to (4) it would contradict (1.a). Therefore, (3) can't be true.

Anonymous Gara January 16, 2014 2:01 PM  

The divisions between christians are so big that there was a thirty wagen over it

Uh, I ment to say: "so big that there was a thirty year war wagen over it"

Anonymous tiredofitall January 16, 2014 2:55 PM  

"lets look at the facts...

1) you lied about "following the big 10" ... 6.5 is not 10.
2) when your lie was exposed, you dishonestly moved the goal posts "I'm not perfect"
3) you also chose to respond with twitchy screaming profanity...

all are classic hallmarks of aspies. so it could be you are on the autism spectrum, and thus lack the social programing to pull off rhetoric. another aspie hallmark is perceiving everyone else as no better than "animals" and acting socially based on this misconception.

the other possibility is you deliberately lied to us... which makes you a dishonest liar, and a probable sociopath.

so which is it?" - chi rho

Okay, lets.

1.) Misremebering isn't the same as lying.
2.) Never lied so.. Also, I'm not perfect. neither are you, nor is anybody. Isn't that a tenet of faith held by you religious types?
3.) Because argumentative fucktards like you only seem to respond when people fight back with profanity.

Keep on with calling me an aspie or autistic, you're the only one who believes it. I got an idea, why not contact an artist and commission a fey looking mascot of me so you can go full Scalzi?

Oh wow, now you're graduating to accusing me of being a sociopath? Okay, that's it. As per the rules of the blog, I challenge you to either back up your claims, retract them, or STFU.

Anonymous chi rho January 16, 2014 3:05 PM  

" I can proudly say I've never done any of the big ten, if that makes it better for you."

"Misremebering"

Whatever, you aspie psycho.

Anonymous chi rho January 16, 2014 3:08 PM  

"Yes, I've never done anything "evil" in my life"

says the twitching lying psychopath.

"Misremebering"

Blogger wrf3 January 16, 2014 4:44 PM  

Gara wrote: This number certainly goes up when you also count the people who"don't know" if God exist, which should also have that brain misswirement according to your "God-perceiving sense" theory. and Is this brain misswirement genetic based?

First, the scientific studies I have read deal with atheism, not agnosticism. So, are you atheist ("there is no God") or are you agnostic ("I'm not sure whether or not God exists")? Second, all software is hardware, so every wrong conclusion is the result of mis-wiring. However, brains are somewhat plastic, hence the continuing debate between the role of nature and nurture on brain function.

The divisions between christians are so big that there was a thirty wagen over it (catholic vs protestant). And you call that an interfamily squabble?

Sure. A squabble that should have never broken out into war. Is this what is preventing you from believing that there is a God? The misbehavior of Christians?

Christians can't even agree on what the requisites for salvation are, which is arguably one of the most important (if not the most important) things the bible teaches.

Every Christian holds "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Or, you can look at some of the creeds that are held almost universally.

With respect to salvation, the question is over the relative contributions of human effort and God's mercy to the process of salvation. Is this what is keeping you from believing that there is a God?

(If you disagree with this, you have the most strange definition of the word "just" or "fair" I have ever seen and it would be pointless to keep discussing this)

Well, I do disagree with this, but not on the basis of "justice" or "fairness". The problem with your argument is that it runs directly counter to what the Bible actually says. God does not withhold (or grant) salvation based on things you do, or don't, have control over.

Is the nature of the mechanics of salvation what is keeping you from believing that there is a God?

Anonymous tiredofitall January 16, 2014 4:55 PM  

chi rho either back up your claims, or retract them.

Anonymous chi rho January 16, 2014 5:44 PM  

blatent lies + contradictory statements + unbalanced twitching profanity = sociopathic behaviour.

it is self evident at this point. embarrassingly so...

Anonymous tiredofitall January 16, 2014 6:14 PM  

"blatent lies + contradictory statements + unbalanced twitching profanity = sociopathic behaviour.

it is self evident at this point. embarrassingly so..." - chi rho

Misremembering ≠ to blatant lies.
Contradictory statements, which ones? Provide proof.
Twitching profanity. Your kind only seems to get a point when swearing is used.

Either back up you claims with proof or retract them.

Anonymous chi rho January 16, 2014 7:15 PM  

retract ALL your claims above then, as all are based on "missrembering"/bullshit, followed by goal-post moving.

you sense of overinflated ego is comical. ..even if entirely consistent with sociopathic tendecies.

Anonymous tiredofitall January 16, 2014 8:01 PM  

"retract ALL your claims above then, as all are based on "missrembering"/bullshit, followed by goal-post moving.

you sense of overinflated ego is comical." - chi rho

Rule #2 of the blog:

You are expected to back up your assertions, so don't be surprised if you happen to get called on them. If you fail to back up an assertion when called on it, but refuse to retract the statement, understand that I reserve the right to delete the relevant comment and all subsequent comments you attempt to make. - Vox

I've asked you to back up the claim I'm a sociopath/aspie/autistic. You've yet to do so. This is the last time I'm asking you. Either back up your claims, or retract them.

The only claim I made was the ten commandments thing which I later corrected and admitted I was wrong about.

Anonymous Gara January 17, 2014 5:23 AM  

First, the scientific studies I have read deal with atheism, not agnosticism.

Irrelevant according to your hypothesis. If there a way to percieve God that is clouded by a brain misswirement, then both atheist and agnostics have it.

Second, all software is hardware, so every wrong conclusion is the result of mis-wiring.

Before I answer to this let me ask you, were you raised a christian or how old were you when you became one?

A squabble that should have never broken out into war.

The point is that you are trying downplay the differences among christians by calling it an "interfamily squabble". Well, wrf3, I have some news for you: Normal families don't kill themselves over squabbles. Dysfunctional families maybe do, so I guess that would be an appropiate way to refer to christians.

With respect to salvation, the question is over the relative contributions of human effort and God's mercy to the process of salvation

Christians also disagree over the necessity of baptism for salvation. But anyhow, you paint it as if it was a small disagreement when it is actually a big disagreement (faith alone vs faith and work vs predestination vs faith and baptism, etc, etc). This wild disagreement is very embarrasing for Christians for the fact the this is an extremely important issue, over which there should be no disagreement in the first place.

The problem with your argument is that it runs directly counter to what the Bible actually says.

Whenever I read "what the bible actuallly says" I just roll my eyes because I know that what "the bible actually says" varies wildly according to what kind of christian you ask.

By the way, I wonder if you ever stop five seconds to think about the logical consequences of what you write. You said that every wrong conclusion is the result of mis-wiring. Now, Im sure you know that your calvinist conclusions are a minority, even among christians.There a re a lot of intelligent christians that have read the scriptures and yet reached a very different interpretation. So, do you think this arises as a result of some brain mis-wirement too??

I ask you directly: Do you think Vox, JcClimber, and other non clavinist christians have some kind of brain mis-wirement that causes them to wrongly interpret the scripture? Because this follows directly from your assertion that all wrong conlcusions are the result of a brain problem. Is very easy for you to suggest that atheist have some kind of brain defect problem here, but lets see if you have the guts to say the same thing about Vox.

Blogger wrf3 January 17, 2014 10:36 AM  

Gara wrote: I ask you directly...

See? This is a part of your aspie behavior. You ignore questions that you have been asked and then demand that I show you a courtesy that you didn't show me.

The questions you were asked were:

1. So, are you atheist ("there is no God") or are you agnostic ("I'm not sure whether or not God exists")?
2. Is this what is preventing you from believing that there is a God? The misbehavior of Christians?
3. With respect to salvation, the question is over the relative contributions of human effort and God's mercy to the process of salvation. Is this what is keeping you from believing that there is a God?
4. Is the nature of the mechanics of salvation what is keeping you from believing that there is a God?

I'm more than happy to answer your questions. In fact, I have them typed out and ready to go. All that needs to happen is for you to answer the questions which you were asked first.

Blogger wrf3 January 17, 2014 11:20 AM  

Gara wrote: Irrelevant according to your hypothesis. If there a way to percieve God that is clouded by a brain misswirement, then both atheist and agnostics have it.

It isn't irrelevant. "There is no God" is different from "I don't know if there is a God". So the miswiring is different in the two cases.

were you raised a christian or how old were you when you became one?

I converted from atheism to Christanity at age 25. I'll be 59 in less than three months.

The point is that you are trying downplay the differences among christians by calling it an "interfamily squabble"

I'm not trying to downplay differences. I'm trying to understand if your assessment of the differences is rational or visceral. The U.S. Supreme Court, for example, was divided 5-4 over whether or not the 2nd Amendment convers gun rights to individuals or militias. We may, eventually, go to war over it. It doesn't mean that the Constitution doesn't exist.

Whenever I read "what the bible actuallly says" I just roll my eyes because I know that what "the bible actually says" varies wildly according to what kind of christian you ask.

Sure, but I haven't run across that many underying reasons for those differences. One of the big ones is whether or not humans have free will, which is something that influences almost all ideologies. Like I said in an earlier post, one example of this is in physics. The laws of quantum mechanics support the idea of "superdeterminism," but most physicists reject it because they think we have "free will" -- even if they don't agree on what "free will" really means.

By the way, I wonder if you ever stop five seconds to think about the logical consequences of what you write.

Of course I have.

You said that every wrong conclusion is the result of mis-wiring. Now, Im sure you know that your calvinist conclusions are a minority, even among christians.

You're really going to go there, since atheists are a minority among humans? Really? Have you read this?

There a re a lot of intelligent christians that have read the scriptures and yet reached a very different interpretation.

And, as I already said, there are a lot of intelligent Americans who have read the Consitution and yet reached very different interpretations. There are an number of intelligent physicsists who have looked at nature and come to very different conclusions. What does that have to do with whether or not God (or the Consitution or Nature) exists?

So, do you think this arises as a result of some brain mis-wirement too??

Of course.

What you haven't yet understood is that the brain is plastic. Some mis-wiring is congenital and cannot be changed. Some mis-wiring is congenital but can be changed later. Some mis-wiring is the result of environment. And so on.

Is very easy for you to suggest that atheist have some kind of brain defect problem here, ...

That's what the scientific studies show. Why do you hate science?

but lets see if you have the guts to say the same thing about Vox.

Not only will I say it about Vox, I'll say it about me. Every single human is dysfunctional to some extent.

Anonymous Gara January 19, 2014 3:57 AM  

You ignore questions that you have been asked and then demand that I show you a courtesy that you didn't show me.

Notice that for most of these question, I had already responded to the statement on which they were based, so is not like I completely ignored them.

But anyway:

1. I think there are some evidence/arguments for a general creator God and some arguments against it. I don´t believe the arguments against it outweight the arguments for it, but I don´t think the arguments for a creator are enough to prove there is a creator God either.

As far as a personal type of God who has spoken to humanity and cares about us, and wants specific things from us (religion). I would say there are some, not very convincing arguments/evidence for it and some better arguments against it. So in that case I do consider the arguments against it outweight the arguments for it.

Now, your other 3 questions are basically the same question. The main answer is that what is keeping me from believing in Christianity is that the evidence for it is simply not good enough, according to the high standard that one should objectively use to evaluate such claims.

In another thread here I was just saying that the kind of backround knowledge one would need to have to meticulously examine just a single claim of christianity (namely, the resurrection of Jesus) is so big that it would take years of study to do it (archaeology, ancient literature, dating methods of ancient writings, ancient east history, the works of other historians of the time such as Josephus, etc, etc). And that is just for ONE religion, and there are many of them. If you wanted to examinate them all, an entire lifetime of study wouldn`t be enough. The solution to this is to set a high bar for evidence, namely to rely mostly on scientific evidence, which has proven to be the most reliable method for learning facts about the world.

Is this what is preventing you from believing that there is a God? The misbehavior of Christians? No. Thats irrelevant since Christianity claims that people misbehave anyway.


With respect to salvation, the question is over the relative contributions of human effort and God's mercy to the process of salvation. Is this what is keeping you from believing that there is a God?

I consider that a very strong point against christianity, for sure. And I am not the only one. Even C.S. Lewis admitted this was an important problem, to the point the he adviced decieving potential converts about it (!)


Anonymous Gara January 19, 2014 3:58 AM  

It isn't irrelevant. "There is no God" is different from "I don't know if there is a God". So the miswiring is different in the two cases.

Is the same miswiring regarding the God percieving sense you mentioned earlier. since both agnostics are atheist are unable to observe God according to what you wrote.

The U.S. Supreme Court, for example, was divided 5-4 over whether or not the 2nd Amendment convers gun rights to individuals or militias. We may, eventually, go to war over it. It doesn't mean that the Constitution doesn't exist

No, but it means that the Constitution could have been more clear. Which is understandable since the authors of the Constitution were very smart but nevertheless intelectually limited humans. If you told me that a perfect, omniscient being was the source of what the consitution says I would consider such an ambiguity to be very strange.

There are an number of intelligent physicsists who have looked at nature and come to very different conclusions

Thats mostly because of incomplete or insuficient evidence. Is this the case for the bible? Is the bible incomplete in matters pertaining salvation?

That's what the scientific studies show. Why do you hate science?

More like thats what your wildly speculative interpretation of scientific studies show. If I were to speculate that lower IQ is a result of brain miswirement, I could propose that atheist are on average less miswired than theist.

Not only will I say it about Vox, I'll say it about me. Every single human is dysfunctional to some extent.

You missed the point. The question was not whether you think Vox´s brain is perfect. The question is whether Vox´s non calvinist beliefs arise as a result of an specific brain defect than you don`t have.

Blogger wrf3 January 20, 2014 10:55 AM  

Gara wrote: I think there are some evidence/arguments for a general creator God and some arguments against it.

So it's fair to say that you aren't an atheist, but are agnostic?

I consider that a very strong point against christianity, for sure.

Do you also take the disagreement among physicists as to the interpretation of quantum mechanics (i.e. Copenhagen, Many-Worlds, de Broglie–Bohm, etc...) as a very strong point against QM?

Is the same miswiring regarding the God percieving sense you mentioned earlier. since both agnostics are atheist are unable to observe God according to what you wrote.
For the second time, no, it isn't. According to the studies I've read, atheists aren't unable to observe God. Instead, they actively suppress that kind of thinking. Agnostics, on the other hand, can't make a decision.

If you told me that a perfect, omniscient being was the source of what the consitution says I would consider such an ambiguity to be very strange.
And we finally begin to see what's going on in the atheist/agnostic brain. It's almost universally that the individual reserves the right to tell God how he ought to have done things. Which, of course, is utterly illogical.

Thats mostly because of incomplete or insuficient evidence.
Really? You're sure it's the quality of the evidence and not the ability of those analyzing the evidence? You know this, how, exactly?

More like thats what your wildly speculative interpretation of scientific studies show.
No, it isn't my interpretation. It's what the scientists who did the studies said. Why do you hate science?

If I were to speculate that lower IQ is a result of brain miswirement, I could propose that atheist are on average less miswired than theist.
Did you not read Vox's post on this very subject? In any case, you'd first have to prove that the atheist/theist division is based on IQ, and not other factors. Given that there are more high IQ theists than their are high IQ atheists, your supposition is a non-starter.

You missed the point.
Not at all. You didn't understand the answer. I gave you the answer to the general case, which applies to the specific case around which your question was framed. The general answer ("yes") applies to your specific question.

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