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Atheists are mutants? Dissecting a ‘genetics’ paper without genetics

| | March 25, 2019

I just came across a paper with an interesting title: The Mutant Says in His Heart, “There Is No God”.

The conclusions of this work are even more interesting. According to the authors, Edward Dutton et al., humans evolved to be religious and atheism is caused (in part) by mutational damage to our normal, religious DNA. Atheists, in other words, are genetic degenerates.

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

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There is much better evidence for an atheism-intelligence link than there is for an atheism-autism or atheism-handedness one. Yet how can high intelligence be compatible with the idea that atheists have harmful mutations?

Overall, I found it very hard to believe in the conclusions of this paper. Perhaps my skepticism is merely a reflection of my dodgy genetics?

Read full, original post: Are Atheists Genetically Damaged?

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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