Analytic Thinking Reduces Religious Belief, Says Study

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A new study (sub required) by researchers at the University of Bristish Columbia published in this week's Science reports that inducing subjects to engage their analytic thinking skills lowers the strength of their religious beliefs. From the press release:

A new University of British Columbia study finds that analytic thinking can decrease religious belief, even in devout believers.

The study, published today in the journal Science, finds that thinking analytically increases disbelief among believers and skeptics alike, shedding important new light on the psychology of religious belief.

"Our goal was to explore the fundamental question of why people believe in a God to different degrees," says lead author Will Gervais, a PhD student in UBC's Dept. of Psychology. "A combination of complex factors influence matters of personal spirituality, and these new findings suggest that the cognitive system related to analytic thoughts is one factor that can influence disbelief."

Researchers used problem-solving tasks and subtle experimental priming – including showing participants Rodin's sculpture The Thinker or asking participants to complete questionnaires in hard-to-read fonts – to successfully produce "analytic" thinking. The researchers, who assessed participants' belief levels using a variety of self-reported measures, found that religious belief decreased when participants engaged in analytic tasks, compared to participants who engaged in tasks that did not involve analytic thinking.

The findings, Gervais says, are based on a longstanding human psychology model of two distinct, but related cognitive systems to process information: an "intuitive" system that relies on mental shortcuts to yield fast and efficient responses, and a more "analytic" system that yields more deliberate, reasoned responses.

"Our study builds on previous research that links religious beliefs to 'intuitive' thinking," says study co-author and Associate Prof. Ara Norenzayan, UBC Dept. of Psychology. "Our findings suggest that activating the 'analytic' cognitive system in the brain can undermine the 'intuitive' support for religious belief, at least temporarily."

The study involved more than 650 participants in the U.S. and Canada. Gervais says future studies will explore whether the increase in religious disbelief is temporary or long-lasting, and how the findings apply to non-Western cultures.

Recent figures suggest that the majority of the world's population believes in a God, however atheists and agnostics number in the hundreds of millions, says Norenzayan, a co-director of UBC's Centre for Human Evolution, Cognition and Culture. Religious convictions are shaped by psychological and cultural factors and fluctuate across time and situations, he says.

On March 24, thousands of atheists, agnostics and assorted freethinkers gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C. at the Rally for Reason. For more background see below the Reason.tv video, "What We Saw at the Reason Rally" by my colleagues Lucy Steigerwald and Joshua Swain. 

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  1. belief levels

    Isnt that kind of like “pregnancy levels”?

    It seems pretty binary to me.

    1. Precisely. The belief in God ia an either or statement. I’m pretty sure this study is conflating religious tenets, where a believer might disagree with doctrinal aspects with out and out belief in God. But this does not negate the belief in God proper.

      Gregor Mendel was an Augustinian monk, and without him, the foundations of modern genetics would either not exist or would have been greatly preempted.

      See also: Pascal’s Wager

      1. I don’t think that it really is a binary either/or situation. I’ve known those who believe god influences everything and those who when asked about god’s existence mutter an “I suppose” …. Surely there are varying degrees of belief.

        1. Surely there are varying degrees of belief.

          I don’t see how. Either you believe or you don’t. One can believe that events may or may not be influenced by deity, and that would require a default belief in the existence in God. Otherwise, one is a chafed fence rider and such a belief would not otherwise be subjected to challenge.

          Take Catholics, who believe that wine and communion wafers are the literal body and blood of Christ. However, they may have disagreements with Church Doctrine, such as birth control and certain sexual prohibitions. The believer may reject that aspect of church doctrine, even asking for absolution in confession, but the inherent belief that God exists is still intact. Otherwise, why bother confessing and chugging wine shots and eating stale, unleavened bread?

          1. I don’t think you can so neatly categorize anything having to do with human sentiments.

            I personally waivered for some time before giving up a belief in god when I was younger, and I would describe my “in-between” years as being agnostic.

            Humans aren’t computers. They can hold two completely different contradictory opinions at the same time quite easily. So it should also be possible to “believe” at different levels. From, “I’m certain”, to “Probably”, to “I suppose so”, to “I don’t think so”, to “absolutely not”, and everything in between.

            1. “They can hold two completely different contradictory opinions at the same time quite easily.”

              Obama does this everyday.

              1. I started to type: “It is hard to hold the contradictory opinion of, “I wish to destroy all liberty, tomorrow if possible”, and “I wish to win reelection in the United States for many more years”, but Obama manages to get by with both.”

                Then I realized that destroying liberty and winning reelection a bunch of times are not really contradictory desires.

          2. Also, many people have a vague, variable definition of what “God” means, so they’re claim of belief in God varies with the situation.

      2. Not really. Almost no one believes in God they way they do in, say, the sun, or their own existence. It’s something that has to be taken on faith.

        I think it’s more like a question of trust, which is a graded concept. Someone people trust in their belief enough to risk dying for it, confident they’ll be in a better place. Others will give time and money, but will balk at serious risk. Others won’t give much of anything at all, even though they do technically have a religious outlook.

        1. I’m not absolutely certain that the sun exists, or that I exist. I’m also not absolutely certain that no god exists. I am >99% certain that the sun exists, and I exist, and there are no gods; but that conclusion is based on my own observations of a reality which I cannot be sure actually exists.

          1. I’m not sure you really dared to say that.

      3. “Precisely. The belief in God ia an either or statement.”

        WTF? You’re saying a person can’t be skeptical of the God theory without entirely dismissing it? You can’t really believe that can you.

        Whatever. I’m the evidence that you’re wrong. I remain skeptical but am open to the possibility.

      4. Balderdash. I’ve known plenty of people whose belief in God on Saturday night is a fraction of their belief on Sunday morning.

      5. Balderdash. I’ve known plenty of people whose belief in God on Saturday night is a fraction of their belief on Sunday morning.

    2. The God part is binary, but each individual claim of, say, the Bible can be assessed as well. Some people believe every jot and tittle, including the part where Jonas spent three days inside a whale and Noah fit every animal on his ark. Others take the whole thing to be spiritual allegory and think of God as a blind watchmaker. There’s definitely a spectrum.

      1. I don’t think a literal interpretation of the Bible is more religious than an allegorical one.

        1. And a buddy of mine who’s a young-earther would disagree with you. He thinks anyone who reads the bible allegorically is not really a christian.

          Thus why it’s always so messy to talk about belief systems. There’s simply no easy way to categorize human thought, and nothing can be stated definitively to be “right” or “wrong”.

          1. Well sure, that’s what fundamentalists think. But why do fundamentalists get to define the contours and limits of religious belief? Because they’re louder? There’s nothing more religious about metaphysical interpretations than literal ones. That’s making fundamentalism the measure of religion, which is unwarranted.

            1. Right…and then the fundamentalist says, “But why do soft-core feel-good religious types get to define the contours and limits of religious belief? Because they’re more socially acceptable? There’s nothing more religious about metaphysical interpretations than literal ones. That’s making namby-pamby safe-for-TV christianity the measure of religion, which is unwarranted.”

              That’s the problem with belief. Nobody can be right, and nobody can be wrong (scientifically, I mean).

              1. My point isn’t which interpretation is right, but which interpretation is more religious. I don’t see one as more religious than the other, even though fundamentalists scream loudly about it.

                1. If the fundamentalists would by more analytical, they would realize they arent being literalists.

                  1. ^ Yep. I don’t see how somebody can read a book about two trees, on called “The Tree of Life” and the other called “The tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”, and come to the conclusion that the author intends for his work to be taken literally. It’s either a metaphor or nonsense.

                    1. I think that is a poor example, as Larry Niven wrote a literal interpretation of that.

                    2. Hmmm…maybe I should have said “It’s either metaphor or fiction?”

          2. There’s simply no easy way to categorize human thought, and nothing can be stated definitively to be “right” or “wrong”.

            I can definitively state that gravity exists. I can definitively state that if you say you can jump off a steep cliff, unaided by a hang glider or any other mechanical means, and float gently to earth, that you are categorically wrong, and that you can categorically disprove your belief by jumping off said cliff.

            1. Your second statement is true, but the first doesn’t follow from the second. In fact, gravity DOESN’T exist. Really, it’s just a bunch of vibrating superstrings.

              So my question is, are the statements “God exists” or “God doesn’t exist” more like your first statement or your second? I say it’s more like the first, meaning there’s some significant uncertainty.

              1. Really, it’s just a bunch of vibrating superstrings.

                I think string theory takes a bit of faith.

                I dont follow it closely, but I dont think it could be called “proven”, at this point.

        2. I dont think anyone actually has a literal interpretation of the Bible.

          No one thinks Jesus is literally a door. Unlike the witches in Monty Python, he isnt made out of wood (or stone).

          1. You weren’t there, you don’t know. He could have been a living tree, perambulatin’ about and spreading the word. Bishop Athanasius suppressed this truth, along with the Gospels of Thomas, because people weren’t ready for a tree god.

            1. lol Jesus was an ent. I like that thought.

        3. I’m not saying literalism makes you more religious, just that there are different points at which people draw the line regarding what they’re willing to believe. If that’s the level you’re trying to measure — not just whether someone thinks God exists — it seems valid.

          1. And, often, the exact same person will draw that line differently based on what day it is, who they are talking with, whether they’ve just heard a rousing sermon, how much they’ve had to drink, etc.

    3. belief levels

      Isnt that kind of like “pregnancy levels”?

      It seems pretty binary to me.

      Not really. My GF calls herself an atheist, but believes in an afterlife — she just doesn’t think anyone is in charge.

      I call myself an agnostic, because I assign a really low probability to any deity existing as construed by religions, but consider it the height of hubris to say that one person — on a tiny dustball in a tiny corner of a huge galaxy that is itself an insignificant part of the whole — can say with absolute certainty that no such deity exists anywhere in all those billions of solar systems.

      Or that, for example, the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy might be sentient and having effects on earth.

      Or whatever. The universe is a huge and strange and counterintuitive place.

  2. quantum physics = something fm nothing & nothing fm something

    so analytical even saint augustine would luv him some thermodynamics!

    1. I see you have never studies quantum physics. Loser.

      1. Mary’s a pretend writer, not a scientist. That should be obvious.

        1. i dare u to ignore my singularity

  3. *Shhhh* don’t tell Kennedy

    1. I see that Pepcid helped.

    2. You are not the real barfman.

  4. This is such a bogus argument in favor of atheism. Ronald is always making these kind of citations and references.

    We get it, you don’t believe in god and those who do are morons. My insane libby friends say the same bullshit to my face or make the argument that stupid people believe in god or that x percentage of the world’s scientists are aethists…therefore what does that say about god?

    These articles tire me almost as much as Krugman economics

    1. Are those friends aware that Barack Obama, Super Genius, claims to believe in God?

      1. He only says that to keep the wacko’s on the right happy. He’s really an athiest like me.[/Bill Maher]

    2. I am an atheist and I agree. How pathetic must a person be that they need their ideas reinforced with lame “studies” that prove how much smarter they are than those who disagree with them? I find these articles downright embarrassing.

      1. Anti-religionists give atheists a bad rap.

        1. Re: sarcasmic,

          Anti-religionists give atheists a bad rap.

          Agreed. Anti-religionists just want to feel they’re not being foolish. It is for them a question of faith just as much as it is for the religious.

          This is why I do not say I am an atheist. I am simply someone who does not believe, period. If someone wants to believe, then more power to you, brother – just don’t take my stuff and don’t try to run my life, because I swear I will shoot you until you’re very dead.

          1. I don’t say I’m an atheist because of the startled and hostile looks I get from people who associate atheism with anti-religionism.

            I’m just a guy without faith.

            1. You’re an apathetic atheist?

            2. but u do have faith there’s no god right?

              1. but u do have faith there’s no god right?

                Your idiocy never ceases to amaze me.

              2. Wow o3, that old standby never fails to catch people with their pants down does it?

                As much as I don’t really care about Harry Potter, I have to give Rowling props for saying:

                “I mean, you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist!”

                1. Wow o3, that old standby never fails to catch people with their pants down does it?

                  I wasn’t caught with my pants down. I thought the stupid in ozone’s statement was self evident. I guess not, so I will explain.

                  Not having faith is not a positive act. Not believing is not a positive act.

                  It doesn’t require any faith to not believe in something.

                  Anti-religionists on the other hand, they indeed do have faith that there is no god. They believe that there is no god. That is a positive act, whereas simply not believing is not.

                  I hate explaining the obvious.

                  1. Anti-religionists on the other hand, they indeed do have faith that there is no god.

                    Such as? Dawkins, Hitchens, et al. can all be labeled agnostic atheists, in that they feel there almost certainly is no God, but I’m yet to find one claim it can be known with certainty.

                    1. Such as?

                      Such as the activist types who demand that the Ten Commandments be torn down or references to “God” be removed from the currency.
                      Their hostility leads me to surmise that they have faith that there is no god.

                    2. Such as the activist types who demand that the Ten Commandments be torn down or references to “God” be removed from the currency.

                      Really? I thought that case was one of the more obvious questions. A douche chief justice (now reelected!) installs a 2.5 ton monument proclaiming that “Thou shalt have no gods before me.” The first four Commandments are about worship, the 5th and 10th aren’t illegal, and adultery and lying are only illegal in certain contexts. So don’t kill or steal, really. Deep. That has no place in the center of a court building where people should be judged without respect to their religious belief. And behind the bench sat a publicity whore and theocrat.

                      Protesting any expression of religion in school? Sure, that’s dickish. But Roy Moore is a piece.

                    3. That has no place in the center of a court building where people should be judged without respect to their religious belief.

                      When the majority of people where that monument is installed happen to follow that religion, then I fail to see what the problem is.
                      I accept that as an atheist I am in a minority, and I choose to respect the faith of others. I don’t share it or agree with it, but I respect it.

                    4. Who paid for the monument? Was it paid for only with money stolen from Christians, or with my money too? Do you think a known atheist would be judged fairly in a court with such a monument?

                      I truly don’t understand this kind of “respect.” Do I respect religious people’s right to believe something I think is wrong? Yes. Do I respect their actually believing it? No…because I think they’re wrong. I respect people’s right to enjoy reading F. Scott Fitzgerald, too, but I don’t respect their actual enjoyment, because I don’t like him.

                    5. Do I respect their actually believing it? No…because I think they’re wrong.

                      You think they should respect your lack of belief, even though they think you are wrong?

                      Or do you think they should look down their nose at you in the same way you look down your nose at them?

                      Or maybe, just maybe, you could just respect each other? Nah. Where’s the fun in that?

                    6. Did I say I looked down my nose at them? Or did I say I didn’t respect their actual beliefs?

                      I know several religious people IRL whom I respect (I don’t know that many religious people IRL in total). But it’s because I have some other reason for respecting them. “Respect” is not what I would call my default position for anyone; “tolerance” would be much more accurate.

                    7. You think they should respect your lack of belief, even though they think you are wrong?

                      Uh, don’t Christians say “love the sinner, hate the sin” all the time?

                      There is nothing incompatible with respecting someone but not their beliefs that you feel are misguided.

                  2. I wasn’t caught with my pants down. I thought the stupid in ozone’s statement was self evident. I guess not, so I will explain.

                    Geez, I didn’t think I needed to use a /sarc tag for you.

                    1. Geez, I didn’t think I needed to use a /sarc tag for you.

                      He, not even Sarcasmic The Great can always detect the sarcasm of mere mortals.

                  3. I am a zealous agnostic.

                2. shorter sparky – yes

              3. Re: O3,

                but u do have faith there’s no god right?

                In my case, I simply don’t give a shit.

                1. I’m stealing Nick Gillespie’s neologism. I’m an apatheist. The question bores me, and I don’t give a shit. I don’t care what you believe in, I care how you act. If you act like an asshole, you’re an asshole. Your belief in the correctness of your actions matters not to me.

                  1. I’m sticking with atheist just because I’m not going to let a bunch of assholes ruin it for me. Kinda like the fucking assholes that took over “organic”. Fuck you, it still means living.

                    1. Or more precisely, carbon-based life.

                    2. Can you point me to the inorganic aisle please?

                    3. Or even more precisely, organic chemistry is that chemistry that involves carbon atoms, even if the chemicals are thoroughly non-living.

          2. This is why I do not say I am an atheist. I am simply someone who does not believe, period.

            But that’s what “atheist” means.

            1. Semantically, that’s correct. But if you ask somebody on the street, they’ll say athiest means disbelief rather than non-belief.

              Maybe there should be a third category to separate the disbelievers from the non-believers…

      2. Geez, Ol’ Gill here must not be one of us True Unbelievers.

    3. Why assume that it’s an argument in favor of atheism?
      Maybe God gives us analytical reasoning skills as a test of faith.

      1. I thought this as well. The article doesn’t say that analytic thinking made anyone atheistic, just that it reduced their religious belief. In this context, belief seems to be mean less “I believe in God” and more “I believe that the Bible is true.” Rather than an argument for atheism, the connotation seems to be “a lot of religious ideas don’t make sense.”

        And I find it telling that the people in the comments above don’t like the article, but don’t claim there is anything wrong with the methodology. They just say “posting this article means that you are being a jerk.” The implicit claim above that the only choices are 1) “this article means atheists are right” and 2) “this article is stupid and the author is a jerk” seems to be a false choice to me.

        The results seem (from the context of wording in the abstract) to address doctrinal religious belief (e.g. belief in transubstantiation, the trinity) rather than absolute religious belief (e.g. belief in the Christian God, or ANY God for that matter). While this may INDIRECTLY produce more skepticism toward absolute beliefs (as a totality of a person’s belief system), I don’t think the study, judging from context, actually addresses those absolute beliefs themselves.

        A bit of a disclaimer: Not being able to see the study, I could be wrong, but I’m willing to bet that’s the sort of “religious belief” the study looks into. Without more information, all of our comments rely too much on assumptions to come to any real conclusions.

        1. On a side note: reading and typing “belief” so much, it seems to be a funny word to me now. Does anyone else think belief is spelled funny?

  5. A new University of British Columbia study finds that analytic thinking can decrease religious belief, even in devout believers.

    “Religious belief” is such a broad concept. A person who thinks that without the government there would be chaos or that the individual is meaningless before the greater good is engaging in “religious belief” if you ask me. Those that entertain such notions pretty much make the set of those that think they engage in purely “analytical thinking.”

    1. Everyone believes in something. Not all beliefs are religious.

      1. Everyone believes in something.

        That’s not true.

        1. Come on sarcasmic, don’t you believe that 1+1=2?

          1. Not in base 2 it doesn’t.

          2. There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who do not.

            1. I guess I should have known better.

        2. Are you a brain in a vat? Do you have evidence?

          Do your senses accurately convey reality? Do you have evidence?

          Is torturing children wrong? Do you have evidence?

          And so on.

          1. Some people just don’t give a shit.

            1. whilst others are full of it. C’est La Vie.

        3. A true absence of belief would be no thought whatsoever.

          1. You telling me you’ve never met people who don’t think?
            People who go through life reacting and emoting, but never really thinking?

            1. Yeah, many many liberals.

      2. Do you have a newsletter to which I might subscribe?

  6. I’d dare to say that those religious beliefs are far more scary than even Rick Santorum (and he is pretty fucking scary).

  7. On March 24, thousands of atheists, agnostics and assorted freethinkers gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C. at the Rally for Reason.

    I have to wonder how many of those that showed up are also Marxists. It would’ve been interesting to ask them if they simply substituted one form of belief for another, in this case a belief in an all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful State for a mere creator of the universe, and then look at the expression on their faces.

    1. Watch the video and wonder no longer. Plenty of Marxists.

    2. Yes, and I’d hope more atheists would realize that the real enemy is submission to blind faith. That faith can be innocuous at times, but without unquestioning types the nasty sides of religion or politics or whatever would have few chances to reveal themselves.

      1. Bingo. I don’t have a problem with religion, I have a problem with unthinking, blind faith…in anything. And really even that doesn’t bother me until they start voting stupid shit into law.

        1. How can you have a problem with Blind Faith?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbRgSlIrJQ0

    3. Yeah, I don’t get that. It seems to me like it woudl make a lot more sense if the welfare state liberals were the religious ones and libertarians and economic conservatives were more likely to be atheists. But maybe that’s just me. For me it has been the same contrarian and anti-authoritarian impulses that led me to both atheism and libertarianism.

      1. Well, the socialists invented “Humanism”, which as far as I can tell is just religion minus God, to try and satisfy their confirmation biases and escape nihilism.

        Capitalists and the religious are united against them, but my guess is that capitalists have a problem with the “religious” part, whereas the religious have a problem with the “minus God” part.

  8. If God is just a comforting fiction that our brains are programmed to conjure up, why aren’t people worshipping Batman?

    1. People other than Sugarfree.

    2. Re: Tim,

      […] why aren’t people worshipping Batman?

      It’s still an underground movement. Given time and a few martyrs and it will become more visible to your eyes.

      1. Christianity is pretty singular, most of these fantasy delusions feature potent and powerful gods: Giant elephants, crocodile men, chicks with eight arms, etc. Makes no sense. Batman would be much cooler.

        1. Dresses up. Keeps a young boy around. Just like a priest.

      2. Where was your Batman when my wealthy parents were being murdered before my eyes? Where was Batman when all of those bats were flying around me, scaring me half to death? Wait a minute. Am I Batman? No. That’s impossible. That cowl would never fit over my monocle.

    3. Good question. My cubicle has two The Dark Knight posters and a small, metal figurine of Batman from TAS. If there is anything I could be said to worship, Batman is probably it.

      1. Hmm, if you go by the idolatry in my cubicle, I worship Firefly.

    4. Wat Rong Khun is a contemporary unconventional Buddhist and Hindu temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

      Visitors will find it rather bizarre to find modern images throughout this temple. Images of the Predator from the Hollywood film, Spiderman, Batman, Keanu Reeves character in the Matrix, rocket ships, etc. The sea of hands rising up towards the bridge to the temple, some holding skulls are very striking.

      1. Well, I guess we know Wat Rong with that guy…

  9. showing participants Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker … to successfully produce “analytic” thinking

    Right. Well, I suppose showing participants porn successfully produces “erotic” thinking.

    1. Yeah. Really stupid methodology, as usual with social “science” “studies.”

      1. “subtle experimental priming”

        I stopped reading there. Someone fill me in; what exactly did they “prove”?

        1. that they’re idiots.

          1. That “Credentialed” does not mean “educated.

      2. Most of these sorts of studies seem to start with a premise that is fairly obvious. Then they design a bullshit study that doesn’t demonstrate anything about how people really operate.

  10. I’d like to do a companion study on whether pompous atheism increases douche bag behavior.

    In all seriousness, the lesson to draw from this isn’t that atheists are more analytical than religious believers. The lesson to draw from this is that atheists have a lot to gain if they can persuade religious people to think more analytically.

    For those of you atheists out there who are a little slow, that means you can catch a lot more flies with honey rather than by being a douche bag.

    1. As funeral-protesters, doctor-killers, and pedophiles have proven regularly.

      1. I’m trying to understand what you’re saying…

        Are you saying that those three groups of people are all douche bags who’ve caught a lot more flies by using honey? Because protesting funerals, killing doctors, and…whatever else you’re talking about…isn’t my definition of using honey to make friends and influence people.

        In fact, those three examples are probably among the least popular groups of people I can think of–specifically becasue of their extreme douche bag behavior.

        If you’re one of those atheists who wants to maintain atheism’s popularity with most Americans at about the same level as funeral protestors, doctor-killers and…whatever else you’re thinking of…then I guess engaging in douche bag behavior is doing a great job, isn’t it?

        P.S. You’d think I’d expect more than a tu quoque from an honest atheist, but equating all religious people with funeral protestors, anti-abortion extremists and pedophile priests? Is exactly the kind of behavior from atheists I was talking about. Congratulate you on reenforcing the stereotype!

        For the rest of you, I know…

        The study Bailey found showing that Atheists are more analytical just shows it’s a trend–not a rule. Some atheists are obviously more analytical than others.

        1. Ken, some atheists, myself included, aren’t out to change anyone’s mind. I’m perfectly happy to let religious folks practice their religion to their heart’s content. As long as they are willing to return the favor.

          On another note, the Freedom from Religion Foundation and other atheists of that sort really piss me off. Since they are the most fanatic, and therefore loudest, that is what everyone assumes all atheists are like. Your two posts seem to prove that.

        2. I believe he’s saying that douchiness doesn’t require atheism. (And of course “pompous atheism” would be douche-y because pomp is douche-y.)

    2. Hey, fuck you Ken. Damn stupid believer. ?

    3. Who wants flies?

  11. I think this would be an excellent time to delve into the fascinating virgin territory of whether or not atheism is a religion.

    I just happened to read about something called Russel’s teapot which was fascinating and could shed some light on the topic.

    1. Do any atheists have proof God doesn’t exist? If He didn’t exist, then how does a banana fit perfectly in the ridges of your hand?

      1. Or index finger circumference?

        How is that the radius of our fingers is almost never larger than the radius of our nose?

        Coincidence? I don’t think so!

        1. It’s not magic to have 4 fingers of differing lengths and radii.

          1. magic = that which we cannot explain.

            By this definition, electricty might as well be magic to most people, because they don’t understand it for shit.

          2. Perhaps, but what are the chances that everyone’s index finger–is smaller than their nostrils?

            What are the chances?

            Think about it.

            If you have a big giant finger, you have a big giant nostril.

            That can’t have happened by accident.

            Think about it.

            1. Q: What do you call a lesbian with fat fingers?
              A: Well hung.

              Q: Why do gorillas have such big nostrils?
              A: Because they have big fingers.

            2. You need to pick your nose.

              God saw that coming from miles away.

              If we can pick your noses?

              Then God must love us.

              1. If your God wasn’t such a cruel bastard he wouldn’t have infested you with something that made you have to pick your nose.

              2. There can’t be a God. At least not a kind and loving one. If there were such a god, he would have done a better job designing knees and backs rather than messing around with nose picking.

      2. Also, if God didn’t exist, why did he send his only begotten son to be our 44th President?

        1. You just converted 2 million liberals to christianity.

    2. I think this would be an excellent time to delve into the fascinating virgin territory of whether or not atheism is a religion.

      No it is not.

  12. Interesting (to me) analytical view on religion:

    My first post in this thread originally included a “damn” but I edited it out. If it had been “fuck” I wouldnt have.

    1. Damnit robc, don’t edit your fucking posts! Fuckin’ cunt.

      1. Listen cunt, I will edit “damn” and “hell” out of my posts when I want to. Its actually why I use fuck so much, to avoid using them.

  13. I love how even devout atheists capitalize “God”, just in case.

    1. Isn’t the god at the center of Judaism, Christianity, Islam pretty much the same and a proper noun? Now capitalizing pronoun’s like His wrath is a different thing altogether.

      1. Yeah. “Allah” is just Arabic for “God”.

    2. The word is capitalized because it is most often used in reference to the Christian god, which is imaginatively named “God”, and in the English language we capitalize proper nouns.

    3. Proper noun. Same goes for Zeus.

      Now, if an atheist capitalizes “He” without a sense of irony, that might be awkward.

    4. The same as they would capitalize “Thor”, “Kali”, “Anansi”, and “Batman”.

    5. If I’m referring the the Christian God I do, because it’s supposed to be the modern conception the the guy’s(girl’s?thing’s?) name. Otherwise, I don’t capitalize. Should I not capitalize zeus either? Seems a bit silly, doesn’t it?

  14. “showing participants Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker or asking participants to complete questionnaires in hard-to-read fonts to successfully produce “analytic” thinking.”

    This seems like a very arbitrary and non scientific process to find “analytic thinking”.

    1. I thought the same thing. Looking at a Rodin = analytic thinking? That’s just as superstitious as Pentecostal snake handling.

      1. The researchers wanted to use problems that actually required analytic thought to solve, but it turned out those sorts of problems were really boring and icky.

      2. I would think handling a snake produces more analytical thinking: How do I hold onto this scaly motherfucker without him getting pissed off and biting me?

      3. And well all know that The Thinker is just thinking about how to get into Venus’ tunic.

        1. *we all know

  15. “Atheist” is such a loaded and poorly defined term. I have long considered myself an atheist. I don’t believe any of man’s religions represent the truth of things except, possibly, in terms of some basic moral truths. On the other hand, believing that none of the religions are true, I am still open to the possibility that there is some sort of intention behind the universe and a purely material/reductionist view of reality is just as parochial and narrow in perspective as is your typical religion.

  16. Anytime anyone uses the words “free thinker” one must beware because if there is any other leftist dog whistle phrase more widespread than that one, I’m not aware of it.

    I’m a free thinking person essentially means “I’m a dogmatist leftist”, not that they have an intellectual curiosity that allows them to explore ideas outside of accepted dogma.

    1. Let’s not forget the term, “Brights”.

      Speaking as an atheist, I may disagree with the God-fearing folk; but, I’ll give them credit for their concern, as well as their charitable activities.

      As for the Red Brigade dirtbags posing as “atheists”, I hold them in utter contempt. The Red morons replaced a mythological deity with a mythological “Utopia”.

      The leftist pukes deserve their “Utopia”…

  17. I haven’t read the whole study but it seems its a tenuous circular logic that proves not much. Religious belief is associated with intuitive thought (in their chosen model – which is not a description of reality, rather a scientific tool to do research with) via previous studies. So if we force analytical thought, we undermine intuitive thought, therefore analytical thought undermines religious belief.

    The problem is their chosen model isn’t thoroughly analytically verified and involves intuitive thought to use. So in the end if they apply more analytical thought to their own intuition based model – what would they conclude?

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