Resolved: Atheists Are More Cat People Than Dog People

Having co-habited with many cats over the years, I've found them to be free-thinking and inquisitive, like atheists. Dogs seem to be more accepting, more willing to go along. I think this accounts for the fact that atheists tend to favor cats over dogs. (I'm not saying atheists hate dogs--just that we're better attuned to cats.) Comments?

Tags: atheists, cats, dogs, pets

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You will find that humans messing with life is not one of evolution's mechanisms.

The article doesn't mention human intervention in breeding as a mechanism of evolution, neither including it nor excluding it. 

From the article: "Nature" in this sense refers to an ecosystem, that is, a system in which organisms interact with every other element, physical as well as biological, in their local environment.

We are part of the enviroment.  We are natural beings.  I don't see that human-directed change across generations can reasonably be excluded from evolution.

Additionally, it seems likely that must of what originally turned wolves into dogs was not the result of intentional breeding but a consequence of interactions between the humans and wolves/dogs in which the animals which were most suited to life with humans stayed with humans and had offspring which were also more suited to life with humans, and so on.

I recall reading about an experiment which points to what I think is probably one of the important differences between wolves and dogs.  It involved two groups of animals, one made up of dogs and the other of wolves that had been raised as dogs.  Each group was presented with a puzzle that needed to be solved in order to get a food reward.  Both groups were pretty good at solving the puzzle.  Next, the puzzle was made unsolvable and the two groups were tested again.  Individuals in each group eventually stopped trying and looked to the humans for help but the dogs did this significantly sooner than the wolves and did it for a longer duration.

If you're interested, you can read more about that here.

My guess is that this difference is a consequence of selection processes early in the domestication of dogs which were probably not a result of intentional selection.  If so, then I'd say it's evolution even by your more narrow interpretation of the meaning of that word.

Ah hah!  Vindication!  ;-)

There is no real difference in the genetic processes underlying artificial and natural selection, and the concept of artificial selection was used by Charles Darwin as an illustration of the wider process of natural selection. The selection process is termed "artificial" when human preferences or influences have a significant effect on the evolution of a particular population or species. Indeed, many evolutionary biologists view domestication as a type of natural selection and adaptive change that occurs as organisms are brought under the control of human beings.

(Bold emphasis mine)


A number of famous dictators are/were cat-haters.  Not hard to see why. As an atheist, I admire above all the cat's independence.  I don't respect the dog's slobbering affection.  I hate when a dog jumps on me (lost some friends that way).  Our cat is extremely affectionate.  She can hang around with us, but she often keeps her distance, preferring to watch everything from a high shelf perch, and has places where she can hide from us in our own house.

I also hate  when people say cats all have the same 'purrrrrsonalities'! lol.  We have 3 cats and they all have their own!

It does seem to be a trend, in society, and here on this discussion. Most people who state they prefer dogs over cats, for whatever reasons... usually they are stating falseties about cats, such as "uncaring", too "independent", too "food driven only", bla bla bla.  People who have cats who display such characteristics, I'd say it says more about the owners treatment of the cat, rather than the cat itself. Such cats as cat "dissers" describe... I find to be extremely rare. :)

I've had a number of cats and dogs and like them both. Animals bring a great deal to life. I regret the periods when I couldn't keep a cat or a dog.

For the last fifteen years I've had dogs, first a Great Dane/Shepherd mix who was very intelligent and now what the vet says is a Portuguese Mountain Dog, Baxter, whom I got from the animal shelter. He had been wounded in the side with a pellet gun and abused, so he was very shy. One family had returned him because he wouldn't come into the house. Baxter was near the end of his allowed time at the shelter and I could not refuse to take him. We've had him nearly four years and he is a perfect gentleman, quiet, very affectionate, and obedient—and a definite leaner.

Dr. Allan, I LOVE your dog!  That is SO AWESOME that you saved him!  I totally agree that animals add a great deal to life.  I would be so unhappy without them.  They are love and entertainment too!  My husband has a Corvette and goes to see drag-races, etc. and says I never spend money on myself, but I do!!!  I told him a dog and 3 cats cost a lot, and then he had the lightbulb moment! lol.  They are worth every penny!!~ Melinda

His only real fault is that he sheds like there's no tomorrow. I had to get a Dyson animal vacuum cleaner and his fur even clogs that, but he is so sweet we forgive him. The heat here is hard on him, but when it's cold he loves to be outside.

The other thing is he kills rabbits. He catches them by the neck and it's all over in one shake. Of course he brings his trophy into the house and lays it on the oriental rug in the living room for all to see. He's gotten three in the time we've had him. I don't like to kill anything, but it's in his nature.

My dog, Meeka, is a rescue, too.  I'm told that she's a German Shepherd and Shar Pei cross.  She looks a lot more shepherd, though.  She has chased a few rabbits but is especially interested in mice and has actually caught and killed one since we got her (adopted her last April).  She was more than a year old when we got her so we decided to keep the name with which she came, since she was already used to it.

The dog we had before her was a pedigreed pug and he was a great companion but the health problems he had as a consequence of being a purebred convinced me to go for mixed breeds from now on.  He died at the age of 11.  Most small breeds live longer than large dogs but pugs, because of the way their face is built, typically live for only 10 or 12 years.  So, his death at 11 was very painful for us but not a surprise.

Meeka is about 18 months old.  Her first year or so of life consisted of being confined to a back porch on a short line, so she's got some issues but we can work on that.  She's beautiful, she's affectionate, and she's full of energy.  The latter provides me with motivation to get away from the computer at least twice a day and get some exercise. 

There are trails in the bush nearby where I can let her off the leash and she'll run beside my mountain bike for miles (I love cats but let's see a cat do that!), obviously having a great time while satisfying various instincts and burning off excess energy, allowing her to be comfortable and appropriate inside our home afterward.  Good for me, good for her, good for the family.


Brad, your dog is beautiful too!  That's so cool that she runs with you while you bike.  Our Lab, 9 years, won't even walk on a leash properly and gets extremely nervous riding in a car. lol.  The older she gets, the more anxiety!  We love her a lot though and she is a big baby!

What a beautiful dog! I've had several shepherds and shepherd mixes over the years—Michael, Jette, Weierstrass, and Bandit—and they were all intelligent companions. They learn quickly. You're right to exercise her as much as you can. That will calm her down.

I like large breeds even though they don't live as long. When Baxter's predecessor (Bandit) died at the animal oncology center here, fifteen family members and friends came to see him off. The vet said that when she dies she wants to come back as our dog—she had never seen a dog with so many people attached.

Bandit even made the newspapers once. A teenager took him to her girls softball game at the high school while I was traveling. He sat patiently with her team while she pitched, but when someone hit a grounder, Bandit fielded it. The umpire was at a loss how to call the play. "Too many men" didn't seem to quite suit the situation.

What a great story about Bandit!!  TOO Cute!!!


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