Article on Scientific American website about Asperger's manages to attack atheists.

People with Asperger's less likely to see purpose behind the events...

The article covers a study done by a graduate student and an experimental psychologist where they interviewed people diagnosed with Asperger's about major events in their lives (an illness or meeting a significant other), trying to find their reasonings for the cause of the events. After interviewing Asperger's patients they interviewed atheists and found we had similar answers (i. e. natural causes) as Asperger's patients. Claiming that people that don't attribute things happening as part of a plan have an impaired "theory of mind."

I understand where they're going, but this is a ridiculous article.

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Replies to This Discussion

I read that, too! Dx

I concluded, however, Atheists are strong enough in mind to defend themselves against Asperger's accusations.
They must've changed the article, because the one that I read spelled out clearly that the atheists in question were neurotypical, but while they initially used teleological explanations, they then rejected them in favor of reality-based explanations. It does seem a little unusual that atheists, specifically, were used in the 2nd experiment, but there wasn't anything in the article to suggest that atheists were unusual in any way.
I guess this implies that folks with Asperger's are are as smart as atheists. I know several adolescents with Asp., and although socially very awkward, they are all quite intelligent.

Wondering why the researchers choose to compare atheists to asperger's leads me the speculate that she was more concerned with studying teleological thinking than she was asperger's. It would be interesting to see an interview with the researchers to explore this.
Joe: I guess this implies that folks with Asperger's are are as smart as atheists.

And I know a few atheists that are as smart as aspies. Not a lot, but they do exist. There are even a few atheists that understand asperger's is not an intellectual retardation disability. Go figure.
There are even a few atheists that understand asperger's is not an intellectual retardation disability. Go figure.

Yes, thank you. Social Retardation does not equal Mental Retardation. I can reverse-engineer my starter switch and repair it with a toothpick and a pair of tweezers, but am completely lost when I have to dress for a wedding.
Jo, dressing for a wedding is easy. You just cut the blue wire, not the red wire. Oh, wait, that's defusing bombs. Um, put on clean clothes and comb your hair? There's probably more to it than that, isn't there?
See this is part of my Autism/Asperger's that I see as a pro, not a con. When I was very little (5, 6) I described it as "I think in lines while everyone else around me thinks in circles."

As I got older the realization hit that the step by step, cause-and-effect, occam's razor, logical type thinking that comes so naturally to me, not only doesn't come naturally to everyone, but some people seem to have an absolute incapability of grasping it. And I in turn have an inability to grasp how their circular thinking works; how they can stand being inside their own minds.

So yeah, I'm betting those are religious neurotypicals that would see our "thinking in lines" as an impairment while their own "thinking in circles" is the natural way.

I like my lines, thank you.
The middle way is often the best:


Although people will likely give you stares if you dare to say "I think in solenoids" in public.
Although people will likely give you stares if you dare to say "I think in solenoids" in public.

:-)
Most people would not know what this means. The humming and clacking sounds might get a few quizzical looks, though.
While I don't have Asperger's, I understand the linear thinking of which you write. I have always looked at problems and a way to understand reality in the same way; as such, have difficulty understanding how people can exist with the type of circular thinking in which they engage. It's a useless method of problem solving and certainly can't be used to advance knowledge. It does, however, allow one to live, blissfully ignorant, in the disconnected world of the theist mythology.
Theory of mind is extremely valuable. It enables morality. But it can easily be mistaken, ascribing intent where none exists. It inhabits the language, with the word "why" containing the idea that there must be an actor behind the answer, rendering it misleading (circular) in situations where there is none. "Why" is the single most damaging word in human discourse because of its unnoticed implications. "How" is always applicable.

If Aspberger's folks have a harder time seeing a mind behind a phenomenon, and theists have a harder time seeing that there isn't a mind, atheists have the option of deciding whether there is one.

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