From “Is atheism linked to autism? Controversial study points to relationship between the two”
(Daily Mail, September 20, 2011), we learn,
The study authors, Catherine Caldwell-Harris and Patrick MacNamara studied discussions by 192 different posters on an autism website. They also looked at a survey of 61 people with high-functioning autism, and graphed against results from the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) test.
The results appeared to show that those with high AQ scores were ‘more likely’ to be atheists.
In the group of high-functioning autistic individuals, 26 per cent were atheists, compared to 16 per cent of ‘neurotypical’ individuals.
Here at UD News, we don’t tend to think much of this kind of study. We ran the “fat atheists” schtick as a joke, really, to make a point about stereotyping. But some do take it seriously:
Rajib Khan, writing on Discover Magazine’s ‘Gene Expression’ blog wrote, ‘I doubt this is going to surprise too many people. Additionally, we need to be careful about generalizing here.
Couple things to keep in mind: We do need to be careful about generalizing here. The true causes of autism are unknown. There is reasonable doubt whether everyone described as “autistic” experiences the same problems, from the same causes. Is it true that the autistic computer genius has the same problems as the withdrawn five-year-old who can’t speak or dress himself? Or the Aspergers guy who is painful to live or work with, because he seems to have no theory of mind and can’t be made to understand why that is a problem?
We’d keep those things in mind before drawing any conclusions about autism and atheism.
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Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose