He marshalls reasons why not, in response to a recent claim:
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…
These arguments are unconvincing, to say the least. To take autism as an example, Dutton et al. cite a handful of small studies as suggesting that people with autism are more likely to be atheists. Even if this is true, it doesn’t mean that ‘mutational load’ is involved. It could just be that having autism makes you more likely to become an atheist – I don’t think this has ever been tested, but it seems plausible. Dutton et al. don’t consider this or any other non-genetic explanation for the correlation between atheism and autism. Neuroskeptic, “Are Atheists Genetically Damaged?” at Discover Magazine
Of course, the claim is nonsense but then those of us who have listened to rubbish about the God gene and such can’t help hiding a giggle. Hey, given that it’s Hate Your Local Atheist Week anyway, how about “Atheists have mutant genes, don’t live as long ” 😉
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See also: Atheists have mutant genes, don’t live as long
There’s a gene for that… or is there?
If naturalism can explain religion, why does it get so many basic facts wrong?
Evolutionary conundrum: is religion a useful, useless, or harmful adaptation?
Imagine a world of religions that naturalism might indeed be able to explain