Atheism Genetics Intelligent Design

Neuroskeptic: Atheists are NOT genetically damaged

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File:DNA simple.svg 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

10 Replies to “Neuroskeptic: Atheists are NOT genetically damaged

  1. 1
    Brother Brian says:

    I don’t believe in the concept of a God gene, or an atheist gene. If there is any genetic link I suspect that it is an “unintended consequence”. I have mentioned this before, but as far as I know, we are the only animal that “knows” with certainty that our lives are finite. I’m pretty sure my cat believes that he is the centre of the universe and immortal. Given that we are thinking, rational and intensely curious animals, animals that are also intensely communal, this knowledge must inevitably lead to the question “WHY?”. What is our purpose? What is the meaning of of our lives? Postulating the existence of deities, and seeing them in our daily lives, provides some of these answers, even if they are not true. Once deities are considered to be a very real possibility, organized religion can’t be far behind. The benefit organized religion brings to the table is continual reinforcement for the existence of our deities and mutual support within a community. All very positive things, for the most part.

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    First off Dutton is extremely intellectually dishonest !!! He says what he says to get attension a lot of his studies are handwaving, he ignores current studies that don’t support him. I looked up several studies in fact there are hundreds of studies that you can easily Google about religiosity and handedness! He ignores all of their results.

    His sample size is small and from a very predominantly atheist a country and furthermore he equates atheism to having a mutational load that is the cause for left-handedness this is utterly ridiculous as there been multiple studies that have shown that handedness one way or the other makes you more religious or more extreme in your point of view. Those that were Ambidexterous Actually were the ones that had a tendency to be more atheistic and not only that but there was a correlation between schizophrenia and left-handedness and ambidexterity. These people were more skeptical of God but at the exact same time we’re prone to believe in magic mysticism and ghost

    For the point of people that are autistic, The reason why is they are more attracted to things that are more concrete and there is a high probability that they do not have the facilities to actually think about an abstract concept like God and will not except it. this is been hypothesize for awhile. Furthermore just because the fact that you’re autistic did not guarantee that you would be an atheist

    And asked for ambidextrous people my mother and I are both ambidexterous and we are both artists. We would be considered outliers as we are both very religious people and we also do not make sense because according to the culture of today artistic people that are ambidextrous should be atheistic or agnostic.

    This whole debate which was initiated by anti theists first. it’s absolutely ludicrous. One side decided that it was instinctual to be religious and obviously the other side of promoted itself is being the only way to outdo it’s instincts. And of course if you turn the tables they’re going to fight back. Maybe if one side didn’t discredit the other side is being nothing more than a dumb animal and then being enlightened this type of argument wouldn’t happen

  3. 3
    News says:

    I’m sure it’s all nonsense but then so are a lot of studies about non-atheists. Interesting to see it turned around. 😉

  4. 4
    AaronS1978 says:

    Agreed, I’ve heard every single story about how religion is some evolutionary adaptation as long as religion is instinctual and not a choice it just means that we are following our program and only atheists are capable of standing above that instinctual program that we have that we are obviously not aware of

    That has been the message of many genetic determinists who are incredibly atheistic and who loath religion. It’s them dictating a narrative and then using science to back up their narrative. What’s funny is it works both ways. The weapon that they used against the religious can be used against them with equal efficiency and can take their point of view and make it look just as defective as anything else.

    Determinism is very dangerous and it does not play a favorite. It will consume anyone it’s pointed at and it doesn’t matter how smart you are, in fact that’s what’s really funny about it, everybody is stupid in the eyes of determinism because intelligence doesn’t really exist, you’re just doing what you were going to do no matter what because that’s what you were program to do from your environment to your genetics to chance

    No amount of intellect can surpass this. It is its own trap and it is equally effective against everyone, so I do not understand certain points of view because it literally shoots them in the foot just as much as it shoots us.

    And as per Dutton he is nothing but nonsense I’m not saying that genetics can’t play any role in your decision, they canard do, that’s that feeling you get when making decisions, but also that feeling can completely be changed by your environment and yourself. And alcohol ha! Kidding bad joke.

  5. 5
    Bob O'H says:

    Perhaps I read too many comics as a kid, but I became a left-handed atheist because I wanted to be a mutant.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    Atheism has nothing to offer. It is basically just a life-style of denial.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    As to this claim from the article,

    Dutton et al. claim (mostly on the basis of a review of previous literature) that atheists have elevated rates of proxy measures of genetic health or ‘mutational load’, namely ill-health, autism, and left-handedness. This, they say, is consistent with atheism being a manifestation of “increasing genetic mutation affecting the mind”.

    The claim that atheists suffer from more ill-health, both mentally and physically, than Theists suffer is a true claim.

    As Professor Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, states, “The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.”,,, “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life;,,”

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100

    In fact, in the following study it was found that, “those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%.”

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.

    And the following study found that the religiously affiliated lived 9.45 and 5.64 years longer, respectively, than the nonreligiously affiliated.

    Study: Religiously affiliated people lived “9.45 and 5.64 years longer…”
    July 1, 2018
    Excerpt: Self-reported religious service attendance has been linked with longevity. However, previous work has largely relied on self-report data and volunteer samples. Here, mention of a religious affiliation in obituaries was analyzed as an alternative measure of religiosity. In two samples (N = 505 from Des Moines, IA, and N = 1,096 from 42 U.S. cities), the religiously affiliated lived 9.45 and 5.64 years longer, respectively, than the nonreligiously affiliated. Additionally, social integration and volunteerism partially mediated the religion–longevity relation.

    Can Religion Extend Your Life? – By Chuck Dinerstein — June 16, 2018
    Excerpt: The researcher’s regression analysis suggested that the effect of volunteering and participation accounted for 20% or 1 year of the impact, while religious affiliation accounted for the remaining four years or 80%.

    As to genetics in particular, it is interesting to note that since unguided Darwinian processes have never shown the origination of a single gene/protein,,,

    Stephen Meyer Critiques Richard Dawkins’s “Mount Improbable” Illustration – video

    Dan S. Tawfik Group – The New View of Proteins – Tyler Hampton – 2016
    Excerpt: Tawfik soberly recognizes the problem. The appearance of early protein families, he has remarked, is “something like close to a miracle.”45,,,
    “In fact, to our knowledge,” Tawfik and Tóth-Petróczy write, “no macromutations … that gave birth to novel proteins have yet been identified.”69

    ,,,since unguided Darwinian processes have never shown the origination of a single gene/protein, then it is very interesting to note that the genetic responses of humans are designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonic and ‘noble’ moral happiness:

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”

    Apparently, the forsaking of God in general, and the forsaking of objective morality in particular, via ‘hedonic moral happiness’, does indeed have a dramatic negative impact on the genetic responses of humans.

    In the article they further noted that

    We know from genetics (the real kind) that there are hundreds of genes that, when mutated, can cause intellectual disability.

    Whether the atheistic author realizes it or not, this “hundreds of genes’ fact undermines his Darwinian worldview from within. Dawkins’ ‘selfish gene’ concept, via the modern synthesis of neo-Darwinism, is more of less directly based on Darwin’s own ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking about competition. Yet genes are now found to be anything but selfish. Instead of genes being ‘selfish’, genes are now found to be existing in a holistic web of mutual interdependence and cooperation (the antithesis of selfishness).

    What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything? – JUN 16, 2017
    Excerpt: If you told a modern geneticist that a complex trait—whether a physical characteristic like height or weight, or the risk of a disease like cancer or schizophrenia—was the work of just 15 genes, they’d probably laugh. It’s now thought that such traits are the work of thousands of genetic variants, working in concert. The vast majority of them have only tiny effects, but together, they can dramatically shape our bodies and our health. They’re weak individually, but powerful en masse.

    Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait – June 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Mutations of a single gene are behind sickle cell anemia, for instance, and mutations in another are behind cystic fibrosis.
    But unfortunately for those who like things simple, these conditions are the exceptions. The roots of many traits, from how tall you are to your susceptibility to schizophrenia, are far more tangled. In fact, they may be so complex that almost the entire genome may be involved in some way,,,
    One very early genetic mapping study in 1999 suggested that “a large number of loci (perhaps > than 15)” might contribute to autism risk, recalled Jonathan Pritchard, now a geneticist at Stanford University. “That’s a lot!” he remembered thinking when the paper came out.
    Over the years, however, what scientists might consider “a lot” in this context has quietly inflated. Last June, Pritchard and his Stanford colleagues Evan Boyle and Yang Li (now at the University of Chicago) published a paper about this in Cell that immediately sparked controversy, although it also had many people nodding in cautious agreement. The authors described what they called the “omnigenic” model of complex traits. Drawing on GWAS analyses of three diseases, they concluded that in the cell types that are relevant to a disease, it appears that not 15, not 100, but essentially all genes contribute to the condition. The authors suggested that for some traits, “multiple” loci could mean more than 100,000.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Such ‘holistic cooperation’ of genes is, needless to say, the exact polar opposite of being ‘selfish’. (And should, if Darwinism were a normal science instead of being basically a religion for atheists, count as a direct falsification of the theory).

    As to this claim from the article,

    “Many studies show that atheists are more intelligent, on average, than religious believers”

    The claim from atheists that they are more, of all things, INTELLIGENT than everybody else is a wildly ironic claim for atheists to make since, as every Intelligent Design advocate knows all too well, Darwinian Atheists are completely blind to the prior activity of Intelligence. And if atheists cannot recognize the prior activity of Intelligence, then it certainly does not follow that they will be reliable judges as to who is more intelligent than whom.

    In fact, it is now found that Atheists suffer from the mental illness of ‘denialism’ when it comes to recognizing the prior activity of Intelligence.

    Studies establish that the design inference is ‘knee jerk’ inference that is built into everyone, especially including atheists, and that atheists have to mentally work suppressing their “knee jerk” design inference!

    Is Atheism a Delusion?

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.

    Richard Dawkins take heed: Even atheists instinctively believe in a creator says study – Mary Papenfuss – June 12, 2015
    Excerpt: Three studies at Boston University found that even among atheists, the “knee jerk” reaction to natural phenomenon is the belief that they’re purposefully designed by some intelligence, according to a report on the research in Cognition entitled the “Divided Mind of a disbeliever.”
    The findings “suggest that there is a deeply rooted natural tendency to view nature as designed,” writes a research team led by Elisa Järnefelt of Newman University. They also provide evidence that, in the researchers’ words, “religious non-belief is cognitively effortful.”
    Researchers attempted to plug into the automatic or “default” human brain by showing subjects images of natural landscapes and things made by human beings, then requiring lightning-fast responses to the question on whether “any being purposefully made the thing in the picture,” notes Pacific-Standard.
    “Religious participants’ baseline tendency to endorse nature as purposefully created was higher” than that of atheists, the study found. But non-religious participants “increasingly defaulted to understanding natural phenomena as purposefully made” when “they did not have time to censor their thinking,” wrote the researchers.
    The results suggest that “the tendency to construe both living and non-living nature as intentionally made derives from automatic cognitive processes, not just practised explicit beliefs,” the report concluded.
    The results were similar even among subjects from Finland, where atheism is not a controversial issue as it can be in the US.
    “Design-based intuitions run deep,” the researchers conclude, “persisting even in those with no explicit religious commitment and, indeed, even among those with an active aversion to them.”

    Perhaps the two most famous quotes of atheists suppressing their innate ‘design inference’ are the following two quotes:

    “Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”
    Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit

    i.e. It is not that Atheists do not see purpose and/or Design in nature, it is that Atheists, for whatever severely misguided reason, live in denial of the purpose and/or Design that they themselves see in nature. And yes, denialism is considered a mental illness.

    I hold the preceding studies to be confirming evidence for Romans1:19-23

    since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
    For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    And although atheists often self proclaim that they are wise and “Bright”, much more so than those supposed rubes who gullibly believe in God, there is much evidence to suggest that our supposedly intellectual superiors are not being forthright in their self promoting measure of intelligence.

    Atheists embarrassed: study proves atheism uses less brain function – Oct 26, 2015 by Dr. Joel McDurmon
    Excerpt: This has to be embarrassing . . . if you’re an atheist. A new study performed at the University of York used targeted magnetism to shut down part of the brain. The result: belief in God disappeared among more than 30 percent of participants.
    That in itself may not seem so embarrassing, but consider that the specific part of the brain they frazzled was the posterior medial frontal cortex—the part associated with detecting and solving problems, i.e., reasoning and logic.
    In other words, when you shut down the part of the brain most associated with logic and reasoning, greater levels of atheism result.
    You’ve heard the phrase, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”? Apparently we can now also say, “I have too many brains to be an atheist.”
    For a group that makes so much noise vaunting its superior prowess with logic and reasoning, this study has got to be quite a deflator. For a group that claims to be rooted primarily in logic and reason, and to exist for little reason other than that they have used logic and reason to free themselves from belief in God and, as they allege, superstition and fairy tales, this study is the equivalent of a public depanting­—i.e., the would-be emperor’s got no clothes.

    Romans 1:28
    Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

    In fact, “the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.”

    Look Who’s Irrational Now – 2008
    Excerpt: “What Americans Really Believe,” a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.

    Don’t Believe in God? Maybe You’ll Try U.F.O.s
    Excerpt: People who do not frequently attend church are twice as likely to believe in ghosts as those who are regular churchgoers. The less religious people are, the more likely they are to endorse empirically unsupported ideas about U.F.O.s, intelligent aliens monitoring the lives of humans and related conspiracies about a government cover-up of these phenomena.

    Also of related note:

    Were the Greatest Philosophers Theists or Atheists?
    Excerpt: 1. Plato (c. 429-347 BC)
    2. Aristotle (384-322 BC)
    3. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274)
    4. René Descartes (1596-1650)
    5. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
    6. Socrates (c. 470-399 BC)
    7. Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677)
    The first seven philosophers on my list are great philosophers, the rest are important but not great.,,,
    The greatest philosophers on my list are Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Socrates, and Spinoza. All of these are theists of one sort or another. But even if Spinoza is excluded, that leaves six out of seven. And if you argue that Aristotle’s Prime Mover is not God in any serious sense, then I’ve still got five out of seven.
    If you say I rigged my list so that theists come out on top, I will deny the charge and argue that I used independent criteria (listed above). But if you disagree my assessment, I will consider it par for the course.

    Out Of The Top 10 Most Intelligent People In The World: At Least 8 Think God Exists And 6 are Believing Christians – By Dr. Scott M. Sullivan – September 14, 2015
    Excerpt: Ever heard an atheist claim that only idiots believe in the existence of God? Steve Williams at the examiner has an article that says that out of 10 highest IQ’s on earth, at least 8 are Theists, at least 6 are Christians.
    Some notable intellectuals who believe in God and made the list are:
    1. Andrew Magdy Kamal – apparently the highest IQ ever recorded, at 231.734.
    2. Abdessellam Jelloul – apparently the highest IQ ever scored by an adult- an adult IQ of 198
    3. Christopher Michael Langan – has a verified IQ of at least 195
    4. Christopher Hirata – has a verified IQ of 225
    5. Evangelos Katsioulis – has apparently scored a 198 as an adult.
    6. Rick Rosner – has apparently scored a 192 as an adult,
    7. Mislav Predavec – has apparently scored a 192
    8. Gary Kasparov – is alleged to have an IQ of 190
    9. Kenneth Ferrell – has apparently scored a 190
    Now to be sure, none of this is to be taken as an argument for God’s existence, nor is it a claim about the relevancy of IQ tests regarding this question. But since no one would deny the intelligence of these people, it is, at least, yet another example of how off base many claims made by modern atheists can be.

    The following expert holds that the IQ difference that Atheists often taught to prove they are much smarter than Theists, is, in reality, statistically insignificant

    The myth of the smarter Atheist – August 24, 2014
    This is where we have to think about effect size vs. statistical significance. The most religious adults had an average IQ of 97.14, whereas the atheist adults had an average IQ of 103.09. That may seem like a wide gap — 6 whole IQ points — until we remember that anyone in the IQ range of 90-109 is classified as having “average intelligence.” Thinking about this in practical terms: Would you be able to tell the difference between someone with a 97 IQ and someone with a 103 IQ? It’s highly unlikely.
    So really, all Kanazawa showed is that the average person has average intelligence regardless of how religious they are.

    Thus in conclusion, all in all whilst Atheists can boast a few statistically insignificant IQ points advantage over the Theist, yet when looking at the whole picture, it becomes clear that the atheists is actually living his overall life much in a more unintelligent fashion than Theists,

    Are atheists mentally ill? – August 14th, 2013 – Sean Thomas
    Excerpt: “Let’s dispense with the crude metric of IQ and look at the actual lives led by atheists, and believers, and see how they measure up. In other words: let’s see who is living more intelligently. And guess what: it’s the believers. A vast body of research, amassed over recent decades, shows that religious belief is physically and psychologically beneficial – to a remarkable degree.,,,
    [I hope this next part doesn’t upset too many people, but…] the evidence today implies that atheism is a form of mental illness. And this is because science is showing that the human mind is hard-wired for faith… religious people have all their faculties intact, they are fully functioning humans. Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands.”
    per the telegraph


    Romans 1:22
    Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

  9. 9
    AaronS1978 says:

    Bob O’H
    March 19, 2019 at 2:52 am
    Perhaps I read too many comics as a kid, but I became a left-handed atheist because I wanted to be a mutant.

    Not to worry I’m working on an anti-mutant program, That will be able to single out the mutant gene.
    I have in place thousands of robotic nuns with giant rulers that will smack the left handed out of you.
    Resistance is futile my sentinels cannot fail

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    “I once thought I was too smart to believe in God. Now I know I was an arrogant fool who snubbed the greatest Mind in the cosmos—the Author of all science, mathematics, art, and everything else there is to know.”

    An MIT Professor Meets the Author of All Knowledge
    I used to think religious people were ignoramuses. Then I got smart and took a chance on God.
    As early as grade school, when I was a voracious reader and a straight-A student, I identified with being smart. And I believed smart people didn’t need religion. As a result, I declared myself an atheist and dismissed people who believed in God as uneducated.
    In high school, I led a classroom debate team arguing for a godless form of evolution, confident my side would win because “this was science.” When the class voted and awarded victory to the creation side, I was dumbstruck. Most people didn’t understand science, I figured—either that, or they were unduly swayed by the most popular girl in class. She had a swimming pool in her backyard and threw fun parties.
    At the time, I babysat to earn money. One of my favorite families was a young couple; both the husband (a doctor) and the wife were really sharp. One night, after paying me, they invited me to church. I was stunned—people this smart actually went to church? When Sunday morning came around, I told them I had a stomachache. They invited me again the following week, but once more I came down with another phantom stomachache. The more they persisted, the more I struggled to invent convincing excuses. (You try faking an illness to a doctor.)
    Just a Phase?
    Eventually, the couple tried a different tack. “You know,” they said, “going to church is not what matters most. What matters is what you believe. Have you read the Bible?” I figured that if I wanted to be an educated person, I needed to read the best-selling book of all time. The doctor suggested starting with Proverbs, reading one chapter daily for a month. When I first opened the Bible—this was the King James Version—I expected to find phony miracles, made-up creatures, and assorted gobbledygook. To my surprise, Proverbs was full of wisdom. I had to pause while reading and think.
    I quietly bought a modern translation called The Way and read through the entire Bible. While I never heard actual voices or anything to justify summoning a neurologist, I felt this strange sense of being spoken to. It was disturbing yet oddly attractive. I began wondering whether there really might be a God.,,,
    Today, I am a professor at the top university (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in my field. I have incredible colleagues who have helped translate my lab research into difference-making products—including a smart watch that helps caregivers save the lives of people with epilepsy. I work closely with people whose lives are filled with medical struggles, people whose children are not healthy. I do not have adequate answers to explain all their suffering. But I know there is a God of unfathomable greatness and love who freely enters into relationship with all who confess their sins and call upon his name.
    I once thought I was too smart to believe in God. Now I know I was an arrogant fool who snubbed the greatest Mind in the cosmos—the Author of all science, mathematics, art, and everything else there is to know. Today I walk humbly, having received the most undeserved grace. I walk with joy, alongside the most amazing Companion anyone could ask for, filled with desire to keep learning and exploring.

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