People who are good at unconsciously discerning patterns are more likely to believe in a god, says study

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If the IQ theorists are correct (I don’t think they are), this would indicate that intelligence correlates with theism? hmmm



Fried potato with ‘face of Jesus Christ’ for sale on eBay


I think this has far more to do with an enhanced ability to establish Pareidolia than anything else.



Our hypothesis is that people whose brains are good at subconsciously discerning patterns in their environment may ascribe those patterns to the hand of a higher power.

He added, “The results were statistically significant, but very subtle. It took a great deal of ingenuity and insight on the part of many researchers to determine the validity of this correlation between pattern-recognition ability and believe in a divinity. I join my team in praising God for the mathematical gifts He has bestowed on us.”


Interesting. I’m rather good at patterns, but utterly non-religious. As are many of my friends.


But how “good” are they at not seeing a pattern if one isn’t there…


This would, indeed, be the acid test.


Given that God works in mysterious ways (and these ways are identical to random chance), you would think that the ability to recognize patterns would mitigate AGAINST believing in God. Less willing to fall for confirmation bias, etc.


It does seem a bit counter intuitive (nicer way to say spurious) in that religion relies on … ya know … ‘faith’ to fill in all those logical gaps to explain the things they believe in.

maybe theres a difference between simply recognizing an ‘implied’ visual pattern, and the kind of ‘applied’ pattern recognition that you me and others who are not believers are able to use (or at times ignore) in our lives.

Sounds similar to conspiracy theorists who can’t accept a complex and random world so invent a ‘pattern’ so it makes sense to them.


I’m happy to report that my atheism is a result of me knowing that I discern patterns.


That potato chip looked more like fetus Voldemort in the last Harry Potter movie.

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A doube Banana Where is your god now

There’s a weird theory that this [selectively bred] crop was designed by god to fit our hands.


Brains are pretty weird (hence the higher incidence of religiosity among neuroscientists), but it seems fairly intuitive that a brain wired to more easily see patterns when they’re there would also be more likely to see patterns that aren’t there.


This looks more like noise in the data, to me. Or post-hoc cherry picking by religious “researchers”.

A lot of atheists like me are in jobs which require better-than-average pattern identification abilities - and none of us have seen patterns that could only be explained by supernatural causes. It’s a foolish conclusion.

What we HAVE seen is a lot of really bad, non-reproducible studies and illogical conclusions touted by psychologists.


When you say “this looks like noise in the data”, you mean you read their paper and dismissed the statistically significant finding they showed?

Or you just spouted off some confirmation bias here.

Trying to understand whether I should respond seriously to your comment.

@semiotix - what you did there, I see it. :wink:

More simply: having a high likelihood of finding patterns means you find patterns even when there aren’t any.

There’s degrees here. There’s a link between high IQ and certain types of mental illnesses - being really, really good at “seeing patterns” turns into “you’re so good at seeing patterns, you even see them when they aren’t there.” This is part of why it’s so hard to quantify, much less increase, “intelligence” - you can’t just take a cognitive process and ramp it up to make someone (or something) smarter. The thing that makes someone get called a “genius” can also get them considered “crazy.”

But there’s always this leap, that discerning people would not necessarily make.

That is, sure, perhaps you perceive “a higher power.” But how would that “higher power” in any be related to the (current) selection of godheads we have arrayed for us as candidates for the one true God. Every one of them seems to be an angry Dad. Not one of them conveys scientifically useful information before it’s independently discovered (eg, wash your hands, menstruation is normal, Earth is a planet in a solar system). When the real God makes his appearance, we will be blown away by his/her actual revelation.

Oh, also, when this “God” does make his appearance, won’t it creep anyone out that, by definition, s/he is an alien extraterrestrial?
            By definition, he is not of us: he is not human. “He” has no gender. He is an alien.
            By definition, he is not from Earth. He is extraterrestrial.
            Plus, even if God is God (that is, all-powerful creator of the Universe), we, as humans limited to this solar system, will no way of discerning between this God and some lesser god (or product of an alien civilization), who is greatly powerful, but not all-powerful. We can’t “check God’s ID”. We could be worshipping the “wrong” God and not even knowing it!

</atheist screed>

And I took it as such! But on the subject of "praising God for the mathematical gifts He has bestowed on us.”— you will find actual posters to that effect littering Catholic schools:
(a compressed and corrupted quote the Catholic church unironically steals from Galileo)

I was genuinely just making a silly joke.

That said, if I were to make my own <atheist_screed>, which as a confirmed and consecrated atheist I would be entitled to do, it would probably be something along the lines of “it’s not so much that pattern-recognition capability leads to belief in the divine, as that it leads to confidence in one’s own epistemological certainty, which may lend itself to strong claims about the existence or non-existence of divinity.”

That’s not aimed at you. Just sayin’!

That is, I’d say all that IF this pattern-recognition pattern holds up to scrutiny! Which I suppose I shouldn’t assume having read one internet blurb about one study. (Failure to wait for replication is a sin and I’d probably have to do penance. :wink: )

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