Declining Empathy and Atheism
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14-01-2015, 11:11 AM
Declining Empathy and Atheism
There seems to be an overall decline in empathy among society as whole. There are several studies indicating this:

Quote:"We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000," said Sara Konrath, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research. "College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.""

http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/7724

Another study suggests this decline is more pronounced between believers and unbelievers, often in the double digit range:

Quote:"The survey by a pollster at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, found that adults who profess a belief in God are significantly more likely than atheists to say that forgiveness, patience, generosity and a concern for others are "very important." In fact, the poll found that on 11 of 12 values, there was a double-digit gap between theists and atheists, with theists more likely to label each value "very important."

http://www.bpnews.net/26675

The demographics of atheism also shows that males are more attracted to atheism than females, as well as high-functioning autistics.

Quote:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2...LaVbFtLwfk

http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2...nt-page-1/

Both of these parties show less empathetic responses:

Quote:"Both sexes exhibited empathy-related activation in pain-related brain areas (fronto-insular and anterior cingulate cortices) towards fair players. However, these empathy-related responses were significantly reduced in males when observing an unfair person receiving pain."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2636868/

In regards to those on the austic-spectrum:

Quote:"[Autistic people] struggle with empathy just like zero negatives but it seems to be for very different reasons. I’m arguing that their low empathy is a result of a particular cognitive style, which is attentive to details and patterns or rules, which in shorthand, I call systemizing.

If we think about the autism spectrum as involving a very strong drive to systemize, that can have very positive consequences for the individual and for society. The downside is that when you try to systemize certain parts of the world like people and emotions, those sorts of phenomena are less lawful and harder to systemize. That can lead to having low empathy, almost like a byproduct of strong systemizing."

http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/30/mi...e-of-evil/

While the evidence doesn't suggest that atheism leads to a lack of empathy. It does seem to strongly suggest that those with a declined sense of empathy are attracted to atheism, and perhaps even a driving force for the growing population of unbelievers as a whole.

Another aspects that seems to be supportive of this, is the attraction to strong systemizing among many unbelievers, the appeals to the hard sciences, and methodologies, and perspectives of the world, that are highly dependent on such systemizing aspects, and a derogatory perspective on non-systemizing perspectives, and observations.

The less empathetic we are, whether because of genetic predispositions, or social and environmental factors, the more we seem to be attracted to systematic observations, and atheism. The decline in empathy, and growth of unbelievers is unlikely to be just coincidental, but seems to be a significant contributor to disbelief. This position seems to be strongly supported by a number of studies, several of which I've cited here.
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14-01-2015, 11:33 AM
RE: Declining Empathy and Atheism
(14-01-2015 11:11 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  There seems to be an overall decline in empathy among society as whole. There are several studies indicating this:

Quote:"We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000," said Sara Konrath, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research. "College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.""

http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/7724

Another study suggests this decline is more pronounced between believers and unbelievers, often in the double digit range:

Quote:"The survey by a pollster at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, found that adults who profess a belief in God are significantly more likely than atheists to say that forgiveness, patience, generosity and a concern for others are "very important." In fact, the poll found that on 11 of 12 values, there was a double-digit gap between theists and atheists, with theists more likely to label each value "very important."

http://www.bpnews.net/26675

The demographics of atheism also shows that males are more attracted to atheism than females, as well as high-functioning autistics.

Quote:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2...LaVbFtLwfk

http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2...nt-page-1/

Both of these parties show less empathetic responses:

Quote:"Both sexes exhibited empathy-related activation in pain-related brain areas (fronto-insular and anterior cingulate cortices) towards fair players. However, these empathy-related responses were significantly reduced in males when observing an unfair person receiving pain."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2636868/

In regards to those on the austic-spectrum:

Quote:"[Autistic people] struggle with empathy just like zero negatives but it seems to be for very different reasons. I’m arguing that their low empathy is a result of a particular cognitive style, which is attentive to details and patterns or rules, which in shorthand, I call systemizing.

If we think about the autism spectrum as involving a very strong drive to systemize, that can have very positive consequences for the individual and for society. The downside is that when you try to systemize certain parts of the world like people and emotions, those sorts of phenomena are less lawful and harder to systemize. That can lead to having low empathy, almost like a byproduct of strong systemizing."

http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/30/mi...e-of-evil/

While the evidence doesn't suggest that atheism leads to a lack of empathy. It does seem to strongly suggest that those with a declined sense of empathy are attracted to atheism, and perhaps even a driving force for the growing population of unbelievers as a whole.

Another aspects that seems to be supportive of this, is the attraction to strong systemizing among many unbelievers, the appeals to the hard sciences, and methodologies, and perspectives of the world, that are highly dependent on such systemizing aspects, and a derogatory perspective on non-systemizing perspectives, and observations.

The less empathetic we are, whether because of genetic predispositions, or social and environmental factors, the more we seem to be attracted to systematic observations, and atheism. The decline in empathy, and growth of unbelievers is unlikely to be just coincidental, but seems to be a significant contributor to disbelief. This position seems to be strongly supported by a number of studies, several of which I've cited here.

Besides correlation doesn't imply causation. You might draw those conclusions but it doesn't make them right.

It can easily be argued that religious people have less empathy since many are more than willing to cut out people and family that don't subscribe to their beliefs. I had a friend who was a Mormon and basically cut out of her family when she left the church.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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14-01-2015, 11:55 AM
RE: Declining Empathy and Atheism
(14-01-2015 11:11 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  While the evidence doesn't suggest that atheism leads to a lack of empathy. It does seem to strongly suggest that those with a declined sense of empathy are attracted to atheism, and perhaps even a driving force for the growing population of unbelievers as a whole.

Because acknowledging that we are all human, the results of billions of years of cosmic evolution that has resulted in scant amount of time we're allowed to experience and partake in this shared existence of the universe we call reality. The acknowledgement that we are not special or in any way cosmically significant, and that all we have to rely on is each other as we hurtle through the universe on our rock at 108,000 kilometer an hour around a massive ball of continuous nuclear fusion. But I'm sure that's far less emphatic than thinking you are special divine creation and a member of the one, and only one, correct religion of the one true god; and how sad it is for everyone else.

Right... Drinking Beverage



(14-01-2015 11:11 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Another aspects that seems to be supportive of this, is the attraction to strong systemizing among many unbelievers, the appeals to the hard sciences, and methodologies, and perspectives of the world, that are highly dependent on such systemizing aspects, and a derogatory perspective on non-systemizing perspectives, and observations.

Baptist Press News. With ZERO citation or attribution. EPIC FAIL.

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Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.


(14-01-2015 11:11 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  The less empathetic we are, whether because of genetic predispositions, or social and environmental factors, the more we seem to be attracted to systematic observations, and atheism. The decline in empathy, and growth of unbelievers is unlikely to be just coincidental, but seems to be a significant contributor to disbelief. This position seems to be strongly supported by a number of studies, several of which I've cited here.

As opposed to fact that the information age has made access to information easier than ever before. Now whenever a kid asks where rainbows come from and their grandparent tells them the story of the biblical Great Flood and Noah, that same kid can pull out their smartphone and within minutes can find out that their grandparent's are full of shit.

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14-01-2015, 12:09 PM
RE: Declining Empathy and Atheism
I'm with Moms. Correlation means nothing. What about the inclination of technology and its impact on physical social isolation? That's just one untested guess that seems more probable than atheism on the rise.
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14-01-2015, 12:11 PM
RE: Declining Empathy and Atheism
I'm reminded, once again, of the studies carried out by Jonathan Haidt.

http://www.moralfoundations.org/

1. Harm / care (empathy)
2. Fairness / cheating (reciprocity)
3. Liberty / oppression (freedom)
4. Loyalty / betrayal (in-group)
5. Authority / subversion (respect)
6. Sanctity / degradation (purity)

Tests show that the liberal-minded are more in tune with 1. 2. and 3. whereas conservatives value all six.

If the OP's conclusion is that conservatives are more likely to be atheists... nah! not buying it.

Quote:The demographics of atheism also shows that males are more attracted to atheism than females, as well as high-functioning autistics.

As a high-functioning autistic male, I find I'm attracted to both atheism and females.

Drinking Beverage

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14-01-2015, 12:21 PM
RE: Declining Empathy and Atheism
(14-01-2015 12:11 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
Quote:The demographics of atheism also shows that males are more attracted to atheism than females, as well as high-functioning autistics.

As a high-functioning autistic male, I find I'm attracted to both atheism and females.

Drinking Beverage

Made me laugh.

Joking aside though, this is true that males are more inclined to be atheist than women. The church goers in my life are more apt to be the wives dragging their families. This is because religion is highly emotionally manipulative and women tend to be preyed on more easily because of this. Women are taught and have evolved to outwardly feel more (not saying men don't feel, saying that the process is different)- and not just empathy. Fear is a big one too. People don't leave religion for atheism because they have less empathy, they leave because they recognize the logic, free from any irrational emotions.

I am guessing because someone who lives with autism has a more literal thought process, it may be easier to see when things don't add up (logical thinking).
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14-01-2015, 12:22 PM
RE: Declining Empathy and Atheism
"adults who profess a belief in God are significantly more likely than atheists to say that forgiveness, patience, generosity and a concern for others are "very important" - from your second cited source.


Sure they are more likely to SAY it cause that's the representation they want to put off, but like most Christians, what they say and what they do often don't match.
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14-01-2015, 12:25 PM
RE: Declining Empathy and Atheism
The fact that religious belief correlates negatively with autism makes me wonder how much emotion irrespective of logic plays a role in a person's religiosity. Given that many theistic arguments tend to be appeals to emotion, church offers a strong support group, and it's not uncommon for a family to ostracize an apostate, I think it's a lot.

Regarding the decline of empathy: we also don't live in as tight knit of communities as we used to, and society places a lot of value on staying busy. It wouldn't surprise me if this plays a role.
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14-01-2015, 12:30 PM
RE: Declining Empathy and Atheism
(14-01-2015 11:33 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Besides correlation doesn't imply causation. You might draw those conclusions but it doesn't make them right.

Well, this seems to be a lot more than just an uncanny coincidental correlation going on here. In fact the evidence I presented seems to be more suggestive of causation. In fact in a study regarding those on the autistic spectrum, and the appeal of atheism, the single defining factor was empathy:

Quote:"Not only that but, using a statistical technique called “bootstrapping”, they found that the most plausible explanation for the correlation was that autism was related to a lack of empathy, which in turn was related to lack of belief (see the figure).

In other words, lack of empathy was the ‘in between’ factor that mediated the relationship between autism and lack of belief."

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/epiphenom/2...nding.html

Quote:It can easily be argued that religious people have less empathy since many are more than willing to cut out people and family that don't subscribe to their beliefs. I had a friend who was a Mormon and basically cut out of her family when she left the church.

While there are religious people who are not that empathic, it would be difficult to argue that that their lack of empathy plays any real part in why they find religion appealing, or attractive, and in fact this would be counter intuitive. Why would someone who lacks empathy, want to be a part of a religious community, that likes to sing songs about God's love, and gives sermons primarily dealing with relational components, like forgiveness, and charity, and compassion, etc?

Wouldn't the prospect of sitting at home, reading about the mechanics of the cosmos, evolution, and mediums well attuned for objective removed reasoning, be more appealing?
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14-01-2015, 12:30 PM
RE: Declining Empathy and Atheism
http://www.totalcriminaldefense.com/blog...ion-jzbdg/

Tomasia - you are so desperately full of crap on your mission to project a non belief in gods to being a horrible and apathetic person. Do some more research on societal health related to religiosity of the nations of the world and see what you come up with.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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