Tourette Syndrome
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14-03-2015, 11:22 PM
Tourette Syndrome
I have Tourette Syndrome. Most people have no idea what that is so here's a short description. Tourette syndrome is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic. The tics are involuntary muscle movements which the patient cannot suppress since he/she does not anticipate them. My most common tic was to ball both my hands into fists and press them against my face. Other kids would ask me why I did that. I did not know why and I never knew I did it until after the fact. I no longer do that.

My second most common tic was/is to tense my entire body until I trembled. To onlookers it looks like I'm angry about something but I'm not. I used to make excuses by saying I was practicing "dynamic tension", a form of exercise where you tense your muscles against one another. I still have this tic occasionally.

I was not diagnosed until I was 40. We had taken my son to the hospital and by sheer chance one of the pediatricians there was an expert on Tourette's. He diagnosed my son as a Tourette's patient. As he listed my son's various symptoms had I realized he was describing me. He was also describing my father.

My father's chief symptom was echolalia. When you spoke to him in an emotionally charged situation his lips would move, copying what you were saying. Thus the term echolalia. It drove me nuts. I would yell at him "Quit doing that!" Of course he did not realize that he was doing it.

Tourette's is a disorder you literally grow out of. Symptoms become less severe as you grow older. There are drugs but often the treatment is to just explain to the patient what is going on. With that information you can adapt. That's what happened to me. At age 40 I suddenly realized that I was not a nut case. I recall a teacher telling me "There's something wrong with your mind." My mother once told me "You can keep yourself from doing that if you try." She was wrong of course.

A couple more things I have to cover before I get to the question I want to ask. First, many tourette's patients have a lesion in the frontal lobe of their brain. Second, many tourette's patients are gifted and/or have high intelligence. That's rather curious. It seems an injury to the brain somehow makes some people talented and smart. A lot of people with Tourette's know of this connection. The tics and the ridicule and the embarrassment was the price they paid for their talent and their intelligence. Most feel they got the better part of the trade.

I don't want to sound like I'm bragging or blowing my own horn but I can't get to the question I want to ask without pointing out that that describes me. I'm talented and smart. I have a measured IQ of 135. I have a Master's Degree in Physics.

Also, none of the above is a plea for sympathy or a cry for help. I've adapted and I'm happy. But lately one question has been bugging me.

Am I an atheist because I have Tourette's? Is my Tourette's the cause of my atheism?

That's it. I thank you for your attention and welcome your comments.

Sapere aude
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14-03-2015, 11:33 PM
RE: Tourette Syndrome
Quote:Am I an atheist because I have Tourette's? Is my Tourette's the cause of my atheism?

1. Are you angry that you have Tourette's, and you blame god?
2. Do you find it impossible for you to believe in a god because it's illogical to you?
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14-03-2015, 11:44 PM
RE: Tourette Syndrome
I don't see how the two equate in any way.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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14-03-2015, 11:50 PM
RE: Tourette Syndrome
I am no expert on Tourettes, but I am starting to look into it as my sisters girlfriend has an eight year old with the condition and we all share a large house, I want to understand him more so I can support him as he grows up.

Now to your question: personally I don't think a medical condition can cause the inability to believe in mythical beings, which defy logic and have no evidence in their favour.

I see it all the time that the opposite is used by some religious types. The old 'God took my sight so I could see the love of Jesus', etc.

I think if anything physiological is in part responsible for your atheism, then it is most likely your above average I.Q. It seems that in higher average I.Q. sampling's; there is more likelihood of atheism or at least agnosticism.

I am considered high I.Q. (never felt the need to be measured though) and also have Aspergers; but I am sure my lack of faith stems from my intelligence and ability to apply reason and logic to arguments for theism.

I Think; Therefore I Am....
...or is it the other way around?
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14-03-2015, 11:56 PM
RE: Tourette Syndrome
My youngest is on the autism spectrum, he truly cannot believe in god. He finds the idea nice, but can't accept the idea of it.

I would say his autism is mostly responsible for his lack of belief. Appeals to authority or special stories mean nothing to him. He requires facts to believe anything.

It can actually be annoying because "because I said so" totally doesn't work Dodgy He also can't grasp the ideas of love or hate.

So there's that.


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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15-03-2015, 12:02 AM
RE: Tourette Syndrome
I've noticed there seems to be a lot of people just on this forum that are on the autism spectrum (myself included). The link between autism and atheism is, to me, obvious.


Just noticing.....as you were.

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15-03-2015, 12:03 AM
RE: Tourette Syndrome
(14-03-2015 11:33 PM)pablo Wrote:  
Quote:Am I an atheist because I have Tourette's? Is my Tourette's the cause of my atheism?

1. Are you angry that you have Tourette's, and you blame god?
2. Do you find it impossible for you to believe in a god because it's illogical to you?
1. No.
2. Yes.

Sapere aude
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15-03-2015, 12:09 AM
RE: Tourette Syndrome
(15-03-2015 12:03 AM)f stop Wrote:  
(14-03-2015 11:33 PM)pablo Wrote:  1. Are you angry that you have Tourette's, and you blame god?
2. Do you find it impossible for you to believe in a god because it's illogical to you?
1. No.
2. Yes.

Do you think somehow Tourette's has fooled your brain into atheism?
I have Epilepsy and I've never made that connection between the two.
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15-03-2015, 08:20 PM
RE: Tourette Syndrome
(15-03-2015 12:09 AM)pablo Wrote:  
(15-03-2015 12:03 AM)f stop Wrote:  1. No.
2. Yes.

Do you think somehow Tourette's has fooled your brain into atheism?
I have Epilepsy and I've never made that connection between the two.
I'm thinking somehow Tourette's has damaged the theism center of my brain.

In a discussion with a theist I got agitated and ticced. When I told him about my Tourette's he said "Well, that explains your atheism." This happened Friday night.

Sapere aude
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15-03-2015, 08:26 PM
RE: Tourette Syndrome
(15-03-2015 08:20 PM)f stop Wrote:  
(15-03-2015 12:09 AM)pablo Wrote:  Do you think somehow Tourette's has fooled your brain into atheism?
I have Epilepsy and I've never made that connection between the two.
I'm thinking somehow Tourette's has damaged the theism center of my brain.

In a discussion with a theist I got agitated and ticced. When I told him about my Tourette's he said "Well, that explains your atheism." This happened Friday night.

Does this bother you?


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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