Are Atheists Genetically Damaged?

I’m lInking to this article for its novel combination of two forum topic areas.
I’m not making any claim about the quality of the paper’s arguments, although these seem pretty iffy, based on the Neuroskeptic comments and a quick skim of the article itself.

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Is this another in Springer’s new line of predatory, pay-to-play, online journals?

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No idea if it’s pay-to-play, but it’s an evo-psych journal, which is probably bad enough. Here’s the abstract:

Industrialisation leads to relaxed selection and thus the accumulation of fitness-damaging genetic mutations. We argue that religion is a selected trait that would be highly sensitive to mutational load. We further argue that a specific form of religiousness was selected for in complex societies up until industrialisation based around the collective worship of moral gods. With the relaxation of selection, we predict the degeneration of this form of religion and diverse deviations from it. These deviations, however, would correlate with the same indicators because they would all be underpinned by mutational load. We test this hypothesis using two very different deviations: atheism and paranormal belief. We examine associations between these deviations and four indicators of mutational load: (1) poor general health, (2) autism, (3) fluctuating asymmetry, and (4) left-handedness. A systematic literature review combined with primary research on handedness demonstrates that atheism and/or paranormal belief is associated with all of these indicators of high mutational load.

Wow. I got nothin’.

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If you were standing next to Stephen Jay Gould’s grave you would probably hear a muffled, “Spandrels, you nincompoops!”.

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