Thursday, November 18, 2010

People With Asperger's Don't Think Teleologically

Whereas neurotypical atheists DO, but we then reject said teleological reasoning.

This is interesting, but not that surprising. It supports Pascal Boyer's argument that theism and supernatural beliefs in general are in part the result of an overactive agency detection module; consequently, if your agency detection module is down-regulated as it is in Asperger's, you won't be as likely to be religious. A few years ago after I read Boyer's excellent Religion Explained, I talked about this with someone who works with autistic kids and she said she hadn't noticed any trend toward non-religiousness in her kids. Then again, such an exchange is purely anecdotal, regardless which answer it gave.

What's interesting is that you can over-stimulate your agency detector pharmacologically. DMT users often report that in the residual toxicity phase (you're not hallucinating anymore, but you're still not right) they experience an overpowering sense of "being", that their house or even the whole world is infused with an intellect that is observing them.

So the question is, can you achieve this same effect in people with Asperger's? Does it take a higher dose? And of course, what cells in the brain are being residually agonized during this experience and what are the clinical manifestations of people who have neurological conditions affecting that same part of the brain?

You get a prize if you can think of a way to test that which doesn't involve seeing if you have to give Asperger's people larger doses of powerful hallucinogens to get them to see God.

1 comment:

Almost neurotypical said...

I'm not sure that's quite accurate. I happen to have aspergers syndrome, and although I still generally have crap for social skills, I can fairly easily function in society.

But what I HAVE noticed is that as my social skills went up (and as I learnt to think more from other peoples point of view 24/7) I shifted slightly more to thinking teleologically. As in, I think teleologically and then reject it more often now than previously.

I've always occasionally thought teleologically, with emphasis on *occasionally*, but it's increased as I got older and as my social skills developed. I'm not quite sure exactly what that means, though.