It’s not at all surprising that at least 28% of Democrats consider themselves to be atheists. Fascinating…

This has to be embarrassing . . . if you’re an atheist. A new study performed at the University of York used targeted magnetism to shut down part of the brain. The result: belief in God disappeared among more than 30 percent of participants.

That in itself may not seem so embarrassing, but consider that the specific part of the brain they frazzled was the posterior medial frontal cortex—the part associated with detecting and solving problems, i.e., reasoning and logic.

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In other words, when you shut down the part of the brain most associated with logic and reasoning, greater levels of atheism result.

You’ve heard the phrase, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”? Apparently, we can now also say, “I have too many brains to be an atheist.” –The American Vision

Daily Mail – The study was carried out by Dr Keise Izuma from the University of York and Colin Holbrook from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

They recruited 38 participants with an average age of 21, to take part in the study.

Each of these participants said they held significant religious beliefs, and the majority held moderate to extremely conservative political beliefs.

Political views were important because it suggested they were more likely to have stronger viewpoints on immigration.

Half of these participants formed part of a control group and received a low-level ‘sham’ procedure that did not affect their brains.

The other half received enough energy through transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to lower activity in the posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC).

This part of the brain, located near the surface and roughly a few inches up from the forehead, is associated with detecting problems and triggering responses that address them.

Researchers specifically targeted the posterior medial frontal cortex – known as pMFC (pictured in purple). This part of the brain, located near the surface and roughly a few inches up from the forehead, is associated with detecting problems and triggering responses that address them.

Following the treatment, all the participants were first asked to think about death before being asked questions about their religious beliefs and their feelings about immigrants.

The death task including writing brief responses on the subject of their own death.

To address their levels of prejudice, participants were asked to read two essays – one critical and one positive – written by an immigrant from Latin America about the US.

After reading each essay, participants rated how much they liked the person who wrote the essay and how much they agreed with their views.

Religious belief was measured using a version of the Supernatural Belief Scale.

Items were presented in random order and rated according to the same scale used in the immigrant ratings.

Questions included: ‘There exists an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving God’, ‘There exist good personal spiritual beings, whom we might call angels’ and ‘There exists an evil personal spiritual being, whom we might call the Devil.’

The findings, published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, reveal that people whose brains were targeted by TMS reported 32.8 per cent less belief in God, angels, or heaven.

They were also 28.5 per cent more positive in their feelings toward an immigrant who criticised their country.

Circa – So how do Democrats and Republicans stack up when it comes to having faith vs. athesists?

According to the Pew Research Center, “nones” — people who don’t identify with any religion — make up 23 percent of American adults.

In the Democratic Party, that number is even bigger. 28 percent of Democrats are non-religious, Pew’s research shows.

Conversely, people who identify as non-religious are much more likely to vote Democratic. 70 percent of self-identifying atheists, for example, voted for President Obama in 2012, according to Pew.

One of those atheists is James White, a Texas delegate for Hillary Clinton at this year’s DNC. At the convention on Monday, White was wearing a shirt that read, “I’m actually an atheist.”

White said he still feels it’s necessary to publicly broadcast his beliefs to promote acceptance of atheism within the party.

“When we make it safe for people to realize that a nearly 60-year-old Texas middle-aged white guy is an atheist and a Democrat, those things make it easier for others to come forward too,” he said.

 

There has been some progress, White said. Earlier this year, the Texas Democratic Party adopted three secular resolutions into its official policy platform.

The investigators additionally found that the magnetic stimulation had the greatest effect on reactions to the critical author in the essay test.

‘We think that hearing criticisms of your group’s values, perhaps especially from a person you perceive as an outsider, is processed as an ideological sort of threat,’ said Dr Izuma.

‘One way to respond to such threats is to ‘double down’ on your group values, increasing your investment in them, and reacting more negatively to the critic,’ he continued.

‘When we disrupted the brain region that usually helps detect and respond to threats, we saw a less negative, less ideologically motivated reaction to the critical author and his opinions.’ –Daily Mail 

 

 


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