Is there an atheist version of "gaydar"? In other words, how can you tell?

With so many 'coming out' stories about atheism, I was wondering if there is a way that atheists can identify one another without asking. In the gay world, it's 'gaydar' - noting the way that someone walks, talks, dresses, interacts with others, or somehow just "is".

I've had a few people, out of the blue (at work) volunteer to me that they are atheist. I didn't ask why, it just seemed like a topic for conversation at the time. Even though it's a very busy workplace and we don't chat much at all.

So I'm wondering, if there is a atheist version of 'gaydar'? Something that makes us think "that person looks like an atheist!". Maybe it's a lack of interest in Xmas, or that is the only person who never mentions going to church, or... what? Seeing that evolve-fish on their car - well, that's obvious. There must be something more subtle.

I've seen a similar situation with Mormons here. Fairly quickly, they seem to identify one another by mentions of their son on a mission, or their trip to Salt Lake City, or, I don't know, their most recent jello recipes. Key words, or key concepts, and maybe mannerisms, seem to help some like-minded people identify one another.

If there is such a 'early detection system', what is it called? Or what should it be called? Somehow 'heathenar' doesn't have that snappy sound.

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Interesting thought. I was watching a quiz show on television a couple of weeks ago (a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire clone) and the contestant was a doctor from my local area. They interviewed him up front about his interests and he said he liked to 'research comparative religions'. My ears pricked up. Was that code for 'I'm an atheist'?

Anyway, as soon as the show was over, I googled him and shot off an email saying, "I may have read this wrong, but ...." and invited him to our local atheists' group dinner. I got an email back almost immediately saying, "Not sure if I'm exactly an atheist, but would be interested in attending."

We're looking forward to meeting him next month. I can't believe my 'atheist-dar' now has me picking up guys from television quiz shows!
Well, let us know how it goes. Be sure to ask him exactly what he believes or considers possible. Comparative religions is one of the best ways to educate oneself about how they operate.
Best predictor of atheism... IQ ;-) There is a converse relationship between IQ and religiosity... ie Religiosity decreases as IQ increases and vice versa.
What about all the "really smart" people with high IQ's who also believe in Yahweh? I know the comment might have been tongue and cheek but I would like to see the study showing this relationship.

There was a post on IG's forums about thought being processed in the same location for math and religion so I doubt there is a relation. If it was only that easy.
I think the major indicator has been shown to be education level, rather than IQ, and an education in the sciences increases the chance of someone being an atheist.
Just read about this study very interesting findings . . . close to what you suggest but not exactly dead on.

Among the findings:

* The odds of going to college increase for high school students who attend religious services more frequently or who view religion as more important in their lives. The researchers speculate that there may be a "nagging theory" in which fellow churchgoers encourage the students to attend college.
* Being a humanities or a social science major has a statistically significant negative effect on religiosity -- measured by either religious attendance and how important students consider the importance of religion in their lives. The impact appears to be strongest in the social sciences.
* Students in education and business show an increase in religiosity over their time at college.
* Majoring in the biological or physical sciences does not affect religious attendance of students, but majoring in the physical sciences does negatively relate to the way students view the importance of religion in their lives.
* Religious attendance is positively associated with staying in majors in the social sciences, biological sciences and business majors. For most vocational majors, the researchers found a negative relationship between religious attendance and staying in the same major. The researchers compare this finding to their data about how students who attend services are more likely to enroll in college in the first place: "In both cases, religious attendance encourages a shift toward a higher status path."
Here is a graph showing correlational evidence showing the relationship between IQ and religiosity by country:

According to a study by Paul Bell, published in the Mensa Magazine in 2002, there is an inverse correlation* between religiosity and intelligence. Analyzing 43 studies carried out since 1927, Bell found that all but four reported such a connection, and he concluded that "the higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious or hold 'beliefs' of any kind."[1] A survey published in Nature in 1998 confirms that belief in a personal God or afterlife is at an all time low among the members of the National Academy of Science, only 7.0% of which believed in a personal God as compared to more than 85% of the US general population.[2]"[w]

I think you are right though, that there are plenty of high IQ religious folks.
Well, it is just a correlation, a relationship. You can't infer causation, and you certainly couldn't generalize that relationship to everyone.

My guess is that there is some specific cognitive skill that relates better than general intelligence... Maybe objective reasoning?
I work as a college professor, at a state institution, in the buckle of the Bible Belt. The Gideons show up every semester to give out bibles. Our administration begins every school year with a prayer. For my first year here, I stayed a closet atheist. But, I am now fairly outspoken on the topic. Most of my students have never even met an atheist and confuse us with Satanists!
You'd think so! The administration here really loves me and they keep promoting me... but they are universally hard core Christians. This is SUCH a homogenous community. Non-Baptists are rare as hens teeth.
Man, I hope so. I get a real skewed perception of humanity down here!
I think that is probably true on me too. Most of my friends are either atheists... or very tolerant.



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