Researcher Says Genes Predisposing People To Religion Will Dominate Future Due To Higher Fertility Rates Among Religious

Robert Rowthorn is an emeritus professor of economics at Cambridge University. He holds that there are genetically inherited personality characteristics that predispose people to being religious. He says that due to higher fertility rates among the religious these characteristics will become more and more prevalent in future populations resulting in the world becoming more and more religious.

My answer is that it will not happen if Atheism goes in the direction of Secular Humanism.

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Joseph, this is the study (it's old)


I thought NIMH was the agency responsible for genetically engineering and then losing a race of super rats?

Okay, and now that I've read it ...


You left out a lot of details:


"He described the onset of several pathologies: violence and aggression, with rats in the crowded pen “going berserk, attacking females, juveniles and less-active males.” There was also “sexual deviance.” Rats became hypersexual, pursuing females relentlessly even when not in heat.


The mortality rate among females was extremely high. A large proportion of the population became bisexual, then increasingly homosexual, and finally asexual. There was a breakdown in maternal behavior. Mothers stopped caring for their young, stopped building a nest for them and even began to attack them, resulting in a 96 percent mortality rate in the two crowded pens. Calhoun coined a term—“behavioral sink”—to describe the decay."


It could be a result of the hypersexuality and a breakdown of discrimination in sexual partners.  I don't really see how this directly maps to humans.  Among other things, we're naturally a much more sexual race, like bonobos.  Hypersexuality in a rat means having sex with a female that isn't in heat.


Anyway, the study isn't talking about gene expression.  This discussion has to do with genes.  The study has to do with the effects of societal factors upon behavior.


Interesting article, for other reasons, though.  Thanks.

Some religious people probably have a lower survival rate due to refusing medical care, denying it to their children, or using some quack medicine. Worldwide, some religious people live in poverty and don't have a high survival rate. I don't think this completely counteracts religious people breeding more, but I also don't think it's anywhere close to a guarantee that because a parent is religious, the child will be religious.

More studies needed, in other words.


Personally, I think we're breeding for religion in the US, though.  A first-world country gives even the the hyper-religious the benefit of good medicine.  Most religious sects don't refuse medical care, just a handful like the Christian Scientists and the Jehovah's Witnesses.  The Mormons, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, and Catholics are out-breeding us rather badly, I believe.


Then we have this recent quiverful movement.  If you have 19 kids, I don't think enough will get killed off by stupid things to bring the family back to parity.

Take genetic statistics, and medical statistics in general, with a bit of a grain of salt until you research and understand (and are convinced is sound) the methodology behind the research. sCAM proponents aren't the only ones designing flawed studies.

Now, this research doesn't mean what the sCAMmers claim (that SBM is all hoakum and deliberate misinformation -- read "The Invisible Gorilla" for a nice lay introduction on why you shouldn't be a conspiracy theorist of any kind, among other interesting things -- their own research is at *best* just as bad, and often far, far worse). But it does mean that there is still a lot of scientific understanding still to be gained about our own bodies, and a lot that we think we know that may either be wrong, or at best coincidentally correct anecdotal evidence backed by flawed studies.

The whole idea of a "God gene" is still pretty hotly debated (I'm being generous, it's not that hotly debated -- it's a concept accepted mainly by non-geneticists that geneticists and those in allied disciplines mostly consider a leap to a conclusion):

So any study based on first assuming a "God gene" exists is basically Tooth Fairy Science (



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