Atheists a dying breed as nature 'favours faithful'
By JONATHAN LEAKE - SUNDAY TIMES
Added: Sun, 02 Jan 2011 07:46:55 UTC
A study of 82 countries has found that those whose inhabitants worship at least once a week have 2.5 children each
Atheists, watch out. Religious people have evolved to produce more children than non-believers, researchers claim, while societies dominated by non-believers are doomed to die out.
A study of 82 countries has found that those whose inhabitants worship at least once a week have 2.5 children each, while those who never do so have just 1.7 — below the number needed to replace themselves.
The academic who led the study argues that evolution, credited by atheist biologists such as Richard Dawkins as the process solely responsible for creating humanity, favours the faithful because they are encouraged to breed as a religious duty.
Michael Blume, a social science researcher at Jena University in Germany, said that over evolutionary timescales of hundreds or thousands of years, atheists have had fewer children and the societies they belong to are likely to disappear.
“It is a great irony, but evolution appears to discriminate against atheists and favour those with religious beliefs,” said Blume.
His arguments are in direct contradiction of evolutionary biologists such as Dawkins, who has argued that religions are like “viruses of the mind” which infect people and impose great costs in terms of money, time and health risks.
Blume’s work suggests the opposite: evolution favours believers so strongly that over time a tendency to be religious has become embedded in our genes.
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