Wednesday, February 21, 2007

is religious extremism a form of autism?

this idea struck me yesterday - a lot of the "failure to communicate" or empathise with the other of religious extremists (whether flyover state fundamental christians, or jewish settlers or suicide bomber islamic nutters), is very like the behaviour of autistics....discuss:-
litanes, chanting, nodding head etc etc look a lot like people disengaging and not managing human relationships properly - a lot of the other things (obsession/compulsion with detail, completeness, interprestation, trainspotting) is very like the stamp collecting mentality of the extreme asperger....

perhps its genetic ? maybe it is treatable

richard dawkings should talk to the sanger institute to see if they can find the "got god gene" and remove it:)


Maddy said...

I'm a fan of Dawkins too. Maybe the theory you're trying to pin point is one aspect of autism rather than autism itself?
It's called the "Theory of Mind" which basically posits an inability to put oneself in someone else's shoes and think/feel how they do.
Best wishes

jon crowcroft said...

nicely put - yes, theory of the mind - as in the work on evolution of language! maybe there's a link between this and the bicameral mind and the emergence of modern post-religious socieities...hmmm