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Turkish sociologist declares that all children with autism are atheists and atheism is a form of autism

Turkish sociologist declares that all children with autism are atheists and atheism is a form of autism

Fehmi Kaya, a sociologist and head of Adana’s Health and Education Association for Autistic Children in Turkey, stirred up controversy when he claimed, “All autistic children are atheists due to a lack of a section of faith in their brains,” and declared that atheism was a form of autism.

“Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains,” Kaya said, according to daily Milliyet.

He stated that there are sections of faith in the brain, which are underdeveloped in children with autism and suggested that children with autism needed therapy to develop these areas in their brain.  He also stated that treatment would create areas of faith in their brains.

“That is why they don’t know how to pray, how to believe in God. It is needed to create awareness in these children through methods of therapy.”

“They need to develop feelings and learn to form empathy with others. They need to understand why normal people do what they do. As a result of that, they would need to understand that there is a creator, to whom the people pray to and believe in; and they need to understand and internalize that. That way a section of faith can be formed in their brains,” Kaya was quoted as saying.

Adding to this, Kaya stated that research shows that atheism and autism are linked and children with autism are atheists from birth due to these underdeveloped areas in their brains.  He added that the research in Canada and the United States show that atheism is a different form of autism.  He also believes, through therapy, therapists can turn children with autism into believers.

“We cannot expect a child who cannot recognize a picture to recognize God. We need to help the autistic child recognize objects through therapy by targeting areas of senses in the brain,” Kaya said.

Kaya also said that they will turn autistic children into believers through therapy sessions that will be offered freely in therapy centers in the future.(Agencies)

The study Kaya could be referring to is also referred to in a UK September 2011 article, which also stated that not all atheists have autism.  In which the researchers surveyed 61 individuals with high-functioning autism.  The results showed that 26 percent were atheists and 16 percent were “neuro-typical” individuals, but this does not mean that all atheists have high-functioning autism.

The paper, 'investigates the proposal that individual differences in belief will reflect cognitive processing styles, with high functioning autism being an extreme style that will predispose towards nonbelief.'

Caroline Hattersley, Head of Information, Advice and Advocacy at The National Autistic Society said: 'Autism affects people from every sector of society and people with autism represent the full range of religious and non-religious beliefs.

'It is important that people with autism have the freedom to make their own choices about their beliefs and receive the support they need,' says Hattersley.

Rajib Khan, writing on Discover Magazine's 'Gene Expression' blog wrote, 'I doubt this is going to surprise too many people. Additionally, we need to be careful about generalizing here.

'This doesn’t mean that a huge proportion of atheists are high functioning autistics (though there may be a larger proportion than the general population).'

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • This sociologist makes at least two grave errors- 1. all babies are born atheists (implicit atheism) and 2. religious belief is taught (just as he's trying to do with so-called therapy).

    • I love how the article I wrote about the Finnish atheist study gets downvoted to zero on Reddit and yours gets upvoted and both articles are not favorable to atheism! I am laughing my ass off at the moment. Excellent article though!

      • lol That is funny.

      • Deborah_B

        It's a different time of day/day of the week. Just watch.

      • Deborah_B

        Part of the issue that I have with these "atheist" characteristics is that Buddhists and as we learned in a recent show, Jains, and other Eastern philosophies are technically atheists. The Jains are probably the most empathic group of any on earth.

        • I know a number of Jains, and while they might be empathic to bugs and plants that have fruit below the ground, they are not very empathic towards peoplewho do not share their restricted view of the world.

      • I'm thinking it has nothing to do with being favourable or unfavourable to atheism. In this case, the sociologist is spewing stupidity about autism (not just atheism), suggesting therapy that indoctrinates, and suggesting unnecessary treatment, with an agenda that is offensive to Xians and non-Xians alike. I found it offensive on so many levels, thus why I wrote about the indoctrinating stupid sociologist.

    • Deborah_B

      I agree. There were also some big studies recently that showed that non-believers/atheists and the "spiritual but not religious" were much more empathic than the religious folks, with the atheists in the lead.

  • Bik

    I'm 30, and architect and recently diagnosed with HFA. I can tell you that the reason those like myself are atheists is because we tend to go on evidence, not faith, because it makes more sense to do this. It makes no sense to me to believe in a seemingly fictictious, arcane and likely metaphorical story created a very long time ago because people like this individual says it to be a good idea – an agenda if ever i heard one. Furthermore, there is no 'normal' to the human brain, just varying levels or degrees of differences. Neurotypical is more appropriate, not just to be politically correct, but to be precise.

    • amelia

      Evidence vs faith is a false dichotomy, all human beings collect data
      and make decisions based on the sense-experience evidence they receive,
      nothing else is available to us. It makes no sense for you to arrange
      your values around a metaphorical story because you aren't judging based
      on the same lived experience as someone who does, and that's ok.

      What's not ok is to assume that people who believe something different from
      you must be inherently flawed in some way, whether that's claiming that
      they have a neurological difference like in the above article or
      insinuating that they're suckers for someone's manipulative agenda like
      in your pompous and self-righteous post.

      • Bik never said that those with different beliefs must be inherently flawed.

        And you are contradicting yourself when you're saying that it's not ok to assume that someone is inherently flawed, when you just said that all humans make decisions based on their sense-experience evidence. Obviously such a person WOULD think it's ok. Who are you to say that your sense-experience is objectively better for deciding what's "ok" than others?

        That's both pompous and self-righteous.

        • amelia

          And yet your response to my statement hinges on using my own standards to judge me. Hence all of us have become entrapped in an eternal spiral of always-already pompous self-righteousness: you, me and Bik, and everyone else, in an infinite recursion of decadence. I kind of like that! Welcome to postmodernism friend, I heartily encourage calling me out on things, even when they were in jest.

          Ultimately we're all constrained to our own lives, that's just how it works. One must accept a certain degree of hypocrisy if we wish to hold anyone accountable, the trick is to be receptive to the critiques of others when you can't level them at yourself. So thank you.

          To clarify, the primary issue that I had with Bik's statement was not his testimony of his own lived experience (which I appreciated!) but his tone with regards to specific belief systems when I think that his critiques are better applied to the human cognitive structures of belief, rather than individual people.

          • Bik

            1. Evidence vs faith is a dichotomy in the sense that much of what
            religion attempted to describe thousands of years ago was born of, in
            large part, a distinct lack of knowledge (evidence-based) as to the
            reasons why things are the way they are apparent.

            2. We are not
            limited by your so-called sense experience. There is such a thing as a
            theory and such a thing as an scientific instrument and another thing
            called a computer and another thing called deductive logic.

            My so-called 'demand' was actually a 'suggestion' and not requiring any
            sort of response because it was rhetorical as agendas relating to
            theistic activities are common knowledge, and notoriously so – giving
            great weight to any suspicion of such a ridiculous claim as made by this
            person from Turkey, the very birthplace of religion in terms of where
            the earliest records lie at the first known temple site of Gobekli Tepe,
            10,000 BCE.

            4. Running away into indiscriminate land is not
            helpful or useful when having an debate, especially when religious
            domains are the least backed up by strong evidence of any sort and one
            of the most laden with history of playing on peoples cognitive states to
            suit an agenda.

            5. I've seen too many scenes of theists
            completely undone, embarassed and looking plain silly by intelligent
            atheists such as Dawkins and Hitchens, so don't even bother attempting
            to out-wit an intelligent atheist or especially one with an ASD – you'll
            lose every time unless they happen to being tortured by you in a
            sacrificial torture ritual to raise their demons and banish them from
            the flat earth.

            • Bik

              Sit on that (so-called) 'jest' and rotate.

      • Bik

        Thanks for the feedback. Science is a righteous activity as far as atheists are concerned, not myself per se. I'm not sure how you got pompous. I can see that saying such things might hurt someone's feelings if they do believe in a deity or two, but in a forum such as this, given the claims being made, I think it not inappropriate to point out perhaps a few reasons (which you can call 'beliefs' if you want) why HFA individuals might actually have other reasons for being atheistic rather than it being a deficiency in the brain. As for taking a stance and speaking out about it in the face of this article, sure I'll do that if it evens the tables a little bit. There is no point in being indifferent in particular forums when faced with adversity. It's not like I would preach it to anyone in day-to-day activities. That would be pious and the wrong thing to do – you're half right. As for 'sucker's for someone's manipulative agenda', geez big surprise, what a shocker. Take a history lesson I'd suggest.

        • amelia

          When I read your initial post, I'd mostly agreed with you until near the end when you brought in personal agendas. And the same thing happened here, I think a lot of what you said is very reasonable. The problem is that your initial post associates being suckered by a falsified belief system with a specific flavour of beliefs, in this case religious ones.

          I'd like to return to you your demand to take a history lesson: being manipulated by true, false, or mendaciously constructed (whether false or incidentally true) beliefs doesn't require theistic belief structures, it is quite simply a vulnerability of the human cognitive system. The political, religious, social, and economic histories of the human species are all full of examples of manipulative individuals taking advantage of people's beliefs, what I find offensive is to assign that vulnerability to specific belief systems (to the exclusion of others) when in fact it applies to all of them. All that is necessary is someone with the right tools, circumstances and lack of ethics to take advantage.

          • No, Bik is right. Religion is a means to control people, but that's not the issue here. The issue at hand is forcing people, in particularly those with autism, into believing in a deity, specifically a Xian or a Muslim one (being Turkey, it could be Islam also). That is not only wrong, but the sociologist's statements are ludicrous and imposing. This is where the history of religion comes into play, specifically the Inquisition and Crusades. Think about it. It's practically the same thing, but in this case, the religious, specifically the sociologist in the article wants to go after a specific group (almost sounds like another time in history).

            Whether you agree or not, the fact is, if people listen to this quack of a sociologist, they will be forcing religion, either Xianity or Islam, on people without giving them any choice in the matter, which is wrong.

      • Rabid

        >pompous and self-righteous

        Take a look in the mirror and check your attitude next time you feel like piling on to someone who simply described what makes sense _from_their_perspective_.


        • amelia

          Yes, that was the joke, of that single sentence at the end of the post, to make it more fun to read and provoke discussion. What about the two paragraphs that precede it?

          • Darran

            The guy that you are calling "pompous and self righteous" just stated that he has HFA. You're an idiot. You stopped making sense at "Evidence vs faith is a false dichotomy" and by the time you got to "pompous and self righteous" you proved that you're also an ass.

      • Patrick Bateman

        The most reasonable thing I've read all day

      • Tomas

        Your argument regarding "self-centered sense-experienced evidence" being the only thing available way for us sounds like a slippery slope towards arguing that only subjective realities exists. Is this what you are doing? If not then Biks initial statement regarding evidence vs. faith still stands.

        Most atheist I've read and talked to (myself included) define "evidence" as meaning measureable/detectable hypothesis that has been verified as accurate. Although I still need to make an assumption about reality, this assumption is limited to only being "reality is observable/true". This is a far more elegant and simple solution then anything faith can offer in terms of required assumptions about reality.

        This is term leads us to why many atheists argue that "evidence" outweigh "faith" in terms of validity.

  • fuckthatguy

    put a bullet in his head, i'm autistic, and i am not atheist.

    • Obviously religious…

      • Srent Blensker

        Yeah, I think "and i am not atheist" gave it away..

  • “They need to develop feelings and learn to form empathy with others." The cognitive dissonance in this guys head must be deafening.

  • billmoore

    WHY do you even write about crap like this? You're spreading complete bullshit. It does not merit consideration, let along an article on the internet.

    • Yes, what the sociologist in the article said is rubbish, but this is stuff people need to know about, esp if they have a child Dx with autism. Such people are out there and they work in fields such as sociology, psychology, etc. If one doesn't know these people exist even in the social, mental, and health services, they are endanger of exposing their child to these predators. IMHO, and as a parent with a child, now an adult, who was Dx with HFA when he was 2 1/2, I want to know about these loons, be aware of them, so I can look out for them and keep my child away from them.

  • Vu Vu Donaroo

    I see Atheists laughing already. I'm Christian and even I know this is full retard.

    • Miiildly questionable use of "retard"?

    • I don't think it matters if one is Xian or atheist, it is obvious this sociologist is an idiot when it concerns autism.

    • Autism mum

      As a Christian and a mother to an autistic child, I find it highly offensive the the word retard is even being used. Very un Christian like

  • Welp, that just pissed me off. This guy needs to fuck off back under his rock.


    Ladies and gentlemen… This is what sociologists do. It's like science but without the need to check your facts before drawing conclusions. Remember, these people exist in your country too (wherever you live, except Antarctica).

  • I just. . What. . . He's an idiot!

  • R

    I have AS, an autistic spectrum disorder, and I've been a Christian my whole life. This claim is utter rubbish. I can think of at least a couple of autistic people I know or know of who are Christian.

  • sunday

    Children and adults DO have a tendency to explain things in a teleological manner (ie: the river exists to give fishes a place to live, the ozone layer exists to protect the earth, etc). There was a neat study done by one of my professors, Deb Kelemen, that showed even professors of physics at prestigious universities revert back to teleological reasoning when stressed or pressed for time (ie: when given only a few seconds to answer the question) and tired (after doing the experiment for a period of time).

    That said, calling all atheists autistic and vice versa is an absurd argument.

  • Houstonguy1984

    Apparently the vast majority of the scientific community is also autistic, according to this person. Faith is just another word for irrational gullibility. Faith is belief in something without evidence, or in contrary to evidence (Hence the phrase: "To walk by faith, not by sight). And by evidence I mean something physically measurable and replicable in a lab. Although, in order to make sense of the world around us, we have to assume certain axioms… such as the law of noncontradiction being one of them. But these axioms also have to be something that is observable. That is why belief in any specific god is irrational, because it is unreasonable to believe in the existence of something that cannot be physically detected, measured, etc…

    –otherwise, why not just believe in the easter bunny or any stupid little thing anyone could make up and say "well, you can't prove it DOESN'T exist, can you?"

  • Rokk

    This is the biggest pile of bullshit I have ever witnessed in my entire life. "There's a part in the brain specifically for faith"? Give me a fucking break. This guy is spewing nothing but lies and claims that aren't backed up out of his butthole.

  • zero

    So – autism is actually a higher functioning form of consciousness? I'd always had my suspicions…

  • Hunter Gaddy

    I asked a friend of mine about this who is an expert in the field & this is what she had to say:

    "I am a nationally certified school pathologist, which trumps sociologist
    when it comes to autism, and I say this is bullshit. Why is a
    sociologist, even commenting on autism? That has nothing to do with
    sociology. This just pisses me off."

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