There’s a chance that atheists could die out because they’re not having as many babies as religious people, according to a new survey. For over a century social scientists have held the view that religious beliefs could decline and be replaced by more scientific outlooks.
The prediction, known as the secularisation hypothesis, however, is far from being fulfilled, and in fact, the opposite seems to be happening to go by the findings by an international team of researchers from Malaysia, USA, Denmark and Finland. The results are published in a paper titled ‘The Future of Secularism: a Biologically Informed Theory Supplemented with Cross-Cultural Evidence.
It states that “Overall, religious people out-reproduce secularists. Consequently, the proportion of secularists in most if not all countries will decline noticeably.” The research that covered 4,570 undergraduate college students from Malaysia and the US questioned them on their religious beliefs and how many brothers and sisters they had.
The study found that atheists from Malaysia had 11/2 fewer siblings than the average score. The gap was closer in the US, with secular students having 0.16 fewer siblings than the mean score. Non-religious couples had 3.04 children, while the whole population’s average was 3.2.
The researchers observed that “It is ironical that effective birth control methods were developed primarily by secularists, and that these practices are serving to slowly diminish the proportional representation of secularists in forthcoming generations.”
Put in another way, the traits that appeared to favour secularism seem now to be reduced in humans compared to those found in populations that profess religious belief but are low in intelligence.