The Science of Atheism Science news sites have recently included some unusual articles: reports about the science of atheism. What can scientists say about atheism without leaving the domain of science altogether?

The science of distrust: PhysOrg reported a study from the University of British Columbia about why believers distrust atheists. A sense of the feelings of the researchers can be seen in their title of their paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology – “Do You Believe in Atheists? Distrust is Central to Anti-Atheist Prejudice.” Surveys of 350 American adults and 420 students found that atheists ranked lower in trustworthiness than Christians, Jews, Muslims, gay men and feminists – only rapists ranked comparably low. “The researchers concluded that religious believer's distrust – rather than dislike or disgust – was the central motivator of prejudice against atheists, adding that these studies offer important clues on how to combat this prejudice,” the article stated, mentioning also a Gallup poll that showed only 45% of Americans would vote for an atheist president. If it’s a prejudice, it cannot be a well-thought-out position, can it? Study co-author Ara Norenzayan said, “believers may consider atheists’ absence of belief as a public threat to cooperation and honesty.”

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