Are Atheists More Reflective Than Theists?

On Saturday, I was on the Veracity Hill Podcast talking about the evidence that atheists and agnostics reason more reflectively (i.e., make fewer errors) than theists.

The Discussion

  1. What do we mean by ‘reflective’? And how do we measure reflection? Who counts as a theist? And how do we measure religiosity?
  2. What do these findings about atheists and theists tell us about atheism and theism (if anything)? And how might further research answer hitherto unanswered questions about how atheists and theists reason?
  3. What are some related findings? For instance, what does this have to do with other philosophical beliefs?

The Podcast

The Suggested Reading/Researchers

The paper that Kurt and I mention a few times is freely available to anyone. The title is “Atheists and Agnostics Are More Reflective than Religious Believers: Four Empirical Studies and a Meta-Analysis“. It discusses over 30 studies of over 15,000 people. So it’s worth saving for later if you don’t have time to read it now.

And here are some researchers that study religion and/or reasoning:

Finally, if you are looking for a great book about reasoning, here is one of my favorites. It’s about the systematic reasoning errors that we all tend to make (and how we might overcome them):

The cover of the book titled "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman.

Published by

Nick Byrd

Nick is a cognitive scientist at Florida State University studying reasoning, wellbeing, and willpower. Check out his blog at

One thought on “Are Atheists More Reflective Than Theists?”

Comments are closed.