Study: nonbelievers have small brains

OK, so Religion News Service has a provocative story on a provocative study that I've seen in a few papers. But the headlines that are running with the story are curious, to say the least. Basically the study says that Protestants, like myself, without a "born-again" experience (I'm assuming, although the article doesn't tell us anything about how that term is defined in the story, that my baptism doesn't get counted as a "born-again" experience) have bigger brains than ... Catholics, Protestants with a "born-again" experience, and the religiously unaffiliated.

And yes, I realize the entire study is somewhat obnoxious and I say that even though my peeps supposedly fared the best.

But do the headlines boast that my kind of Protestants win the brain-size prize? Do the headlines say that Catholics have tiny amounts of gray matter? Do they assert what I put above? (And yes, I realize that the religious unaffiliated would include more than just non-believers.) Or do they say that "born-again" Christians are idiots? Let's roll the tape:

USA Today: Study suggests 'born-again' believers have smaller brains

Houston Chronicle: Study: Born-again Christians have smaller brains

Beliefnet: Study suggests ‘born-again’ believers have smaller brains

I mean, technically it's true. The study, which looked at a grand total of 268 adults, did say that "born-again" Christians had smaller hippocampal volume. But wow do the headlines above give a different impression than picking on Catholics, nonbelievers or the unaffiliated. Here's the abstract for the study, in case you're interested.

And if you want an indication that most people only read headlines and skim the rest, take a gander at the comments of the USA Today story where everyone seems to think that the study proved that nonbelievers are smarter than Christians.

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