Belief in religion is neuro-anatomically not the same thing as rational thinking, interesting study:
This is quite sensible, as I have seen many cases where I saw otherwise intelligent and knowledgeable people suppress all of their rational thinking, in favor of an “emotional reward” that they get by using these networks.
This, I liken to cigarette or heroin addiction, and I expect that there will be a similarity discovered.
When you tell an addict something logical about his behavior, he quickly suppresses any reasonable thinking that may go on in his brain to be able to continue thinking irrationally and feel pleasure from activating the brain regions involved. A very similar thing happens with creationists, whenever they say something like “agnostics are smarter than atheists”, their brain regions that have evolved to suppress all reason are activated, and they derive pleasure from the act.
In other words, we have evolved to be slaves to irrational folly. This was likely selected by societies favoring religious (irrational) individuals that are much easier to herd as sheeple.
Note that this finding also indirectly supports my hypothesis that all dualists are creationists. The activated circuit is said to be the “theory of mind” circuit, which seems to be a locus of confusion. Perhaps, this area has a more general role than assumed, and it can go awfully wrong in many individuals, turning it into a brain center for superstition that encourages ideas like creationism, dualism and Platonism. Perhaps, the same center is good at speculative thinking, and intelligent people can use it to take risks.