Those without the imagination to imagine someone not believing what they believe, can certainly make statements such as that, only people who believe as they do, exist…and if others THINK they exist, they are wrong about what they think.
Humans ARE hardwired to look for patterns, and DO tend to want to have things be in control…and, the superstitious DO tend to, in experiments, evidence that proclivity.
For example, if the experiments had a light switch, and a light…that are not connected to each other, with the light bulb being lit by a random program…and the switch having no input to the program:
The subjects are asked to try to find a pattern of switching, that makes the bulb light or go off.
They had taken polls to evaluate things such as their level of religious belief and political opinions.
Those who reported that they WERE able to find the pattern, and were most confident in their result, to control the (not-controlled) light, were the most religious, and, the less religious they were, the less likely they would report having found the pattern, and the less confidence they would have in having done it.
Atheists reported that they could not find a pattern…with the increasingly religious increasingly finding a pattern with increasing faith in their results.
So, those who can find meaning in things with zero meaning/find patterns where none exists, and, who furthermore have FAITH that what they found was real…tend to be more religious.
This makes perfect sense, as, that is what is REQUIRED, to BE religious.
Some religions even make QUESTIONING that the pattern exists punishable by death for example.
I don’t see it as a lack of intelligence per se, as there are certainly some brilliant theists…but more of a function of upbringing and genetics.
For example, in the studies that use brain scans to measure and evaluate what parts of the brain are processing what processes, there was also a difference in the activity levels of some people’s fear and threat centers.
Those are the parts of the brain that light up when a threat or attack is detected, and, they are in very primitive parts, parts that developed well before reptilian brain parts, etc….and essentially tell an organism a threat was detected, and to initiate fight or flight, etc.
So, a twig snaps, which is not in of itself, a threat, but, might REPRESENT a predator stalking that stepped on it and snapped it…so, there is processing going on of the data.
A simple critter (the kind that is eaten) hearing a twig snap simply “knows” that something snapped it, and, that it wants to run or hide, etc.
In a more complicated brain, a human for example, we might hear the twig snap, and start trying to imagine WHAT snapped it…so if “it” can climb a tree, we might not climb one to escape…and so forth.
The problem is that, sometimes, the time taken to think about the threat, gives the predator, or the rock falling off the cliff, or widow maker branch falling on them, time to kill them.
So, reacting quickly can reward those who act first, and think later, or, reward those who thought first, as their actions were more effective.
As with many of these types of traits, some people end up hard wired one way, and, some the other…with most in the middle of the bell curve.
Where this ties into religion, and politics, and opinions in general, is that people with more active versions of the fear/threat centers, actually perceive ideas or information that threaten what they believe, as attacks on them.
When these centers light up, they essentially label that information as a threat…and, the parts of your brain that NORMALLY evaluate new information, are blocked from doing so.
That is why a religious or strongly opinionated person can be quite logical about everything EXCEPT what it is that they believe…and that means core beliefs, not all beliefs.
So, in brain scan studies, ALL people, even atheists, register at least SOME fear/threat center activation when presented with information or ideas that are in conflict with core beliefs.
For example, if you have a strong opinion about global climate change, say, you believe that it is happening and man is the cause…and the information presented has the headline “Global Climate Changed Proven to be a Hoax!”…
….your threat center activity goes up, and, you tend to read the article, etc, with more of an eye to find aspects of it that allow you to dismiss it as wrong…
…whereas if you already thought it WAS a hoax, you might read it and love how it validates your beliefs…and ignore/not note any parts that made no sense, etc.
If the headline was “Global Climate Change Proven to be True!”…the two sides would simply swap how they looked at it, and so forth.
The main DIFFERENCES between the two groups was HOW MUCH their fear/threat centers prevented them from evaluating the new conflicting information.
Those who were the most religious and the most conservative politically, had the most fear/threat center activity, and, were more prevented from evaluation of conflicting information.
That doesn’t make them wrong, it makes them less able to consider conflicting information as potentially valid.
So, if you combine the conclusions of even just those two types of study, you find that the more religious you are, the less likely you are to consider conflicting information as valid, and, the more likely you are to see patterns that do not exist, and to have more confidence that the patterns that don’t exist, exist.
So, that all means that while a person might reject the claims that god exists, and therefore be an atheist, by definition, he may STILL have that ancient part of his brain, the part that doesn’t have thoughts…
…Make him FEEL that his team is more likely to win when he watches them on TV wearing his Lucky Jersey…or to yell at his bowling ball to go more towards the pin, etc…
…which, while not a belief in a god, is definitely a supernatural instinct at play.