TO BELIEVE, OR NOT BELIEVE: THAT IS THE QUESTION:
This appears to be an amalgam of old science, and seems to trip over itself in its specific definiens of both religion and belief. While, it is true that believers maintain that humans are hardwired for both, we also know that these are the filters through which the religious-minded believer perceives everything. In other words, they believe, and therefore assume everyone else does in some form or another. (Identify-Protective Reasoning, Dan Kahan, Yale Cognition Project, Sherman and Cohen)
It is also true that while some self-declared “atheists” pronounce themselves to be non-believers they are especially prone to other types of superstitious, magical and paralogical thinking. They don’t believe in a god, per se, but believe in a myriad of substitutes without question. Ostensibly, they are still programmed, they just substitute it with another false epistemology.
New science, or neuroscience according to Dennett and McKay, Thomson, Peter Boghossian, etc. very precisely respond with the latest evidence that humans are not predisposed to either belief or religion, rather they are in fact hardwired for “misbelief”, and that is the crux of the matter and a very intriguing distinction.
As Dennett and McKay write in their excellent essay, The Evolution of Misbelief:
“Other approaches notwithstanding, the currently dominant evolutionary perspective on religion (morality) remains a by-product perspective. On this view, supernatural misbeliefs are side-effects of a suite of cognitive mechanisms adapted for other purposes. Such mechanisms render us hyperactive agency detectors, promiscuous teleologists, and intuitive dualists; collectively and incidentally, they predispose us to develop religious beliefs– or at least they facilitate the acquisition of such beliefs.”