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A Reliable Negative Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by T2Bruno, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Religious People are Less Intelligent Than Atheists.

    You can't make these headlines up ... although it would have been more awesome if I found it on FOX. I thought this to be a better explanation than the title:

    I would have liked to see a link to Zuckerman's paper in the article but a better review of the article is found on arstechnica. The article itself costs $25 for those of us that do not have access to Personality and Social Psychology Review.
     
  2. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I'm sure lots of money (likely taxpayer provided) was spent coming to this conclusion as well. :)
     
  3. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Those funds weren't approved by the Tea Party (or those other Republicans either) ... it must be a Democrat conspiracy. :p
     
  4. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    I wonder if it would be different in other parts of the world, with other religions, and with other forms of intelligence. As someone who has many atheist friends who I believe have something to prove since they have to claim intellectual superiority at any turn, i'm bound to run into this study many more times in the coming weeks.
     
  5. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Religion is a tool. If there was a religion that advocated that true spiritual enlightenment came from knowledge/discovery, and that science was key to getting closer to god then we'd have a whole culture of people who believe that getting a PhD is all but commonplace, perhaps even a necessity. How would this study look then?

    It's sad that Christianity has been reduced to "All you need for true happiness/contentment/salvation, if not in this world then in the next" or "Join us now and escape hell!" but the fact remains that since this is how religions like Christianity are being "marketed" then it makes sense that analytical intelligence would pretty much come second to people who choose to accept them.
     
  6. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    This is total opinion here, but I would guess that it is statistically inevitable that atheists will be of a higher average intelligence then theists just due to the way the culture is set up and how people form these beliefs. Christianity is often passed down from parents to children, whereas atheism is something most come to by their own reasoning. I believe I read a study somewhere that said the retention rate of atheism when passed down through generations is much lower than other beliefs.
     
  7. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    "Proof" the article may be right:

    What name is next? Joseph? Mary? errr...Ronald Reagan?


    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/12/19986524-baby-cant-be-named-messiah-judge-rules
     
  8. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    On the one hand I can smugly state that I knew as much already.
    But on the other hand, what does this study serve to achieve? It's hardly groundbreaking information, and it will just be lumped together with all the other studies that attack religion on some level.

    There is no in-between state between religion and non-religion - not truly. So there can be no truly impartial study done on the matter. Releigious parties, if involved, would demand that abstract religious factors be taken into account, like salvation/damnation, and a scientific study will not do that. So it means nothing to religious people. It boils down to a wordy, poorly-thought-through insult to religious worshipers. :(
     
  9. pplr Gems: 18/31
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    Actually coineineagh thanks for mentioning that last bit.

    The study could be a wordy attack on religion.

    I'll point out that we all met someone who is very religious, educated to at least an undergrad level in engineering, and (last I heard) was starting a stable family and job. I haven't seen NOG in a long time but, as orthodox as he is-to the point of being a creationist-he was not an idiot.

    Plus I personally know someone with an MD level of education that goes to Mass each week.

    In sum, I know too many well educated or smart religious people to go for the notion stupidity is tied to religion.

    I would certainly be willing to go for the less orthodox religious people being of higher IQ but NOG gave me a little pause there (plus one of the main people on the human genome project did as well).

    I don't feel like forking out 25$ just to discuss details but if there study was available for free I would be tempted to look into the details of how it was done and also see if it groups different religious people differently.
     
  10. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    The researchers hearts were probably pure and well-intentioned when they initiated the study, but if they thought it might change anything, they were truly naive.

    NOG is a perfect example. I remember arguing with him years ago. He was volatile, but definitely knew his stuff. I scarcely believed with his religion and temper he could really be an engineer, but he put me in my place when I called him out. Some of our talks were amicable at times too.

    Perhaps this is something online message board posters have a better understanding of than researchers: Religious people do not subscribe to the scientific method. As much as I believe it's the best way of thinking we have available, every religion will present its own view as the right and true way. And that's something we must accept.

    Scientists may say that IQ is connected to atheism, by their scientific reasoning method. It's as pointless as saying muslims are damned to hell by [someone's] biblical reasoning method. Just empty words launched between people in totally different worlds.

    "But", you may think: "the study is real". It should be taken seriously. Why aren't they listening?
    Well, so is the biblical damnation for the Christian. It should be taken very seriously. And of course the heathens don't listen.
    At the end of the day, either think of a more positive way to get the message across (religion has science beat many times over when it comes to messaging), or discuss a more lighthearted topic.

    Oh, and you're right. It could just be a biased study intended to glorify atheism. It does seem a bit useless as far as science goes, so the question should be asked: Why was this even researched in the first place?
    After reading the article about the study, I have no reason to believe there is anything wrong with the study itself. But I can't claim to be objective. It's possible that the study is scientific, but the article oversimplifies what the study actually reports. That would imply a bias on the part of the article writer instead of the study, which is a very likely possibility. Science is not about comparing people's worth, and many researchers would shy away from such things, or phrase their findings very very carefully. The article does not.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
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  11. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    I'd just like to point out those holding an alternative viewpoint regarding the relative intelligence levels of various posters from this forum are likely to remain silent on the matter. It wouldn't exactly be charitable to attack a person who isn't around to defend himself, and the forum rules tend to discourage calling another poster, even a poster that no longer visits the forum, an idiot.

    Being right once in a while is no more a sign of intelligence than being wrong is a sign of the lack, and lots of morons become highly educated professionals. Case in point -- there's this lady from Tennessee that, despite being a moron, managed to earn a graduate level degree, pass the bar, and become a judge. While intelligence and education tend to go hand in hand, they are not the same thing -- you can have one without the other.
     
  12. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I thought the articles were interesting but now I'll add something else -- I went to the University of Utah and the chemistry building is the Henry Eyring Chemistry Building. Henry Eyring left Princeton (in its heyday) to 'upgrade' the Utah chemistry program (which is now one of the top programs worldwide). When he left Princeton he gave up his chances to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Henry Eyring was one of the most brilliant chemists of the twentieth century and a devout Mormon. Einstein was a devout Jew. Max Planck was extremely religious. I think anyone would be hard pressed to find three more intelligent men than Planck, Einstein and Eyring.

    Having a higher score on the researcher's intelligence scale does not mean an individual will shift to atheism -- instead I think the research can only state those individuals with a lower score on the researcher's intelligence scale will not shift to atheism as readily. For whatever reasons.
     
  13. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    That's a good point. I sometimes wonder about the conventional definition of intelligence, particularly when set forth by a person who is 'intelligent' as defined that way ... like someone who would conduct a scientific study. ;)

    "Smart people - like me! - don't like religion."

    I think it's becoming more commonplace to think of traits like creativity as forms of intelligence, not just the ability to crunch numbers and whatnot.

    Beethoven was a Christian, I presume.
     
  14. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    I think the word intelligence is poorly used, there is a difference between intelligence and education, a perfectly intelligent person may have been educated to believe in religion, a deep set education is hard to shake.
     
  15. Morgoth

    Morgoth La lune ne garde aucune rancune Veteran

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    Merely agnostic according to wikipedia.

    Feynmann, Bohr, Erdős; and they're all self-declared atheist.

    Of course, my point is a red herring, since first of all it is very difficult to determine and compare the intelligence of six men in postmortem state. Secondly it doesn't matter how many religious intelligent people one knows; the plural of anecdote isn't data!

    Now, on to the paper.

    Creative intelligence and emotional intelligence fall outside of scope since they only deal with analytic intelligence.


    Looking at the method section, there is no reason to think that they were biased in selecting papers. Important journals such as "Archive for the Psychology of Religion" and "Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and Review of Religious Research" were extensively searched for papers that measured religion and intelligence, but not necessarily the interplay between the two. Authors contacted the original researchers for that information if it was omitted from the reports. They also used Google Scholar to find some additional papers outside the main journals.

    The discussion is enormous, consists of nearly half the paper.

    Conclusion
    [AN04] Atran, S., & Norenzayan, A. (2004). Religion’s evolutionary landscape: Counterintuition, commitment, compassion, communion. Behavioral & Brain Science, 27
    [Gott97] Gottfredson, L. S. (1997). Mainstream science on intelligence: An editorial with 52 signatories, history, and bibliography.
    [RW92] Self-esteem and intelligence affect influenceability: The mediating role of message reception, Psychological Bulletin, 111
    [SW08] Stanovich, K. E., & West, R. F. (2008). On the relative independence of thinking biases and cognitive ability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
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  16. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    This is clearly atheist propaganda. However, bashing religious people is sexy so very few people (if anyone) will call them out on it. I'd love to see these scientists do the same study comparing white and black people or gays and straights, or Jews and Muslims. Of course if they did that they would be called racists or some other derogatory term.

    I also second that this study doesn't seem to serve any scientific purpose so it really makes you wonder if there was a preconceived notion behind the study and miraculously they got the results they were expecting. It kind of disappoints me (but doesn't surprise me) that atheists feel the need to find a way to prove superiority.

    My son did the same thing to me. He showed me a study about how many seniors in high school in our local region had their own cars. It was amazing how from that study it was determined that he needed a car of his own.
     
  17. Arkite

    Arkite Crash or crash through Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I'm not atheist, I went to state schools and in primary school we had bible study every Friday (I have no idea if that is still going on), and I think that religion at it's best is a good thing for society (don't judge, help those in need). Unfortunately we more often see religion at it's worst, in Australia we had so many cases of paedophile priests in the news for so long that as one senior Catholic put it, and I'm paraphrasing, that now identifying as religious (over here) is a handicap or if you do identify as such you feel the need to explain yourself (here is the short interview if anybody is interested).

    Even though we have a similar percentage of the population that doesn't identify with any religious group over here to the USA (22% of Aus not religious, 20% of USA not religious), religion is by and large more of a personal thing over here. Anyway what I was working towards is that if you asked what somebody's religion was, they might say "oh my parents were Methodist so I guess I am too", as opposed to asking somebody "are you a religious person?" which is a very different question.
     
  18. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    ah, nevermind
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  19. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    If you're referring to our mention of NOG: We were hardly smearing his good name, just reminiscing on an interesting board poster from times past. You've been around long enough, so you must remember him. Tal gave him numerous reprimands, including 'idiot of the week', if i recall correctly. But despite it all, he did have interesting things to say from time to time.
     
  20. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    I refer to no one in particular. My point is simply that any statement to the effect that 'such-and-so poster is not an idiot' is a statement that is not likely to run into a contrary opinion on these boards. Were I of the opinion that an ex-forum member was an idiot, I'd never come out and say so, even if I thought the individual was a myopic and ignorant fool who had occasion to betray a shocking level bigotry, and lacked the self awareness to even dress up his more unpalatable positions to make them sound a bit less repulsive. Hypothetically speaking. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
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