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Do Atheism and IQ correlate?

  1. Feb 23, 2005 #1
    I read on a site once that higher IQ is found amongst Atheists, and I also heard that SAT scores were also correlated with religious affiliation. Does anyone have a reliable source that suggests or proves an Atheism and IQ correlation? Thanks.
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  3. Feb 23, 2005 #2


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    This site is a catalogue of studies conducted over the last century that suggest a negative correlation between IQ and religiosity. It doesn't provide any links to these studies, however. It does talk about an article from Skeptic Magazine near the bottom of the page. You might be able to find that article in the online Skeptic archive.
  4. Feb 24, 2005 #3


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    There's no connection to the IQ,but definitely to the common sense...achieved after studying science intensively...

  5. Feb 24, 2005 #4
    Hmm, just a thought: correlation is one thing and cause is another. I can correlate frequent ice-cream consumtion to increased levels of drowning because they both tend to occure in the summer. So...

    - From the link

    What comes to mind may or may not have anything to do with the actual explanation. Maybe the university people are just so busy with their studies/research that they just don't have time or energy to practice any religion? Who knows, but my point is that just finding correlation without a testable theory is not very much of a study.
  6. Feb 24, 2005 #5
    Need to not post after have gone without sleep for so long...
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2005
  7. Feb 24, 2005 #6


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    Nope,it said IQ<---------->religion...IQ is both sothing you're born with and something you practice...While religion is something that's being stuffed to you.

    There's no connection.It would defy logics.

  8. Feb 24, 2005 #7

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    Atheism is a 'belief' based on faith - that no God exists - and is fundamentally the same as a religious belief.

    There has been an interesting ebb and flow between religion and science. Galileo, Newton, Joule, Kelvin and Maxwell were all devoutly religious scientists. I don't think it is accurate to suggest that these scientists lacked common sense or intelligence. Until we understand everything - all the questions posed and all of them conclusively answered - perhaps it is best to keep an open mind on the subject.

  9. Feb 24, 2005 #8


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    "Religion" in this country mostly means received religion. It is based on childhood teaching and authority. You believe what you were taught or what the group you have joined teaches.

    Atheism, as the rejection of received religion requires one to think for onesself. Authority ("famous atheists") is distinctly a secondary thing and of course some famous atheists like Madalyn Ohair and Josef Stalin were scarcely poster children for atheism. Whether you want to call atheism itself a religion in the broader sense is up to you. It has nothing to do with the correlation.
  10. Feb 24, 2005 #9
    I think that Athiests are people who didn't invent a god, and don't believe the rhetoric of people that did.
  11. Feb 24, 2005 #10
    I would have to disagree with the original poster. In the scientific community myself, It would appear that the majority of my coworkers are religious to an extent. Usually they all have (like me) the core beliefs, but they're not regular attendees to church or whatever.
    When I first started my physics career, the more I learned, the less and less faith I had. Science just seemed so disproving of any religious beliefs. But then I hit a point where it started increasing again. Once I realized that really, this universe should not exist, then my beliefs incresed. Theres just too much thats unexplainable, too many "but why?" questions in science.
  12. Feb 24, 2005 #11
    Interesting that IQ is negatively correlated with religiosity... and both religiosity and IQ are positively correlated with physical health.
  13. Feb 24, 2005 #12
    Im not sure about that site, it has the table:
    Code (Text):
                         Religion is        Religion can
                         "very important    "answer all or most
    Respondents          in their life"     of today's problems"
    Attended college         53 percent         58 percent
    No college               63                 65
    So its saying that over half of the people who attended college believe religion is very important in their life? Isn't this site supposed to be showing how intelligent people aren't religious? But here it shows the opposite... Nothing is really convincing at all so far. I don't think theres that great of a correlation.
  14. Feb 24, 2005 #13
    That isn't how correlation works. It doesn't mean that intelligent people are not religious, it means they are less religious than less intelligent people in a somewhat linear fashion (more intelligence --> less religion).
  15. Feb 24, 2005 #14


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    There are only two modern-day physicists I can think of who openly avow a religious faith: John Polkinghorne and Abdus Salaam. And since the deities they believe in are not the same, at least one of them has to be wrong. :biggrin:
  16. Feb 24, 2005 #15
    Inspiration and creativity

    Have studies been done on increased IQ after listening to music, seeing beauty, falling in love or being impassioned with something? I think so.
    So an Atheist can have a higher IQ than a person who is not gaining creative inspiration from the teaching within the religious system they find themselves in. Makes sense.
    From what I have see of organized religion, there is not a lot of independent investigation encouraged and it might be by following ones own intuition that brings oneself to flashes of creativity, enlightenment, sparks of genius. Seems creative people are always looking for inspiration almost like addicts.
    This is pretty common knowledge. I think.
  17. Feb 25, 2005 #16
    Yeah, but there where seven studies about scientists' religious tendencies that I was thinking about, when I spoke about university people. I admit, it wasn't in my quote, so my bad.

    But I would still say my point holds also when talking about a correlation between IQ and religiosity. Also from the link:
    (My bolding).

    Statistics is a very good foundation to build theory upon, but in itself it says very little.

    But in the end, we seem to agree: the relationship between Atheism and IQ is questionable, even if you can find a statistical correlation between the two.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2005
  18. Feb 25, 2005 #17
    there is no real correlation. im religious, and of the two times ive have tooken my i.q., it was a 129 the first time, and 141 the second time. i believe that my actual i.q. lies somewhere in between, but the point is, i lack neither intelligence or common sense, yet am still...religious(if thats even the word i should use to describe myself) im against, to a certain extent, organized religion, but i do have my own personal beliefs about God that i have come to from careful observation, not blind faith.

    Forgive me, but it seems like arrogance produces such statements that religious people are dumber than non-religious people, which in itself is ludicrous, because IQ doesnt really represent any form of intelligence other than linear problem solving. for example, people with high IQs may not be capable of comprehending certain concepts that people with lower IQs find second nature. but, before i ramble any further, ill leave it at this for awhile
  19. Feb 25, 2005 #18
  20. Feb 25, 2005 #19
    This raises an interesting sub-problem: Does the ability for linear problem-solving preclude the acceptance of a belief-system/religion?

    I don't see why it would (indeed, one could probably say that some people hold to rationality and logic "religiously), but it's worth considering.
  21. Feb 26, 2005 #20


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    I want to have my say (in a civil fashion of course) but I realise that it's useless in the long run, because sooner or later an admin is going to close this thread. The prior thread that was linked was closed even though it seemed fairly civil in the end with no flaming or ad-hominems. Yet, it was still closed.
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