# Do Atheism and IQ correlate?

Andrew Mason said:
In other words, you are unwilling or unable to rationally examine the actual evidence before establishing an opinion/belief about religious people. You have faith that your unscientifically analysed anecdotal experience can be generalized to all religious people. Why?

AM
I am far from unwilling or unable to examine evidence when I am out to form a conclusion.

My post was offering a possible explanation for the existing stereotype - not claiming a position. When dealing with stereotypes, it is exactly unscientifically analysed anecdotal experience and generalization that need to be considered, since that is how stereotypes come about.

loseyourname said:
This isn't the deists considering their observations of the natural world and concluding that certain questions can only be answered by appeal to a creator. What we mostly see are people that come up with extensive and convoluted lines of argumentation to justify their pre-existing faith. They didn't acquire that faith through any process other than uncritical acceptance.
I don't know what to say except that there are just as many uncritical people out of faith as in the faith. I think there might be a perception that atheists are more "critical" in their thinking b/c atheists do spend a considerable amount of time reading/thinking about these issues and their final conclusion is to reject God. If you haven't thought deeply about these things but aren't religious, you are most likely agnostic and are not likely to be as vocal as atheists. I can believe that there are some correlation between intelligence and atheism but I would be inclined to believe that it is largely because atheisms by definition requires one to have a very critical mind. Just because you are critical does not mean you are correct and the same goes for the many religious people who undertake the same thinking that atheists do but come to different conclusion.

I mentioned in the earlier post as well but I also believe that there is considerable peer pressure to turn to atheism in order to be consdered intelligent. So a good many young people who see that their professors are atheistics may be influenced to turn towards atheism just as a young person who sees that his professors are religious might turn towards religion. I believe this is consistent with one of the earlier studies mentioned about how there isn't as much of a correlation in younger people. So in conclusion, I'll agree that there seems to be a correlation but contend that it means nothing unless we actually understand the exact reasons for why.

Maybe, but the stats provided seem to indicate that the average non-religious person in America is at least slightly more intelligent and achieves more in scientific fields than the average religious person in America.
I would like to see clear evidence which correlates achievement in scientific fields to atheism. In any case, I believe there is considerable amount of prejudice in the scientific field against people who are religious.

Maybe you don't, but I do. If anyone is going to profess any metaphysical belief, regardless of whether it is religious in nature or not, he better have a good reason to do so; a good epistemic reason, not just a practical reason.
People do have good reasons and they can explain their faiths to the majority of the people they can encounter on a daily basis. If you want to be able to identify horses, what good is it to study zebras. Most of their daily experiences do not require deep philosophical manifestos about their faith. I happen to be at a place where most of the people require a more critical view so I take some time to think about these things so as to not make a fool out of myself.

GCT
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atheism is strictly related to personality and independent of intellligence, it has nothing to do with and is not related to intelligence in any sense. Being more intelligent does not make you more prone to atheism, becoming an atheist does not have any adaptative significance. In other words becoming an atheist will not increase your intellligence; it an issue between that of a sound mind and a radical personality.

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GeneralChemTutor said:
atheism is strictly related to personality and independent of intellligence, it has nothing to do with and is not related to intelligence in any sense. Being more intelligent does not make you more prone to atheism, becoming an atheist does not have any adaptative significance. In other words becoming an atheist will not increase your intellligence; it an issue between that of a sound mind and a radical personality.
Several bald assertions, no evidence. WIll the correlation just go away if you shout at it?

GeneralChemTutor said:
atheism is strictly related to personality and independent of intellligence, it has nothing to do with and is not related to intelligence in any sense. Being more intelligent does not make you more prone to atheism, becoming an atheist does not have any adaptative significance. In other words becoming an atheist will not increase your intellligence; it an issue between that of a sound mind and a radical personality.
Interesting, that you should use a quote by Planck to support your bigotry: his words in fact seem to debunk your position. You seem highly emotional about this topic. Are you of a religious persuasion yourself?
I suspect that an intelligent person IS in fact more prone to atheism in the sense of leaving faith to join the ranks of atheists, since an intelligent individual is more likely to think critically, which is a prerequisite for rejecting the faith one has been born into. One cannot reject what one does not crticize, surely?
I should like to point out that I do not mean to imply that persons of faith are not critical or intelligent: Martin Luther springs to mind here.

Kate.

Ivan Seeking
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I find it funny how atheists want to believe that their faith is based on logic and those who disagree are illogical. Thousands of years of human experience testify to the existence of a greater power. To me it makes much more sense to not potentially risk one's immortal soul based on a hunch. Consider what the atheist risks without proof. If life means nothing then choosing one belief over another makes no difference either. Pascal essentially made the same argument. What is the risk/benefit ratio as risk approaches eternity?

Andrew Mason
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katelynndevere said:
I suspect that an intelligent person IS in fact more prone to atheism in the sense of leaving faith to join the ranks of atheists, since an intelligent individual is more likely to think critically, which is a prerequisite for rejecting the faith one has been born into. One cannot reject what one does not crticize, surely?
Atheism is a belief that, fundamentally, is based on faith (unless the atheist actually believes there is clear evidence that no God exists, in which case he/she is simply deceived). Religion is based on faith.

Both the atheist and believer use some form of reasoning to support their beliefs. The main difference is that the religious person readily admits the faith aspect and celebrates it, while the atheist refuses to acknowledge it.

Agnostics, on the other hand simply say they don't know (and probably don't care) whether God exists.

AM

Andrew

You are right when you say that atheism and religion are both based on faith, in the case of the atheist who believes that deities do not exist. Your statement that the atheist who is convinced of clear evidence demonstrating that deities cannot exist is merely decieved is, as they say, not even wrong. Your statement that the main difference between them is simply that the believer 'readily admits the faith aspect and celebrates it' is rather simplistic; many deeply religious persons have gone to great lengths to prove that God or gods must exist - the creationists are a typical example. Many scientists believe that the nature of the universe is such that it must have had an intelligent designer - is this not an example of faith based on proof? As fot the atheist simply refusing to acknowledge the faith element of their belief, you are agin, not even wrong. many atheists have arrived at their position after a great deal of agonised soul searching and prayer.

By the way, which side of your fnce are you placing me, since I have not declared myself to be either atheist or religious?

Andrew Mason said:
Agnostics, on the other hand simply say they don't know (and probably don't care) whether God exists.
As an agnostic, I'll drink to that.

-Joel

IQ is easily quantized, and a degree of Atheism can be polled. The original post asks for a a correlation - a statistical correlation. With some research/study time, these two variables can be graphed against one another and a statistical correlation can be calculated (scale from 0 to 1, 0 being no correlation and 1 being perfect correlation). A correlation means nothing (as already pointed out in this thread, a correlation does not indicate any cause-effect relationships). However, I would like to see a correlation (r) value for these two variables. THEN the discussion/analysis of WHY a correlation exists, or doesn't exist, can begin...

Actually, correlation goes from -1 to 1.

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And you can't get a correlation just by studying atheists. You have to study a random sample of the population big enough to hold a statistically meaningful number of atheists - 30 or so - and and the same number of sigma 2 IQs. Then run your tests on the whole sample.

Honestly, I am suspicious of any declared correlation between atheism and intelligence. It reminds me of that study recently that claimed show differences between the brains of people who vote conservative vs. liberal.

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Honestly, I am suspicious of any declared correlation between atheism and intelligence. It reminds me of that study recently that claimed show differences between the brains of people who vote conservative vs. liberal.

I would tend to agree. This thread has been mostly based on some pretty thin dervative evidence.

I would tend to agree. This thread has been mostly based on some pretty thin dervative evidence.
Indeed. Altough it has made for some interesting discussion.

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BicycleTree said:
http://www.objectivethought.com/atheism/iqstats.html

Loseyourname posted this link at the beginning of this thread but I think that it should be posted again. The evidence here is far from thin.
1. I am really dubious about the studies from the 1930s and earlier for three interconnected reasons: I don't thin the tests were really good yet, it was the depression and attitude were skewed by events (marxism was popular in colleges and many of these studies were on collefge students), and finally I don't believe the professionalism of many of the investigators was high enough for them to do the careful attention to disturbing factors that would tend to weaken their conslusions.

2. Many of the studies talk about weakness of religion or broad-mindedness toward atheism, which are miles away from being atheist. That higher intelligence people tend to be more tolerant is no surprise, and was not the point of this thread, to judge by its title.

Why are you questioning the professionalism of researchers you know nothing about? And there were only a few studies from the 1930s.

The evidence is fairly plain. Perhaps the reason most of the studies did not ask (some did!) about absolute atheism is that most people are not atheist so the results are less accurate for a given sample size.

Tolerance of disagreeing viewpoints generally indicates that one is less certain of one's own viewpoint. It's a sliding scale from complete dogmatic belief to agnosticism to atheism. And some of the studies did expressly ask about atheism.

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BicycleTree said:
Why are you questioning the professionalism of researchers you know nothing about? And there were only a few studies from the 1930s.

The evidence is fairly plain. Perhaps the reason most of the studies did not ask (some did!) about absolute atheism is that most people are not atheist so the results are less accurate for a given sample size.

Tolerance of disagreeing viewpoints generally indicates that one is less certain of one's own viewpoint. It's a sliding scale from complete dogmatic belief to agnosticism to atheism. And some of the studies did expressly ask about atheism.
Sure I know about sliding scale, but in the case of atheism you don't have $$religious opinion = a(atheist) + (1-a)(theist)$$, or if you do then NONE of the studies were capable of telling that. The world is full of irreligious people and broad minded people. Very few of them are atheists.

We can differ on the professionalism of the researchers but the full power of statistics (factor analysis and principal component analysis) didn't become available until the middle 1930s, and it wasn't the custom then to obsessively worry about whether your distribution was normal and whether your significance tests were valid.

I don't know about factor analysis or principal component analysis, but by the central limit theorem the mean of your distribution is always about normal for a fair sample size. How much rigor are you talking about? And are you positive that significance testing was not around at the time?

Anyway, if you find a moderate correlation and your sample size is in the hundreds, your result is probably significant. They didn't have to _know_ how significant it was for it to be so.

Let's say I have a room full of people who said on a poll that religion is not very important in their lives. And I have another room of people who said that religion is very important in their lives. Now I bet you $20 that the first person you talk to in one of these two rooms is not atheist. Which room do you enter? Let's say that I have the same two rooms except that everyone in both of the rooms also answered on the poll that they are not atheist. And you pick one of the people at random except that you get to choose the room, and my bet is$10,000 that the person you pick will still not be atheist in 20 years. Which room do you choose?

I have the highest IQ ever : 290 and i am a catholic fundamentalist. Just read my signature.

TOTUS TUUS EGO SUM

marlon

my point is : YES they do relate...Now, close this thread

So let it be!

"TOTUS TUUS EGO SUM"
"YES they do relate...Now, close this thread"

I agree!

"dalet-yud" "di" (enough)