High IQ turns academics into atheists

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http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=402381&c=2

In a forthcoming paper for the journal Intelligence, Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, will argue that there is a strong correlation between high IQ and lack of religious belief and that average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 countries.
I know that correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation, but it would be interesting if further study was being done. Does anyone know of any additional research in this area?
 

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  • #2
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U can start a poll here itself, i guess, to make a small study
 
  • #3
so atheism causes high IQ scores? ... cool. :biggrin: :tongue2:
 
  • #4
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That's one possibility, that atheists tend to question more around them while theists tend to assume 'god did it' (note I said tend). Another possibility is that people who have higher IQ's tend to come to the conclusion that there is no god. Another possibility is that it is a statistical anomaly, or that the study was poorly conducted. Also it could be that people with higher IQ's tend towards environments which lead to atheism (so high IQ's could be an indirect cause).

The causation could go either way, or there could be no causation, without further studies it's hard to say.
 
  • #5
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Does anyone know of any additional research in this area?
The results of this study agree with the results I have been informally collecting all my life.
 
  • #6
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The results of this study agree with the results I have been informally collecting all my life.
I was trying to stay away from putting down creationists.
 
  • #7
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well ill conform to that statistic... IQ=153... completely atheistic!
 
  • #8
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I think Mensa did a study on it a while back. Something like 93% of the members of that National Academy of Sciences and 60% of AAAS are atheists.
 
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  • #9
lol I was just joking about atheism causing a higher IQ.

Anyway, first of all, being religious doesn't necessarily entail being a creationist; though certainly not the majority, there are quite a few prominent scientists who are also religious (personally, I don't understand how they deal with what to me seems like a dichotomy, but clearly they manage just fine).

Second of all... let's not get on our high horses here— being an atheist doesn't exclude one from being an idiot (I would argue that having a high IQ doesn't exclude one from being an idiot either).

I would think that it's a combination of independent thinking and one's environment. Intelligent people in the western world tend to end up in places full of liberal circles and open discussions (universities)... but what about the many skilled engineers, biologists, doctors, etc. that come from islamic countries? — most of them are very religious.— if you're not exposed to such an environment, you're not as likely to consider atheism.
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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I think Mensa did a study on it a while back. Something like 93 of the members of that National Academy of Sciences and 60% of AAAS are atheists.
How many members are there in the National Academy of Sciences? Or was that supposed to be 93%?
 
  • #11
Ivan Seeking
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I think the obvious conclusion here is that people with high IQs tend to be evil.
 
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How many members are there in the National Academy of Sciences? Or was that supposed to be 93%?
:biggrin:

Sorry, that was 93%
 
  • #13
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I think the obvious conclusion here is that people with high IQs tend to be evil.
I agree. Or is it that evil people are intrinsically more intelligent? :rofl:
 
  • #14
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lol I was just joking about atheism causing a higher IQ.
I know you were, but I just wanted to illustrate that it wasn't impossible.
 
  • #15
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I know you were, but I just wanted to illustrate that it wasn't impossible.
I think it is more impressive/insulting to claim that the causality is the other way around.
 
  • #16
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My point was that, without further study, it's very difficult to draw any conclusions from this, other than that there is a correlation. I was hoping someone else knew of some additional research in the area.
 
  • #17
Ivan Seeking
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Drevil_million_dollars.jpg


QED
 
  • #18
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One possible explanation, in favor of the theists, is that poor people have lower education, and education correlates positively with IQ, so poor people have lower IQ, and poor people are more likely to be religious, so there you go.
 
  • #19
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One possible explanation, in favor of the theists, is that poor people have lower education, and education correlates positively with IQ, so poor people have lower IQ, and poor people are more likely to be religious, so there you go.
But why are poor people more likely to be religious? Where does that correlation come from?
 
  • #20
lisab
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But why are poor people more likely to be religious? Where does that correlation come from?
Maybe they need hope, and faith that things will get better. Just a guess.
 
  • #21
loseyourname
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My point was that, without further study, it's very difficult to draw any conclusions from this, other than that there is a correlation. I was hoping someone else knew of some additional research in the area.
I'm not exactly a social researcher, but if I had to posit a guess, I would say it's most likely due to people with high IQs tending to gain access more easily to advanced educations in computationally-intensive fields, which tend to emphasize naturalistic explanations for all phenomena. It's reasonable to think that could cause a tendency toward atheism. The way to test that would be to isolate a single group, say all people with PhDs in chemistry. If I'm right, within that group, there would be a much smaller correlation, or even none at all, between IQ and religious belief.
 
  • #22
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This does not surprise me at all. Stupid people tend to accept stuff that others feed them. Smart people constantly question things.
 
  • #23
Ivan Seeking
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I'm not exactly a social researcher, but if I had to posit a guess, I would say it's most likely due to people with high IQs tending to gain access more easily to advanced educations in computationally-intensive fields, which tend to emphasize naturalistic explanations for all phenomena. It's reasonable to think that could cause a tendency toward atheism. The way to test that would be to isolate a single group, say all people with PhDs in chemistry. If I'm right, within that group, there would be a much smaller correlation, or even none at all, between IQ and religious belief.
This is pretty much the way that I read it. And I think this can be applied more generally. In S&D we often see an extreme willingness to debunk based on logical arguments, but without ever considering the real evidence - the opinion is preordained based on the perception of a word. Most people prefer to post opinions, rather than consider the claim.

IMO, educated people tend to dismiss outright any claim that is inconsistent with their worldview, which in turn is based on logic, and deduction. Faith is a choice based largely on claims and personal experience. But in the end it is a choice as to how we weight evidence. Do we only accept scientific evidence for beliefs, or do we allow that the human experience might exceed that which can be quantified, or produced in a lab?

A purely faith based answer might be that the heart is like the mind: If you don't open it, nothing can get in.
 
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  • #24
AhmedEzz
It might be that most of the Western population don't have a strong belief in religion. Therefore, the more the person faces questions he couldn't answer which comes by study, questioning the environment around and maybe IQ and given that he doesn't entirely believe in religious claims the more he becomes an atheist.

But the question here would be, is the church not able to convince its goers with its teachings? or simply people chose not to be religious?
 
  • #25
Gokul43201
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The way to test that would be to isolate a single group, say all people with PhDs in chemistry. If I'm right, within that group, there would be a much smaller correlation, or even none at all, between IQ and religious belief.
Similar studies have been done among scientists, and contrary to your prediction, there is still a strong correlation between the "caliber" of the scientist and the rejection of theism. I've cited this study before, but I'll do it again now:

"Leading scientists still reject God", Nature, Vol. 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998)

Research on this topic began with the eminent US psychologist James H. Leuba and his landmark survey of 1914. He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God, and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 "greater" scientists within his sample. Leuba repeated his survey in somewhat different form 20 years later, and found that these percentages had increased to 67 and 85, respectively.

In 1996, we repeated Leuba's 1914 survey and reported our results in Nature [3]. We found little change from 1914 for American scientists generally, with 60.7% expressing disbelief or doubt. This year, we closely imitated the second phase of Leuba's 1914 survey to gauge belief among "greater" scientists, and find the rate of belief lower than ever — a mere 7% of respondents.
http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html
 
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