I love the NSA. It's like having a secret fan-base you will never see, but they're there, watching everything you write and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that I may be some person's only form of unconstitutional entertainment one night.
Why can't people just accept that intelligence is moot?
Or is the suggestion that God makes Himself accessible only to either geniuses or cretins?
Well see, the flipside of intellectual people having more questions and scrutiny and having more trouble with claims that have no evidence would have to be the wise / philosophical types who can compartmentalize rationality and also have faith, which by definition is irrational... and that's the point.
Personally, I am a non-theist, but I have no disrespect for any theist that has no disrespect for me.
Mt. Rushmore: Three surveyors and some other guy.
Life goes on within you and without you. -Harrison
Hear the echoes of the centuries, Power isn't all that money buys. -Peart
After you learn quantum mechanics you're never really the same again. -Weinberg
this is being measured by percentage, so it makes you more likely to be affilaited with smarter people over the internet.
"You are the result of 4 billion years of evolutionary success, F***ing act like it!"
This study may answer some people's questions.
W M Gervais, A Norenzayan. Analytic Thinking Promotes Religious Disbelief. In Science 336, 6080 (Apr 27, 2012): 493-496.
Analytic Thinking Promotes Religious Disbelief
Though the effects seem temporary, it appears that the experience of exerting analytic thinking promotes skepticism regarding religion. This makes sense, because analytic thinking is quite different from synthetic thinking, which appears to be an orientation of persons engaged in art, and I remember from long ago a study of meditation masters and neophytes that showed meditation masters showed a greater capacity for synthetic thinking.
So it would appear that the reason the population of atheists might appear to be more intelligent, in IQ terms, than the population of religious believers is partly because they tend to be more experienced in analytic thinking, which is obviously favored on IQ tests.
IQ tests have three characteristics of note here. First, they predict doing well in academic work, but not necessarily anything else (the percentage of people with high IQs in the prison population is higher than in the general population, for example, and success in one's chosen field of work is not predicted by IQ outside of academic work). This means that IQ tests correlate with academic thinking, which is more analytic than synthetic.
Second, IQ tests have a high conformity component. Years ago, in the 1970s I think, a study showed that high scores on IQ tests negatively correlated with scores on "creativity" tests, i.e., tests of novel thinking. I don't know if this still holds true, but the point is that IQ tests measured a type of thought conventional in academic settings. In the study, using high school graduation as the low marker, more years in school predicted higher IQ, and fewer years predicted higher "creativity" quotients, i.e., more novel thinking.
Second, IQ tests are culturally biased. The Japanese as a whole did not have high IQ test scores in the immediate post-World War II era, but now, percentage-wise, they get higher scores than Americans, who got higher scores in that earlier era. This could not be the case if genetics were the most significant component of IQ. The cultural changes that occurred in Japan would have to account for it. Education there came to mirror content in the American and European systems more and emphasized math and science, and high school graduation rates and college attendance rates grew enormously. The Japanese people thus mastered and extended the parts of western culture that had given westerners an edge on IQ tests, parts of the educational system that stress analytic thinking.
Of course, not all atheists are more intelligent than religious believers. The OP involves populational results. Since more people are religious, and more academics are atheists, one would have to control for the variables of years in academic school and fields of study. But it is likely that the academic practice of analytic thinking, particularly in certain fields of study, simply prepares one to think in a way that is conducive to higher IQ test performance, and that this practice, not the content of one's field of study, leads to critical thinking skills that increase skeptical thought. Synthetic thought, in which meditation masters exceed neophytes and art students rather than science students are oriented, is different from this, and it is probably more likely to "go with" religion.
Last edited by choiceone; 07-17-12 at 05:20 AM.
I recall seeing a picture one time of a praying girl with a person in black behind her, forcing her to be in that position. Below the picture, it said "Religion - if you don't control your mind, someone else will."
"Too many followers of religion get lost in the details of their particular belief." -- Larry Hicok, state director of the American Atheists