CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

One of my co-bloggers, J.L. Hinman, author of the very fine Metacrock's Blog recently showed me some data which some atheists are using to support the claim that atheists are smarter than Christians. He pointed me to a website where it measured the average IQ of a country and correlated it to the statement from a Pew survey of the percentage of people who said that religion was "very important" to them. Thus, in Angola, 80% of the people said that religion was very important to them, but the average IQ was a lowly 69. In Bangladesh 88% of the people said that religion was very important to them and their IQ was higher but still only an average of 81. Meanwhile, the three highest IQ countries were Korea, Italy and Germany with average IQs of 106, 102 and 102, respectively. In those countries, the percentage of people who thought that religion was very important to them were 25%, 21% and 27%, respectively.

What conclusion can be reached from these statistics? Well, some might conclude that religion makes people dumb. After all, if it is in countries where people find religion important that we find the people with the lowest IQs, it may be reasonable to conclude that religion is one of the causes of that lessening of IQ scores. I don't think that's a legitimate conclusion, and here's why: The graph is a straight correlation that does not take into account other factors. I can personally think of several reasons why the IQ of a country like Angola is low. Could it be, for example, that IQ is affected by poverty? Consider, for example, this:

Contrary to "The Bell Curve" findings, a new study by researchers at Columbia and Northwestern Universities suggests that poverty and early learning opportunities -- not race -- account for the gap in IQ scores between blacks and whites. (The study will be published in the April [96] issue of Child Development.)

Adjustments for socioeconomic conditions almost completely eliminate differences in IQ scores between black and white children, according to the study's co-investigators. They include Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Pamela Klebanov of Columbia's Teachers College, and Greg Duncan of the Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research at Northwestern University.

As in many other studies, the black children in the study had IQ scores a full 15 points lower than their white counterparts. Poverty alone, the researchers found, accounted for 52 percent of that difference, cutting it to 7 points. Controlling for the children's home environment reduced the difference by another 28 percent, to a statistically insignificant 3 points -- in essence, eliminating the gap altogether.

In other words, a major factor in terms of a person's IQ is the poverty in which they were raised. Is Angola poor? You bet. Looking at the chart, what are the places where the IQ is the lowest (70s or less) you see many poor countries: Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Guatamala, Ghana and Angola. Most of these countries are poor African countries -- several of which appear on the UN's list of least developed countries. Those that aren't on the list certainly don't strike me as wealthy countries. South Africa is probably the wealthiest of the countries on the list, but the average IQ there is brought way down by the fact that they are having to deal with the new black majority that was held back in poverty by the evil system of Apartheid for so many years.

What about the other direction? Germany certainly isn't poor, is it? Only 21% of its people say religion is very important yet the average IQ there is 102 -- one of the highest on the chart (2nd to only South Korea). But how much poverty is in Germany compared to Angola? Not much. How good are the schools in Germany? While not considered to be the best in Europe, German education is still among the better educational systems in the world. Does the education a person receive make for a higher IQ? You bet. According to brainy-child.com:

Schooling is an important factor that affects intelligence. By schooling, one can improve knowledge of specific facts for intelligence tests, familiarity with testing practices, concentration and attention span, and verbal problem solving skills. Therefore, there is no doubt that schooling helps raise one's IQ.

On the other hand, research has indicated that children who do not attend school or who attend intermittently eventually have poorer scores on IQ tests than those who attend regularly. At the same time, children who move from low-quality schools to high-quality schools are more likely to show improvements in IQ scores. Besides
transmitting information to students directly, schools teach problem solving, abstract thinking, and how to sustain attention, which are all skills required to score well on IQ tests.

The bottom line is that there are many, many reasons for many of these countries to have higher IQs than others, and religion seems to be virtually a non-factor.

Perhaps this is the conclusion that the statistics may lead us to: smarter people don't find religion to be that important. In other words, atheists are really smarter than Christians. If that is the conclusion that a person draws, she really needs to reason through it again. First, we need to be careful about what the Pew survey really revealed. Saying that a person doesn't find "religion very important" isn't the same as saying that they are atheists or disbelievers in God. They simply may not rate religion as important as business or family or football. They may simply never have looked into the issue or have rejected a particular faith in which they may have been raised. It may not even be Christianty that they are rejecting -- even in Germany. Thus, we have to be careful about what it means when someone says "religion is not very important."

Second, continuting to use Germany as an example, it appears that Germany has an average IQ of 102 and only 21% of the people find religion to be very important. Now, personally, I think an average IQ of 102 is nothing to brag about. If the average IQ score is 102, then roughly 50% of the people have IQs higher than that and 50% have IQs lower than that rather average number. If 79% of the people in Germany don't think religion is that important, than it seems reasonable to conclude that a large number of people with IQs below 100 (possibly well below 100) don't find religion very important. Can we conclude from such data that it is people with lower IQs don't find religion important?

Third, there is no data as to which percentage of the highest IQ people in these countries believe that religion is very important. Some might conclude that the highest IQ people don't believe religion is that important, but such a conclusion is not based upon the statistical evidence. It's possible (albeit, admittedly unlikely) that all 21% of the people who find religion to be very important in Germany lie within the top 50% of the IQ in the country. It may even be possible that they constitute the entire top 21% of the IQs in the country and that those that don't find religion that important all have IQs that are below those who find religion to be very important. The data simply doesn't tell us one way or the other, and drawing a conclusion from this data that one group has a higher IQ than the other is simply reading one's own predilictions into the data.

Fourth, let's suppose for a moment that the percentage of people who find religion important is uniform throughout the population. If that is the case, then in the top 10% of IQs in Germany the same percentages would hold, i.e., 21% of the people wold agree that religion is very important while 79% of the people would hold that religion isn't very important. Does that mean that the 79% who think one way are necessarily more right than the 21% of the people in the same range of IQ scores who disagree? Hardly.

Also, consider this: suppose virtually all of the people in Germany that are religious are not as intelligent as those who think that religion is not very important. This is an extremely unlikely scenario. My IQ scores are well above 102 and I am completely and affirmatively Christian. But supposing that almost the entire 21% of those who think religion is important are in the bottom 21% of the country's IQ scores. But suppose also that just one person in the highest possible tier of IQ scores -- the top .00001% of the country with an IQ of, say, 210 -- is a devout believer who finds religion true and very important. Why would it be inappropriate to believe the one guy who is apparently among the very brightest of people in that country? If even one very intelligent person believes in God, then it seems that IQ levels are irrelevant to whether a person is going to believe in God.

Having said all of the foregoing, I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that some very smart people not only don't find religion important, they are devout atheists. Does that somehow mean that the people with the lower IQs are wrong? Certainly not. In fact, the poor and the less gifted people are going to be attracted to religion more than the gifted and intelligent but not because they aren't smart enough to know better. Instead, people who are gifted and intelligent tend to have a higher view of themselves and their own importance and abilities. In all sincerity, it isn't necessarily a "I'm smarter"-thing, but rather a "I don't need God"-thing. People who already recognize that they aren't as smart or as gifted as other people are more ready to recognize that they need help -- that they cannot make it on their own.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Those who are proud of their own intellect and their gifts are not seeking God, and what they aren't seeking they will never find.

=====

Addendum 3/22/07: GodandScience.org has published a graph which shows a correlation between the IQ scores and religion, on the one hand, and IQ and GDP per capita which can be found here. I am also going to try to reproduce it right here:




I think this graph demonstrates what I was talking about in the first part of my post.

22 comments:

Would it be illiberal to point out that this website's author could have shown higher intelligence, by not misusing "begs the question"?

"The data shown above begs the question: what would be revealed by a survey that correlated IQ and religiosity on an individual basis? Within a given population, is religion more important to persons of high intelligence, or low intelligence?

This is not the only evidence for the negative link between religiosity and education or IQ. In the U.S., religious faith is negatively correlated with education. We need to address that realistically for what it is. Also, you discussed whether religion leads to low IQ, but the converse question needs to be considered also: does low intelligence lead to increased religious faith?

I'm not at all convinced that case can be made; and as you said in closing, it doesn't necessarily undermine Christianity even if it does.

IQ is mostly a function of schooling and GDP. The wealthier nations have a higher IQ level. So, the main factor is not religious belief, but wealth:

Graph

Interesting observation, Godan. It's that old correlation-causation bugaboo again--like the finding a few years ago in St. Louis that violent crime was positively correlated with ice cream sales in the city. (Danger! Keep your family far, far away from Dairy Queen!)

It's well-nigh impossible to figure out just from the data what's really going on here.

Trying to determine the relationship between IQ and religious faith is impossible. There are likely many millions of church attendees whose faith is questionable and many unchurched folks who are strong believers. People may be very hesitant to be candid about their religious beliefs (or the lack thereof) for many valid reasons. Belief in God can't be reduced to numerical values. Furthermore, quantifying religious belief and claiming concrete conclusions is, inevitably, a dead end street. Really smart people will never completely reveal their innermost thoughts.

You God people always argue the same way: "you can't prove it! nyah nyah nyah nyah!" sticks fingers in ears - then you all high-five each other about showing it to those damn pesky atheists. You can believe what you like of course, but if you're really open minded you won't mind someone getting in the way of all that back-slapping for a serious discussion.

The evidence clearly tends to suggest that smarter AND more affluent people are moving away from religion. They have decided that they don't need it, and frankly that the stories are not likely to be true. You don't have to believe that - you can argue statistical methods for example, but you believing it or not won't affect whether it's true.

The site you linked to shows a number of scientists who believed in God. Note I said "believed" - as they are all dead now. Centuries ago, much less was known about the world, so the God of the Gaps was strong. A lot of things were unexplained, so the religious explanations were taken as gospel (do you see what I did there?). Now as things are explained within tangible physical laws, the gaps are getting smaller - they will never disappear, but it's quite relentless. It's not that science will answer everything - perhaps knowledge is infinite - it's just that everything religion has put before it (to do with the physical world), science has so far been able to answer. There's no reason to suggest that will stop. There's also the social pressure - in a religious society, pretty much everyone is religious. I'm not saying they only believed in God for those reasons, but they certainly helped.

Fast forward to today - just a random quote from _Scientific American, September 1999_: "Whereas 90% of the general population has a distinct belief in a personal god and a life after death, only 40% of scientists on the B.S. level favor this belief in religion and merely 10 % of those who are considered 'eminent' scientists believe in a personal god or in an afterlife."

It seems clear to me that educated thinkers are moving away from religion. Again you can argue it, but just suppose it is true for a moment - what does that tell you ? Of course a bunch of people believing one way doesn't mandate that you believe that same way - but if a majority of people who think (at a high level) for a living are tending to disagree with you, maybe it's time you had another look at your beliefs, with a view that they might be wrong ? No harm in that.

I for one am open to the possibilities - you see my personal denial of the bible stories are that they seem extremely unlikely to me. But I will admit that it's unlikely I could be convinced of any single event that happened 2000 years ago, without believable surviving evidence, and quite frankly no piece of evidence could convince me that Jesus rose from the dead. That's not an argument that it didn't happen - it's actually an admission that there's probably no proof I would accept - so I don't particularly hold the lack of evidence against Christianity. I even realise that if there's a second coming, that everyone will again start believing (those who are left) and if the world continues on after it, belief will slowly wane in the hundreds and thousands of years after that event - until the next one.

That said though, I don't believe the stories - but you can believe what you like. The issue I have with religion is one that Steven Weinberg stated: "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

Using religion to force people to live their lives a certain way is a terrible thing. If God is really the judge then let him do it.

mikey182

mikey182,

The point of the post is that I don't agree that the evidence cited "clearly tends to suggest that smarter AND more affluent people are moving away from religion." I agree that in our western culture there are certainly fewer Christians and I agree that we are more affluent in the west, but that doesn't add up to "people with higher IQs are not Christian." Nor does it create a correlation. If you think it does, then you are the one who is sticking your fingers in your ears and saying, "don't try to confuse me with the facts, I'm happy with my innuendo."

Oh, and I absolutely agree that it whether someone believes something or not is not proof that it is true. But that goes both ways.

I will say that you put too much faith in science. You say, "everything religion has put before it (to do with the physical world), science has so far been able to answer." That's simply wrong and if you studied any number of areas (origin of life, quantum mechanics, fluid dynamics, etc.) you would know that there are areas of science where scientists not only don't have an answer, but they have no clue as to what the answers might be. But your post assumes that if science proves something, it pushes Christianity into the background. That's also wrong. Science was given a real birth during the reformation because Christian scientists understood that the universe is God's creation and that there is value in studying it. When science comes up with observations that can be used to make predictions that are helpful to society, Christains celebrate too.

This may surprise you, but I agree that many educated thinkers are moving away from Christianity. But that's largely because of what Francis Schaeffer called the "monolithic consensus" against the Christian position. But that consensus is not caused by failings in Christianity, it is the result of years of philosophical humanism being the basis of knowledge. That, however, is a very long discussion, and I recommend to you Schaeffer's "How Should We Then Live?" if you want to see what he means by that. For purposes of this comment, I would simply say that if you are told every day from every quarter that black is really white, you will believe it to be true, and that is why many educated people are moving away from God.

BTW, I do reexamine my faith all of the time. That is partially how I got into apologetics. I had doubts about what I believed and I wanted answers. You know what? I found answers -- good answers. I don't know why you reject these answers, but I strongly suspect it has to do with your statement that the Bible stories "seem unlikely to me." I agree that they are unlikely. But being unlikely does not make them not true.

Lastly, you say: "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." First, I disagree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. Good people do evil all of the time without religion's help at all. Second, I think that without recognizing the existence of God you cannot say that there are such things as good and evil in the first place, and so the entire statement is nonsense.

Hi there, and thankyou for your considered response.

> The point of the post is that I don't agree that the evidence cited "clearly tends to suggest that smarter AND more affluent people are moving away from religion."

You state later that you think this IS the case (with "educated thinkers"), you just disagree with the reasons for it.

> but that doesn't add up to "people with higher IQs are not Christian." Nor does it create a correlation. If you think it does, then you are the one who is sticking your fingers in your ears and saying, "don't try to confuse me with the facts, I'm happy with my innuendo."

I think you're arguing semantics about "statistical proof". Statistics can never prove anything, all they can do is allow a broader picture that we might not otherwise see, that tends to suggest certain conclusions. To say that the statistics don't prove intelligent people are less likely to be religious is disingenuous - by claiming that it's failed to prove something (that it never could) you are saying it's not telling us anything.

It doesn't create a correlation, but it does suggest that there might be one. And the correlation is actually possible too. There are only a few things that cause someone to have religious belief: (1) Direct influence from a Deity (including innate belief), (2) Family and society pressure and (3) Reason (hearing the stories/evidence and deciding for oneself) - reason isn't necessarily logical of course, people will accept lower standards of proof for things they want to believe (or disbelieve) for instance. But that's it - only those 3 things can lead to religious belief. If the evidence says that people with higher IQs and more wealth are less likely to be religious, then it is certainly possible (if not probable) that this is because their Reason has not allowed them to believe. Over time this creates a society more tolerant of non-religious people and that pressure also wanes.

This is I think what we're seeing today. I guess you don't.

I should also point out that family and societal pressure can still be very strong and outweigh reason by itself. Take for example the Jewish community - probably as a rule one of the most educated and affluent, yet also one of the most religous still. I think it's the exclusive nature of the religion that makes it's societal bonds very hard to break. I believe it's to Christianities credit that it is so tolerant and (nearly) accepting of other religions (even though you will cheerily tell me I'm going to hell if I don't accept jesus as my lord and saviour...)

> I will say that you put too much faith in science. You say, "everything religion has put before it (to do with the physical world), science has so far been able to answer." That's simply wrong and if you studied any number of areas (origin of life, quantum mechanics, fluid dynamics, etc.) you would know that there are areas of science where scientists not only don't have an answer, but they have no clue as to what the answers might be.

Of course many things are still unknown - I didn't say we know everything now (in fact I said knowledge might be infinite). Science is relentless at answering unknowns, even if the answers don't come as soon as we'd like. I certainly put a lot more faith in science to find out than I do in religion - even if God exists and the Bible is true, there don't seem to be many cures for disease coming out of it recently.

What don't we know about the origin of life ? Maybe it was a big bang or an associated theory, maybe it was God creating the world in a week - I tend to believe the former but really what does it matter? I absolutely agree that knowing God created the earth would have a huge impact on my life - but saying the answer to the origin of life is "God created it" does absolutely nothing towards that goal. It doesn't explain anything that's of any use to me. You can't balance the entire weight of religious belief on a statement like that (well you can, but it doesn't do anyone any good).
I'm also curious what we don't know about quantum mechanics and fuid dynamics etc, that (a) we're breathlessly waiting for science to find an answer for and (b) that religion can give us any input on at all.

> When science comes up with observations that can be used to make predictions that are helpful to society, Christains celebrate too.

That's great. What do they do when observations are made that are considered heretical ?

> This may surprise you, but I agree that many educated thinkers are moving away from Christianity. But that's largely because of what Francis Schaeffer called the "monolithic consensus" against the Christian position. But that consensus is not caused by failings in Christianity, it is the result of years of philosophical humanism being the basis of knowledge. That, however, is a very long discussion, and I recommend to you Schaeffer's "How Should We Then Live?" if you want to see what he means by that.

I'll read it sometime. However I'm not sure why you assert that it's not a failing of Christianity that human knowledge could grow into a form that dismisses religion. If Christianity has all the right answers then why wouldn't that be where people tended to look ?

> For purposes of this comment, I would simply say that if you are told every day from every quarter that black is really white, you will believe it to be true, and that is why many educated people are moving away from God.

I find it amusing when the bully acts the victim :)
Maybe it's the Australian view I have, but from white "settlement" here 200 odd years ago, the country has been predominantly Christian, and only in the last 30 years or so has it started to wane. So from my view, all my life people around me have been pressured by family and society to be Christian, so I know exactly what you are talking about when you say "you will believe it to be true" - but I wholeheartedly disagree that this is why people are moving away from a Christian God - I think it's why they stuck with Him so long.

You have to at least accept the possibility that the current move away from God could be a progression rather than just a swaying of the tides.

> BTW, I do reexamine my faith all of the time.

I assumed as much or I wouldn't have bothered posting. I think everyone should question their beliefs.

> I had doubts about what I believed and I wanted answers. You know what? I found answers -- good answers.

Just as a matter of interest, a good friend of mine was extremely religious all his life. Then one day, around the age of 23 he decided to take the promise "seek and ye shall find" seriously. He seeked as hard as he could for about a year - then gave up on God. Maybe he shouldn't demand things of God, and He works in mysterious ways blah blah - but the fact is he was a strong believer all his young life and now he's not. Take from that what you will.

> I don't know why you reject these answers, but I strongly suspect it has to do with your statement that the Bible stories "seem unlikely to me." I agree that they are unlikely. But being unlikely does not make them not true.

In the absence of absolute proof you have to decide what you believe, based on likelihoods and more importantly the consequences of the belief. For example by not believing I may be damning myself to eternal hell. However the alternative is to believe that the bible is the word of God (just the new testament by the way, the old testament was just full of stories that weren't true, for simpler people of course). That means for example that it would be wrong for my grandfather to take his own life peacefully, painlessly and with dignity (in his mind at least). That is simply an untenable position for me - and I've thought about this a lot, so the only conclusion I can draw is that Christian belief is wrong. I have several other objections, but that is perhaps the most straighforward for me. So when I've got this absolutely fundamental moral standpoint on one side, and the opposing view disagrees completely but has some "unlikely stories" to back it up, then it's pretty obvious which way I have to go.

> Lastly, you say: "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." First, I disagree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. Good people do evil all of the time without religion's help at all.

Such as ?
A few selfish acts to the small detriment of others is not evil. Look at the bigger picture and tell me when Good people do evil without religion.

> Second, I think that without recognizing the existence of God you cannot say that there are such things as good and evil in the first place, and so the entire statement is nonsense.

Now that, my friend, is begging the question.
You are assuming that the bible view of good and evil is the only one, or the only one that's useful.

You don't need to believe in the Christian God to have a sense of worth in yourself, in the world, and in society - in fact non Christians should be more likely to care about the consequences in this world, since there isn't anything else for them. So if an action in this world causes harm to their world view, then that can be called evil - and anything that moves towards the way they want the world to be can be called Good.

Cheers,
mikey182

mikey182,

I think I love you.

The "higher IQ people tend to be arrogant 'thus' atheist" argument is pretty lame. I've never seen in real life people with this sort of epistemological reasoning, "I'm smart, so I don't need gods, then gods probably don't exist". Theism actually can have much of arrogance as well, irrespective of high or low IQs. It's not that unusual to find testimonials of people who feel that they are, either as individuals or a larger group (i.e.: Christianity althogheter or a certain specific christian religion, or any other religion) are "blessed", more favoured by their god than people in miserable or not-so-special conditions.

It's rather something more implicit than as I'm putting it, but I consider that most of the dismissals of this implicit perspective would be some sort of rationalization. As an example of probably high IQ, there's that very talented girl named Akiane, who is allegedly a daugher of an atheist mother. Well, she could very well be full of herself and think that she just happened to develop that talent by a set of peculiar reasons in her nurturing, or genetics (which isn't my preferred explanation), but instead she sees that as a sort of god-given gift, and allegedly even helped the conversion of her mother.

I think that we could get a much better approach to the issue, if trying to defend theism, by looking at the effect of science denial on fundamentalism and interpreting it as a possible accidental "straw man" of religion, theism, deism or even supernatural altoghether. People leaning to higher IQs, with more knowledge of science, could tend to generalize ande eventually reject *beliefs in the supernatural in general*.

Which I think that happens to be the case. For example, the argument of the effect of arrogance in epistemology would not say anything about the belief in ghosts, ETs/UFOs, reincarnation and many other possible supernatural or nonscientific ideas unrelated with deities. "I'm just so smart, so I don't need ghosts, therefore they probably don't exist", "I'm just so smart, so I can do many things in only one life, so probably reincarnation does not exists", "I'm so smart, so I don't need ETs abducting me", are things that, as the equivalent reasoning related with gots, do not make any real sense. But what all these things share in common is lack of scientific evidence.

That does not meaning that theism or deism, or even some of these other beliefs are actaully refuted, proven wrong, but only that according to science, there's not good support for them right now, and it's likely that there will not be in the future, unless we're pretty much mistaken in many things - which is not impossible but it's unlikely unless we assume some sort of ridiculous relativistic points of view of science, that would almost take seriously the idea that airplanes perhaps don't fly for real.

In my point of view, what should be real target of attacked then, it's not the atheists or their supposedly arrogance that would have lead to atheism, but the anti-scientific fundamentalism, at the same time that a more "sane" epistemology is defended, something that does not deny science, but that humbly (redundant emphasis: not arrogantly, in a science-denying way) appeals to our ignorance, at the same time that maybe encourages the value of "pure" faith, of the gut feeling that there's something else.

this is coming very late. But my research demonstrates clearly that more studies show religious people are smarter. Taken together studies that show either no correlation or favor the religious as smarter are about 16 t0 6. All the major studies that atheists can point to were done before the 1970s. The assumptions of psychology being what they were before the work of Maslow it is little wonder. Since the word of Maslow i the 60s and 70s psychologists have come to see religion as good, and positive, mentally healthy and studies no longer find smarter people are less religious.

http://www.doxa.ws/other/smarter.html

To Godan.. "IQ is mostly a function of schooling and GDP. The wealthier nations have a higher IQ level."

That's just not true.. The IQ, by it's definition is in no relation with the education, culture or GDP.
Education is, however, function of schooling and GDP. Therefore, you have mixed up education level with IQ level.

One should be cautious when drawing conclusions about causation from correlation.

Wealth and measured IQ are, for instance, related in both directions. A rich country can afford to provide better nutrition for children, which directly affects IQ. And a country whose workers have a higher average IQ than the neighbouring country is likely to also get richer faster.

Intelligent people being less likely to believe in God is one possibility. However to draw that conclusion you would need some way to show that it was not:

Religious thought suppressing thinking.

Religion causing poverty through over population because of its policies on contraception or abortion.

Poverty causing an increase in religious faith, through desperation.

However none of these seem particularly desirable conclusions.

Pallandozi

Its hard to convince either sides.

Against the atheism, believers have believers POV logic.

Against the believers, atheists have atheists POV logic.

From how i see it, non-religion nor scientifically, just by simple thoughts, the evidences by either sides or the rebuttal are one sidedly true as when one has closed his/her mind to the facts of the matter, they cannot accept others.

Both use science as proof but, science is just like religion, a way to explain a phenomenon that we observe. What we think may be the 100% fact now, may not be exactly true in a few decades from now.

BUT, the common thing is that, we all have a belief, why coerce the others into our own?

"My IQ scores are well above 102 and I am completely and affirmatively Christian."

LMFAO.

Laaz Molinari said...

Some said: ""My IQ scores are well above 102 and I am completely and affirmatively Christian." Well, if this was to be an argument, then I have doubts regarding the well above 102 IQ.
The GDP vs. IQ and the Religion vs. IQ graphs actually make sence, although one must never forget that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. On the other hand, if you assume that IQ is genetic (which seems to be 70% valid), then you might accept the logic: lower IQ leads to lower GDP on average. But not vice versa.

The problem with studies like these is that the data can be confirmed but the reasoning behind it cannot. There is, however, much stronger evidence linking IQ to GDP then there is in linking IQ to religiousity.
There is way to much conflicting correlations to adequately associate IQ and religiosity. For example, this study shows a correlation between higher religiousity and lower IQ's per nation. BUT, if you look at studies done in the United States in regards to homeschooled students vs. traditionally schooled students you find that homeschool students consistently score higher on standardized tests including IQ tests. In the US homeschool students tend to come from far more religious homes than traditional public school students. In that case, religiousity and high intelligence is positively correlated. Still another test shows that people who are more generous tend to have higher IQ's. While several different tests show that the more important religion is in a person's life, the more likely they are to engage in generous behaviors. Again, in this case religiousity positively correlates with high intelligence. And even still another study has shown that traditional conservatives (tend to be more religious) have lower intelligence than liberals (tend to be less religious) BUT that libertarians (tend to be less religious than traditional conservatives but much more religious than liberals) are more intelligent than BOTH groups.

SO what's the logical conclusion to all of this really? That GDP has much more to do with intelligence than most other factors and that religiousity probably has very little overall to do with intelligence. Similarly with states in the US. In one study Vermont is ranked with the highest IQ and the least religiousity but Virginia is ranked in the top ten and has relatively high religiousity. Mass. is number 2 in this particular study and has average religiousity. In another study it is ranked first. Arizona is ranked last in terms of IQ and has relatively low rates of religiousity. Nevada, with one of the lowest levels of religiousity is ranked second to last, just above Arizona.
You also have to be careful with studies like these in assuming that the labeling of religious importance automatically means that atheists are smarter. In several, but not all, of the countries that were in the top of this list atheism is relatively high. But like I said, that's the case in SOME but certainly not all. Just having lower value placed on religion doesn't automatically equal atheism. Something to think about.

How funny. It has been a long time since I read through these comments and I find two people questioning my IQ being above 102. For the record, I have had my IQ tested on several occasions and my IQ is much higher than that. I also qualify for MENSA (I just don't want to pay the fee to become a member). If you laugh or question that statement, it says more about your IQ than mine.

While its possible to make a rough estimate of ones learning potential (IQ) it is NOT currently possible to determine ones gullibility and ignorance, which I think are the REAL problems that not only provide faiths like Catholicism and Islam with the number of followers that that have, but also prevents those followers from realizing the con.

This is great!

What I think:

poor country = no education ---> dumb people = believe in god

The people that live in poor countries don't know any better and the only thing that they could do is believe in a "god" that will help them. And to release them from all their "suffering". I think people that do that are stupid and I just laugh at them, but since the people aren't well educated, you can't blame them.

What's harder to teach kids these days? Teaching them about multiplication, the Pythagorean Theorem, correct grammar, how cells work, or just simply tell them that if they believe in "God" or "god" and they will live happily ever after when they die or while they are alive?

Seems pretty obvious. Religion will be pretty much gone in the next few centuries, but I hope it'll be a lot sooner than that!!

Violet Black said...

Haha, if you think about it, a^2+b^2=c^2 is a little bit simpler than the Christian gospel with all the abstract stuff about sin and sacrifice. (I'm not sure how that might apply to other religious creeds.) It definitely involves less emotional investment as well; mathematical formulas and grammatical rules don't imply much about me as a person or require lifelong social interaction with invisible Entities that know all my secrets. I'd say for me it's been a worthwhile investment, to the point where I never think in terms of Heaven or Hell, but rather in terms of how different paths will affect one of the most important relationships in my life. (One must consider: If I ever get kidnapped by pirates, my human loved ones may not be reachable anymore! ;) ) But I can completely see how the cost-benefit profile of my particular religion would be off-putting to others.

Probably not many commentators here have taken a real IQ test. It is mostly a measure of cognitive abilities, and memorization. IQs do not correlate perfectly to real world knowledge though. Some members of MENSA are often not deep thinkers, and it is possible for some people with lower IQs to have great insight into the world.

It seems many commentators here want to think they are "smarter" than the poor dumb religious folk...insecure much?

I've personally been tested on the Wechsler test and scored 137. I have a doctorate in political science and consider myself a Christian. Religion is a matter of culture not intellect. It is also a matter of philosophy and not science.

Oh, and the "big bang theory" about the creation of the universe that mikey prefers was actually formulated by a Catholic priest, so certainly one can "believe" in God (though I think God is beyond the question of existence or non-existence) and be smart enough to formulate complicated scientific theories. :)

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