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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Since atheist have low self esteem they are constraint trying to reassure themselves by maintaining the myth that they are more intelligent than religious people. The stduies linking atheists to low self esteem I have posted on this blog before. They are mainly by Leslie Francis but there are others that link negative God image with negative self esteem. I have contacted a theory that atheists are so snide and rude on message boards and often reveal such vehiment hatred toward religion and religious people becuase their method of ganiing self esteem is to put down religious people. They put themselves up by putting us down.

I had previous done several pages on Doxa on atheist IQ claims. I went through every study to date (in the 90s) and demonstrated how 16 t0 6, the preponderance of the evidence favored a view that either religious people are smarter or that there is no correlation. Since that time some more studies have been done by atheists and they are being used extensively for propaganda. These new one's are even worse than those done before.

Here present a little synopsis of the new studies and criticism thereof and then a loot the old studies.

Einstein believed in God.

There's a huge lie being propagated about the net that religious people have lower IQ's than atheists. This is one of the major points being made the site that we looked at last time, the Psychology Today blog tended by Satoshi Kanazawa. That article and study she sites are everywhere. They are repeated on every atheist blog and website ad infinitum, not always approvingly.I promised I would deal with the IQ scam and I shall. The Study sited by Kanasawa is the Lynn, Harvey, Nyborg study. Nyborg is the main the figure. There are actually two studies by this same group. One of them deals with data gathered by department of labor (National Longitudinal surveys) the other study takes the data an analyzes it country by country. So one is about do religious children have higher IQ's version atheist (of course they say "no!"). The other one (linked above) is about do religoius countries have more smart people than atheist countries (of cousre they say not, atheist countries--wherever those are--have more smart people). These studies are ubiquitous. From this one set of data that the alleged researchers did not compile the vast army of atheists are willing to pat themselves on the back and assume they are smarter than people who believe in God.

The fact that the group did not collect their own data but used department of labor statistics is a problem because they data was not gathered from a study designed to measure or compare the intelligence of believers vs. non believers. There is no study design there. They have been criticized for referring to a large desperate group of statistics gathered by others with no attempt to unify or make sure they pertain to the same things. Before turning to that, however, it would be more helpful to examine the old data. Before the Nyborg study there was an atheist website that tried to prove the same thing, it got a great deal of attention, until I destroyed it. I proved that they lied about one of the studies.

Nyborg had also been criticized as a racist and sexist. He believes that women are less intelligent then men. He says the Danes have given up trying to control their dentity by relaxing natural selection and an influx of low IQ foreign workers has brought down the IQ of the nation.

The original data was from "Free Inquiry" Spring of 1986. This forms the basis of the whole IQ scam. It's been floating around for years and thousands of atheists have been brain washed by its' lie. It is a lie as I am about to demonstrate. It's been floating around in the form of several websites that take their ques from this one. The sites its on is called 'the liberalism resurgent, by Steve Kangas." That's the site I linked to for my rebuttal page way back years ago when I first put it up. All he does is list a bunch of studies that supposedly show that atheists have higher IQs than religious people. These were all done with school children, so there's no way to know how many of the same kinds in the study who said they were atheists became religious in adulthood.It's an easy guess that many did because that happens a lot so it would be important to know that. Moreover, notice he places the Hoge study (#15) Hastings and Hoge, 1967, 1974 (actually two studies) in the category of those that back his view. But I received literature form Dr. Francis a researcher in UK university who did several studies on the issue, this literature showed that Hoge showed no correlation between intelligence and religious belief, which contradicts the study and indicates that Kangas either lied or made a blunder. One can see from the rest of the literature that the thesis Kangas is working on is totally ravaged by the facts from just listing the studies that Francis sent in his study:

What follows is reproduction of my page:
The site also presents 17 studies giving the impression that all 17 support the thesis that more successful and higher scoring students tend to be non-believing students, while religious students score lower. Then they actually argue that this is a reliable guide to which world view is correct! (Appeal to success, similar to appeal to authority!)

But if we divide them into categories according to what they actually say, we see a much different picture. The first number is the counting number, to show how many are in each section, the number in parenthesis is the actual number given in the list on the website.

Studies too Veg to Draw a Conclusion

1. (#7) Donald Gragg, 1942
Reported an inverse correlation between 100 ACE freshman test scores and Thurstone "reality of god" scores.

2. (#9) Michael Argyle, 1958
Concluded that "although intelligent children grasp religious concepts earlier, they are also the first to doubt the truth of religion, and intelligent students are much less likely to accept orthodox beliefs."

3. (#14) Robert Wuthnow, 1978

Of 532 students, 37 percent of Christians, 58 percent of apostates, and 53 percent of non-religious scored above average on SATs.[but wait, there's no comparison of the scores, so even though only 38% of Christians as opposed to 58% of apostates scored above average, what if the Christians scored way above average and the apostates only slightly?]

4. (#16) Norman Poythress, 1975
Mean SATs for strongly anti religious (1148), moderately anti-religious (1119), slightly anti religious (1108), and religious (1022). [From what sample group? All of them? Doesn't say!]

The few studies that actually seem to support the conclusion

1. (#1.) Thomas Howells, 1927
Study of 461 students showed religiously conservative students "are, in general, relatively inferior in intellectual ability."

Doesn't show how conclusion was arrived at 2 (#2.) Hilding Carlsojn, 1933
Study of 215 students showed that "there is a tendency for the more intelligent undergraduate to be sympathetic towards atheism."

Doesn't really say "sympathetic" means self-identified as atheists, nor does it show how he arrived at his conclusion.

3 (3.) Abraham Franzblau, 1934
Confirming Howells and Carlson, tested 354 Jewish children, aged 10-16. Found a negative correlation between religiosity and IQ as measured by the Terman intelligence test.

4 (11.) Young, Dustin and Holtzman, 1966
Average religiosity decreased as GPA rose.8. Brown and Love, 1951 At the University of Denver, tested 613 male and female students. The mean test scores of non-believers was 119 points, and for believers it was 100. The non-believers ranked in the 80th percentile, and believers in the 50th. Their findings "strongly corroborate those of Howells."

5 (13.) C. Plant and E. Minium, 1967
The more intelligent students were less religious, both before entering college and after 2 years of college.[Doesn't say how they determined this]The interesting thing about this is, there are actually more studies that have counter findings than there are supporting the thesis, which give enough information to be clear about how they obtained it (with four that are too vague about this to consider).

6. (#4) Thomas Symington, 1935
Tested 400 young people in colleges and church groups. He reported, "There is a constant positive relation in all the groups between liberal religious thinking and mental ability There is also a constant positive relation between liberal scores and intelligence҆"Note: This guy with the website habitually assumes that liberal religious views are not religious views and counts liberal religious thinkers as unbelievers, which is absurd and dishonest; he does it with this study and on page 2, you will see he does it a lot.

Studies presented that actually count as evidence counter to the claim.

1. (#5) Vernon Jones, 1938

Tested 381 students, concluding "a slight tendency for intelligence and liberal attitudes to go together." [This doesn't say anything about religious belief or lack thereof. He's equating "liberal" with non-religious.]

2. (#6) A. R. Gilliland, 1940
At variance with all other studies, found "little or no relationship between intelligence and attitude toward god."[Obviously its not really at variance with "all" others since I just listed several others that don’t make those findings, and little or no relationship counts as negative evidence.]

3.(#10) Jeffrey Hadden, 1963
Found no correlation between intelligence and grades. This was an anomalous finding, since GPA corresponds closely with intelligence. Other factors may have influenced the results at the University of Wisconsin. [counts against his assumption that grades = intelligence so he can't measure intelligence through the studies that make that assumption. Also, what does he site in the face of this one to prove that graces indicate intelligence? And what about motivations?] (I suggest a sentence such as [This study discounts his assumption…)
4.(#12) James Trent, 1967
Polled 1400 college seniors. Found little difference, but high-ability students in his sample group were over-represented.[so they polled them? What did they use as a measure of intelligence? Doesn't say. But it does say they found no relation, or little, and virtually admit the sample is worthless so this counts as negative or at best as inconclusive.]

5. (#15) Hastings and Hoge, 1967, 1974
Polled 200 college students and found no significant correlations.[negative correlation is clearly negative evidence, there is no relation] Notice: the Francis study lists Hoge under the category of those that show no correlation between intelligence and religion, but that website lists it as positive to their thesis.
6. (#17) Wiebe and Fleck, 1980
Studied 158 male and female Canadian university students. They reported "nonreligious S's tended to be strongly intelligent" and "more intelligent than religious S's."[dosen't hint at how this was determined]

Studies not on the web site (listed by Francis) which found either no corrollation or postive corrollation

No Correllation

1) Feather (1964)Critical reasoning test and religious attitudes scale to 165 male psychology students. "He found no significant relationship between these measures."

2) Feather (1967) replicated in among 40 students.

3) Young et al., (1066) 32 item scale by Holtzman and young (66) five percent random sample of native born full time students at University of Texas, "where they found no significant relationship between mean attitude scores and cumulative grade points."

4) Dodrill (1976) 20 Christians, 24 non Christians, "This study found no significant differences between the two groups using the Westchester Adult Intelligence scale."

5) Francis (1979)using frequency of prayer and church attendance) 2272 school children between 9-11,"found no relationship between school assigned IQ's and religious behavior after controlling for paternal social class."

6) Fracis'('86 replication) findings replicated in second study among 6955 students.

7) Francis ('98) the study these studies are sited in, using sample of 711 students, the Francis Religious attitude Scale and standard IQ tests Francis again found no correlation.

Positive Correllation

1) Pratt (1937) among 3040 students at regional state college, taking denominational affiliation as sign of religiosity, "found that non-affiliates recorded lower mean scores on the American council Examination than any students affiliated to any denominational group."

2) Rummell (1934) also using denominational affiliation 1194 students at University of Missouri. "He found that non-affiliates recorded lower mean scores on his scholastic index compared with Methodists and Episcopalians."

3) Corey (1940) 234 Freshmen University of Wisconsin positive correlation between scores on the Ohio State Psychological Examination and the Thurstone scale of attitude toward God. "'The more intelligent were more favorably inclined toward God.'"

4) Kosa and Schomer (1961) 362 students at a Catholic undergraduate college: taking participation in campus religious activities as scale of religious attitude "intensive participants recorded significantly higher scores than non-participates on OSU aptitude Test and OSR reading comprehension test.

6 studies find negative correlation.

17 find positive or no correlation.

[Leslie J. Francis, University of Wales Lampiter, "The Relationship Between Intelligence and Religiosity Among 15-16 year olds," Mental Health, Religion & Culture, Volume 1, Number 2, 1998]

Counting all the studies together, both those presented as negative and those presented by Francis which are either neutral or positive, 17 to 6 in favor of the thesis being unproven. But more importantly, Hoge was listed wrongly, so what else can we not trust about those studies? Moreover, the sample size for the positive or neutral correlations are much larger in many instances. None of the negative sample sizes come close.

negatives: 1448, 532, 354, 315, 613, 400 (not all listed)

Largest positive or neutral:381, 1400, 200, 158, 165, 44, 2272, 711, 3040, 1194, 362.

The Positive or neutral studies would tend to be the better studies since they have more with larger samples sizes, and Francis controls for the Freudian bias which taints all the negative studies. Poythres (1975) sets the differences within the context of psychoanalytic theory.(Francis 188). We also notice that the negative studies tend to be older, ranging mainly form the 1930s to 1968, while all of the positive or neutral studies tend to be set in the 1960s to the 80s and one as recent as 98. This is explained by Hoge in terms of increasing socioeconomic status and greater exposure of religious people to new ideas at a younger age.

"The long discussed shock of freshmen encountering Atheistic professors at college and the transition problems from childhood beliefs to intellectually defensible beliefs have been reduced in recent years. Today the shock comes earlier and with less force than in decades past."(in Francis 188). (This capitalization is a matter of mild controversy. If Atheism is a religion, then it is capitalized as Buddhist, Moslems and Christianity are.)

We really have to ask ourselves, in studying students, especially freshmen in college, they are getting kids when they are the most rebellious? For those in early college they are going off to school for the first time, away from home, no longer under the strictures of Mom and Dad, they tend to rebel against Mom and Dad. It's a time of experimentation. Naturally we should expect to find that bright kids are experimenters, that they are willing to try new ideas. Secondly, how long did these kids remain unbelieving? How many are no in middle or even old age having had a life time of religious commitment gained in graduate school or beyond? Not a single one of these studies gave any indication of being longitudinal! That is extremely important, because it makes sense that students in late high school and early college will be rebellious and more inclined to question their upbringing. How many of them were actually still atheists 20 or 30 years latter? We don't know and not a single one of the studies even tried to find out. For all we know the vast majority of them might have become believers in 10 years out of college! In fact we have good reason to suspect that this is the case; after they got married and started raising families, they probably began to believe again, and this seems to be the pattern. That conclusion would also be supported by the quotation form Hoge above, the shock of leaving home, encountering atheist professors, dealing for the first time with serious challenge of new ideas could for time lead the unwary into doubt, but latter they recover.


A lot of people say Einstein didn't believe in a personal God. Isn't it ambiguous at the very least?

Hi Meta, I think debating self-esteem issues and I.Q. is far less interesting than simply reading books by intelligent people on the whole spectrum of religious and non-religious beliefs. And how much "low self esteem" are we talking about? You don't think Christian saints ever had low self-esteem, or Jonathan Edwards? You don't think Evangelists play on people's low self esteem to try and get them to convert? You don't think some Christians also have the opposite problem? Heightened egos offended at "blasphemy," "heresy," questions?

Also. . .

"After I wrote news accounts of the serpent-handling churches, sociologists visited and studied the congregations. One administered a psychological test to the Scrabble Creek flock, and gave the same test to a nearby Methodist congregation as a control group. The serpent-handlers came out mentally healthier." [James A. Haught, “Adventures in the Bible Belt” (1997), adapted from a Gazette column, Dec. 7, 1993.]

I also noticed that the studies in self-esteem involved something called the "Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity" which was devised by Leslie Francis and data derived from secondary school students and grad students in Northern Ireland Catholic and Protestant schools and in Wales. I suspect that kids raised in parochial schools would probably be under some unique pressures from the God believing majority, especially in Northern Ireland and Wales, simply by virtue of having to keep many of their opinions to themselves and feeling not so greatly "esteemed" by their peers.

Also, the IQ studies from the 1930s to 1960s were during the golden age of mainstream denominations, a rather broad minded and moderate bunch of Christians. Even those who rejected God in the 60s simply invented a "God is Dead" CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY rather than reject "God" and God-talk entirely.

I'd like to see studies of how many people believe in inerrancy, creationism, and what their levels of education are compared with those who believe in more moderate versions of Christianity. In fact I mention one such study in my book, Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists.

Joel, Einstein's views on "God" are not ambiguous. He didn't believe that God was watching him personally or was concerned about people's doings, nor did he think that believing in a personal afterlife as well as heaven and hell made people better. I suggest you dig deeper on the internet. There's plenty of well documented quotations and books on the topic of Einstein's beliefs. But look deeper than simply the word "God" but see what he says about the other matters I mentioned above.

Metacrock, I think you're overly concerned about "What atheists think" on the internet, especially on the topic of I.Q. I know a lot of people who have left the fold, at least I've spoken with lots online and many in town where I live, and though they agreed that they thought religious beliefs didn't make sense, they never complained about religious people's I.Q.s being low, nor claimed to have I.Q.s that were superior to that of others. The issues for them were the actual religious beliefs.

Neither do any of today's bestselling atheist authors trumpet their individual I.Q.s at least not that I've heard.

Though I did hear Kent Hovind trumpet his I.Q. number during one of his "creation evangelism" seminars.

Further food for thought on the "self esteem" question:

(The ‘Methodists’) demonstrate to secure, contented, happy mankind that it is really unhappy and desperate, and merely unwilling to realize that it is in severe straits it knows nothing at all about, from which only they can rescue it. Wherever there is health, strength, security, simplicity, they spy luscious fruit to gnaw at or to lay their pernicious eggs in. They make it their object first of all to drive men to inward despair, and then it is all theirs… The church must stop trying to act like a “spiritual pharmacist”--working to produce acute guilt, and then in effect saying, “We just happen to have the remedy for your guilt here in our pocket.” [Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison.]

Evangelical Christianity = Being made to feel sinful and guilty for not having felt sinful and guilty, in order that one might experience release from sin and guilt; Like donning lead boots and walking about in them until totally exhausted in order to have the exhilarating experience of taking them off again. [Conrad Hyers, Once-Born, Twice-Born Zen. Hyers is a moderate Evangelical Christian and former Chair of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College]

One of Christianity’s chief offenses is not that it has enlisted the services of bad men, but that it has misdirected the energies of good ones. The kindly, the sensitive, the thoughtful, those who are striving to do their best under its influence, are troubled, and consequently often develop a more or less morbid frame of mind. The biographies of the best men in Christian history offer many melancholy examples of the extent to which they have falsely accused themselves of sins during their “unconverted” state, and the manner in which harmless actions are magnified into deadly offenses. [Chapman Cohen, Essays in Freethinking]

In the days of my youth, ministers depended on revivals to save souls and reform the world. The emotional sermons, the sad singing, the hysterical “Amens,” the hope of heaven, the fear of hell, caused many to lose what little sense they had. In this condition they flocked to the “mourner’s bench”--asked for prayers of the faithful--had strange feelings, prayed, and wept and thought they had been “born again.” Then they would tell their experiences--how wicked they had been, how evil had been their thoughts, their desires, and how good they had suddenly become. They used to tell the story of an old woman who, in telling her experience, said, “Before I was converted, before I gave my heart to God, I used to lie and steal, but now, thanks to the grace and blood of Jesus Christ, I have quit ‘em both, in a great measure.” Well, while the cold winter lasted, while the snows fell, the revival went on, but when the winter was over, the boats moved in the harbor again, the wagons rolled, and business started again, most of the converts “backslid” and fell again into their old ways. But the next winter they were on hand again, read to be “born again.” They formed a kind of stock company, playing the same parts every winter and backsliding every spring. I regard revivals as essentially barbaric. The fire that has to be blown all the time is a poor thing to get warm by. I think they do no good but much harm; they make innocent people think they are guilty, and very mean people think they are good. [Robert Ingersoll, “Why I am An Agnostic”]

Were it true that a converted man as such is of an entirely different kind from a natural man, there surely ought to be some distinctive radiance. But notoriously there is no such radiance. Converted men as a class are indistinguishable from normal men. By the very intensity of his fidelity to the paltry ideals with which an inferior intellect may inspire him, a saint can be even more objectionable and damnable than a superficial “carnal” man would be in the same situation.
[William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience]

Francis dis about six follow up studies on the con tenant in placed such as Belgium. I don't' think we can say using private school students is a problem any more than tan we could using American public school Children.

more work needs to be done. I'm not trying debate that stuff like I do the cosmological argument. I think ti's improtant to understand. It does explain the iccreable need atheists feel to mock and ridicule.

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