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Religiosity and Intelligence


Richard T. Hughes (whose accomplishments other than being an ATBC poster child remain unknown) writes on religiosity and intelligence in response to Dembski:

Already been done, Bill:



Numerous studies and meta-studies show that theistic belief is negatively correlated with IQ. I am fascinated by the causation aspect. Thick because they’re fundies? Fundies ’cause they’re thick. Shallow end of the gene pool? Does anyone have a hypothesis?

Hey Dick (I trust you don’t mind if I call you that as long as I capitalize it), did you know that shoe size correlates with level of education? The larger your shoe size the more education you’ve likely had. Is that because big feet cause big brains? Or because big brains cause big feet? Duh.

Anyhow, the primary point I wanted to make wasn’t that mixing idiots and loose correlations result in loose idiotic conclusions. That was a tertiary point.

The main point is that people like Dick make aspersions targeted at “fundies” that are identical to those made in the past based on race and gender. So called fundies have become a politically correct minority that can be verbally abused without consequence. If you yearn for the days when you could speak and act like one race or gender was superior to another, if you are so insecure about yourself that you have to castigate others to feel better about yourself, pick on the “fundies”! There will always be some group that small boys like Richard T. Hughes can use and abuse to feel like a big man. In other words, Richard T. Hughes is a racist at heart but since that’s not politically correct he transfers his racism to a politically correct minority.

The second point I wanted to make is how religiosity might be correlated to health, happiness, and prosperity. I don’t know the answer to that. It’s a question I put up for discussion. When everything else is equal, does being religious make one happier or sadder, healthier or sicker, more or less prosperous? I suggest what we do is survey people with identical IQs, identical levels of education, employed in the same professions, but differ by being either atheist or theist. Then we measure the health, happiness, and prosperity attributes to see if there’s any correlation. I predict there’s a positive correlation between religiosity and health, happiness, and prosperity when all other factors are equal.

As a closer, I’d like to ask if anyone knows of a study between religiosity and reproductive success. Does religiosity confer a differential reproduction advantage? Are Darwinists headed towards extinction because natural selection favors religious people? How ironic if so.

Douglas: Huh??? dacook dacook
That Mormon link only proves that scientists can be quite ignorant of religion, even their own. Douglas
What is probably the most religious state in the nation also produces the highest per capita number of scientists, and there is a positive correlation between the level of scientific education and religious belief: http://www.angelfire.com/az2/saintsci/ dacook
For what it's worth. I read an article written by (or it was an interview with) a commanding officer of a special forces school - I am fairly certain it was US Navy S.E.A.L. training. The C.O. stated that of those that passed the course, the most likely candidates to succeed/'pass & not quit' were those that were particularily religious (ie. not implied to include atheism) and didn't care about how they looked (ie. not too vain). JGuy
Well, I wasn't purposely ignoring that aspect by my focus on atheism...in fact I'd extend it to include much older theists. I know many theists (Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc), young and old, who barely know the foundations for what they claim to believe. In fact, many make claims that are not supported by their own documents (Bible, Quran, Book of Mormon, etc). My point is that in earlier years it wasn't popular to be an atheist so most atheists at least had a foundation for their beliefs. As such most of those atheists should have a decent IQ. But now that it's becoming popular to be an atheist in some circles you'll start to see the problem in atheist circles as we currently see in theist circles. Patrick
Patrick, I've met many, many similarly aged kids of theist bent who posses similar shallowness of their belief, knowing only the VBS rote of their childhood and nothing of Aquinas and Augustine, little of the bible and superficial apologetics. I chalk it up to age and inexperience. todd
I would think that the supposed correlation between theistic belief and IQ has more to do with peer pressure, popularity, and emotion. The theistic group is the vast majority and would include more of those with lower IQs. At the same time I've noticed it's starting to become a popularity thing to be considered an atheist among young people. I met a 19 year old atheist and she didn't have any real basis for her beliefs...it seemed she took them on because her friends all professed to be atheists! She didn't know who Bertrand Russell was or anything at all about the historical foundations of atheism or the common arguments surrounding the subject. I've met others like that but they usually have a more solid foundation than believing it because friends believe it. Patrick
I wonder if perhaps the education/'funamentalism' correlation is such because fundamental christianity appeals to a broad section of society whereby education is not a requirement for belief? What really bothers me about these claims is when they are used to bolster a notion that fundamental faith is somehow non- or anti- intellectual. I know fundamentalists who are highly educated and very intelligent and these exceptions lay such causal claims to waste. It is also worth asking what is meant be 'educated'. In the US there are many many paths to education and training and if this correlation is limited to 4 + year college degrees then it really doesn't tell us anything about education and fundamentalism. It says nothing about competence, reliability, honesty or wisdom. todd
It's probably true that religiousity and IQ are negatively correlated. However a correlation is not the same as a cause. There's an positive correlation between foot size and IQ in kindergarden but it doesn't prove that foot size causes high IQ. (it's age and brain development) Perhaps: 1. Higher IQ people tend to have more confidence and often take pride in their thinking. (something like a know-it-all) 2. Education involves a little secular indoctrination. Anyway... wisdom and intelligence aren't the same thing. WinglesS
While the traditional scope of intelligence is fine as far as it goes, maybe we are barking up the wrong tree. Big deal if a person is brilliant, if they are miserable and can't get along with anyone. We all can recount the brilliant individuals throughout history that have taken us down the wrong path. Human achievement is a team effort, for the most part. A few brilliant breakthroughs are dwarfed by the everyday progress made by slogging in the trenches. Sorry if that is not as exciting or spectacular as what we would like to believe. So, much more important is when we add emotional and spiritual intelligence to the mix. "Recent research, for example, has shown a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and workplace success. Similarly, it appears that spirituality is related to workplace performance or effectiveness. " http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=881498 Ekstasis
How would you know Dave ? Are you following me around ? Ok it was a pretty good guess :D jwrennie
jwrennie There might even be an inverse correlation. Careful. You're starting to sound like my wife only you don't have the legs to make me grin and bear it. DaveScot
There is a special kind of foolishness that only education and intelligence can give you. When you run across it, it is something special to behold. geoffrobinson
Dave, There might even be an inverse correlation. Jason jwrennie
jwrennie high IQ does not translate into not being a person for whom stupid ideas have appeal High IQ doesn't seem to be any indicator of high common sense. DaveScot
Dave, That might well be, i'm just noting that having a high IQ does not translate into not being a person for whom stupid ideas have appeal. jwrennie
jwrennie The system is designed so that higher IQ results in higher education. SAT scores are a good proxy for IQ scores. Higher SAT score means better chance of admittance at many universities and scholarships to help pay for it. Plus the lower the SAT score the more effort is required to get passing grades which also favors the high scorers in acquiring more years of education. DaveScot
Public schools are run by evolutionists. ID is not allowed in. Remember? tribune7
Funamentalism may indeed be correlated with less education, and I think it might have to do with being more easily led. But I object to equating religiosity or spirituality with fundamentalism. avocationist
That is cynical Mike :P I thought about adding it to the list, but I thought it would not make the point as effectivly. jwrennie
Jwrennie: "And besides, some really smart people believe some unbelieveably stupid things, academics endorse things like infanticide, euthanasia, paedophillia, communism etc" And Neo-Darwinism. mike1962
russ Anecdotal evidence has me fairly convinced that thesists have a differential reprodutive advantage over atheists in the U.S. But when I looked for a study to confirm it I couldn't find one. DaveScot
Bill Yes, I see you wanted to control for education and explicitely make it ID not generic religiosity. As I wrote, discrediting Richard T. Hughes' answer was a tertiary goal. It didn't require much effort. I posted it because it was a good basis to raise some questions other than what you posed. TomG I strongly suspected that more spiritual people enjoy greater health and happiness. Married men live longer than unmarried. People who own pets live longer. Anything that relieves more physical and emotional stress than it causes tends to have positive health benefits. Happiness goes along with less stress too. DaveScot
I am not a believer in the revealed religions, but you simply can't neglect the evidence that Tom G. presents. Whatever the ultimate reason for the value of religion in the life of humanity-we may never know- but you simply can't neglect this evidence without revealing your bias. I would like to see a study correlating religiosity and ID-especially Christianity. Maybe we could put that one to bed for good. bj
"As a closer, I’d like to ask if anyone knows of a study between religiosity and reproductive success. Does religiosity confer a differential reproduction advantage?" - Dave Scott Dave, I don't think you need a study to show this. The Bible repeatedly talks about children--including "many children" as a "blessing". Much of American culture, especially the more secular political left, seem to view children more as an inconvience or at best, just one more of many lifestyle options. If Christian "fundamentalists" hold the Bible as fundamental, than they are more likely to have larger families. The following link is more about differential reproduction in Progressives versus Conservatives, but since there's some correlation between Conservative Christianity and political affiliation in America, this would suggest that there's more reproduction going on among anti-Darwinists. http://www.ppionline.org/ndol/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=127&subid=170&contentid=253870 russ
Given the state of university education and the sorts of idiocy advocated by some advocates, why would anybody think IQ correlates with education ? And besides, some really smart people believe some unbelieveably stupid things, academics endorse things like infanticide, euthanasia, paedophillia, communism etc Something be proud of. jwrennie
Here is an aggregation of studies that show positive correlates of spirituality. There's a ton of them. TomG
Here is an aggregated list of studies showing that spirituality has many positive correlates: http://www.thinkingchristian.net/C278308471/E20061109133826/index.html TomG
My challenge was to compare college students who accept ID vs. those who accept a materialistic form of evolution. ID is not the same as religiosity or creationism for that matter (opponents want to identify the two, but creationists have distanced themselves from the ID position). Fundamentalism tends to be correlated with lack of education, so my point was to control for education. I don't think the relevant study has been done. William Dembski

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