Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

(RNS) Miron Zuckerman is careful to point out that his work does not mean only dumb people believe in God. Rather, he said, it shows only that more intelligent people may have less need for religion.

162 Comments

    • You do realize the range is -1 to 1? There are many times in my lab, I’d be pretty happy to observe a -0.24. Its too bad the actual paper is paywalled, as its 30+ pages could be useful from a mission development standpoint… the abstract alone doesn’t do justice to the wealth of information within.

      A few key bits… 1. Intelligence for purposes of this study is only analytical intelligence, not emotional or intuitive. 2 As far as religion goes, the authors are referring to intrinsic religious beliefs as contrasted with extrinsic religious activity, ie church attendance. 3. This is a wide ranging meta analysis across a multitude of faith practices.

    • Wow, you could not be more wrong.

      This is a good example of how you need some ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE before you go spouting off opinions.

      The figure is a correlation. 0.24 is not a quarter point of IQ, it means there is a very substantial correlation between intelligence and lack of religion.

      • Before you make statements declaring someone in error, perhaps you should have your own facts straight.

        The main result of a correlation is called the correlation coefficient (or “r”). It ranges from -1.0 to +1.0. The closer r is to +1 or -1, the more closely the two variables are related. If r is close to 0, it means there is no relationship between the variables.
        http://www.surveysystem.com/correlation.htm

        Ergo, an r = 0.24 is much closer to 0 than 1, thus correlation is minimal (if it exists at all) and probably well within the probability of error.

    • I have very high spatial intelligence but other my scores are well rounded and balanced.
      I think what people dont realize is that high IQ scores are heavily weighted to math and science. For instance, my son is autistic and his IQ is above average but if you talked to him you clearly see their are social deficiencies and problems detecting purpose and meaning in things. His math scores outweigh the overall picture.

      Everyone knows the science club geeks. Not exactly the ones to ask the meaning of life. Many studies indicate a good amount of the geniuses that made great breakthroughs had some form of Aspergers, OCD or autism. This doesn’t mean they are well rounded thinkers–rather compulsive to one talent.

      These people have one great ability but pay for them dearly in other parts of the brain. Hence the awkward, eccentric scientist stereotype is real in many cases. When reading some of these people’s books–Stephen Hawkings for instance–when they venture in philosophical topics are revealed to be almost oblivious to formulating proper logical arguments.

      So high IQ’s must be qualified. Being good at math cannot possibly help in determining if there is God or not. In fact, doesn’t the denial of the insurmountable probabilities involved in Life’s emergence and the universes stability as structure show many of these people cant see the forest through the trees? They reject their own data.
      So no, what we must look at is well rounded intelligence and wisdom–not one gift that cranks their scores up at the expense of whole picture.

      • i have a very high spatial intelligence and poor math skills, but my iq score wasn’t “well rounded.” it seems our scores reflect the conclusion of this meta-analysis – go figure. your statement that iq scores are heavily weighted to math and science is erroneous (how exactly would they test for “science”? would you not need a study guide to prepare for testing on scientific knowledge?)

        Your general intelligence is your ability to reason, problem solve, make decisions, learn & act efficiently & successfully in the pursuit of your valued goals. this is what iq tests are designed to determine – things like attentional focus, working memory, executive functioning, processing capacity, reasoning, problem solving, etc. whereas what you “detect” to have purpose and meaning is largely a matter of opinion, as is the meaning of life.

        as for your statement that “some of these people’s books” reveal an obliviousness to formulating proper logical arguments, i would question how many of “these people’s books” you’ve read, because a) formulating proper logical arguments is paramount to submitting, analyzing, and criticizing any kind of scientific theories, and b) if these people, you know, the “science club geeks” as you so affectionately have labeled them, have enough communicative skills to translate such extremely difficult-to-comprehend subjects to the general public in best selling books, it certainly makes it more difficult to compare their social deficiencies to that of your autistic child.

        also, the most denial of probabilities regarding life’s emergence or the universe’s stability comes from a lack of education (or, with all due respect, a lower iq) because in a span of time and space that we have no indication of any limit to, no probabilities are insurmountable. that’s why they actually don’t reject their own data. beyond that, if you can provide a conclusive way to determine a quotient for “wisdom” or how to determine if there is a god or not, maybe you could help to prove the findings of this study of 63 other studies to be inaccurate.

  1. this article is kind of foolish, giving a message to the religious people: well, may be you are not that stupid ,,, Sounds like who wrote it is feeling bad for the clear results, and is trying to minimize the effects.

    • No that isn’t really the point. The idea is that there are smart people in both camps. Being smart just makes it less likely that you are religious or believe in a god is all. I know plenty of smart theists, I’m just not sure they will stay that way if they ever turn their intellect on their own beliefs.

      • Sorry Bryan, that’s NOT really the point.

        The main point of the *research* was that intelligence correlates negatively with religiosity. The speculation is that intelligent people get the benefits of religion without being religious, and that intelligent people are more analytic (by definition) and that analytic thinking tends to displace faith based religious thinking.

        The article then also quoted two religious people who had advice for other religious people who DON’T LIKE the results. Not who disagree, or who have other results, or anything else. Just to make people who don’t like the answer feel better about it.

        Yes, there are smart people in both camps, but there are far more smart people in the non-religious camp, and yes I agree that your smart theist friends may not stay that way for long.

        • No, data trumps experience. That’s the basis of science, that all of our perceptions have to be subject to change, when there’s sufficient evidence that our perceptions are wrong.

          Take gravity: People think that their experience tells them about gravity. But our concept of gravity is only about 500 years old. Before that, people believed their experience that it’s the nature of some things to move downward, it’s the nature of other things (fire) to move upwards and it’s the nature of other things (the moon) to move in circles.

          • I wonder if all of these studies were conducted by the same scientists who “proved” the existence of global warming. Because we all know just how intellectually honest and scientifically rigorous their papers proved to be.

    • Augustine Thomas

      You’re more foolish. The smartest country in history was Nazi Germany.

      This study only proves that academia is run by the Godless, who pressure all their colleagues into the same beliefs or fire them.

    • Dennis Arashiro

      Why is that so? Does professing atheism by itself automatically make a person dumber than one who professes faith? Does an atheist automatically become smarter when finding faith? Does a devout believer automatically become dumber by losing his faith? Do agnostics have IQ’s higher than atheists but lower than believers? Did you employ any objective measures of intelligence to determine that you have never met anyone dumber than an atheist? Please provide any support you can muster for your statement.

        • Only a fool would assert a claim that people dont make. Atheism is the non-belief of all religions in assertions of deities. That is not a denial of a claim. In other words, you are proving this study wrong.

          • Frank is content to to do laps in the circle of “you’re dumb because you don’t believe, and you don’t believe, you must be dumb.” Is not making a rational argument and no amount of questioning will help.

          • Atheism isn’t a belief, it is an awareness that humans commonly invent fictional characters, including gods.
            It is human self aggrandizement to think that a human-like persona could do a better job of producing all of nature (including humanity), than all of nature does producing and reproducing itself at every moment, in every detail. Nature is all that exists and occurs naturally.

          • IMHO,atheist are people who dont easily believe in a claim made by anyone without any sort of proof. they have an unquenchable thirst to seek the REAL truth/fact (findings that can be backed by data),and not some ‘truth’ claimed to be true by any party. But when these peopke are asked to provide proof, all they can give are more baseless claims, one stack on another, trying to prove one baseless claim about god existence with another equally baseless BS. like some sort of con-artist.

            I wont believe in anything anyone say unless he/she can prove it. I also hated the claim ‘have faith’, which means ‘just believe me, and dont ask any question’…WTF?? Would you ask for proof when I say im your daddy? no wonder most people who are less bright are found to be religious.

        • Do you have any evidence of god’s existence? If yes, then you are the only one on Earth. If not, then how come it is stupid to deny something that is not proven? In fact, your own comment is a good illustration to the main idea of the article.

      • Nor can you Prove God’s non existence. Abiogenisis is impossible, scientifically speaking, yet it must have occurred for non living matter to become organic, living. Therefore A divine hand there seems probable. I find it amusing athiests think logic is on their side. Truth be told, the religious and athiests both cannot prove anything.

        • That’s a pretty blatant (and all too common) textbook case of a burden of proof fallacy. The logical burden of proof and obligation to provide evidence lies with those that make a positive claim about the existence of God, not those who refute it based on a complete lack of evidence. Not sure why the “You can’t disprove it either” argument continues to be erroneously used so often, considering that rudimentary and fundamental principles of logic render it immediately invalid.

          • Augustine Thomas

            You guys are making plenty of positive claims (like that only Godlessness is wise, despite that it raises levels of depression and suicide). You’re just too dumb and hypocritical to realize it.

          • It is only ‘erroneous’ because you disagree with it. If there is no evidence of something then what? hmmm you set out to prove it…If you don’t that doesn’t mean it does not exist. So the argument is valid. You just happen to disagree with it. It’s kind of like when a person says things like “he is a smart guy”. This is rarely not because the speaker is actually intelligent but rather that the listener agrees with what the speaker is saying. “There is not God” … “Man now this guy is smart” … :)

    • I guess Frank is so narcissistic he believes he is right and this study is wrong. I think he just proved the reverse was true. (Frank that means that you think too highly of yourself to realize when you are wrong, just figured I’d translate into simpler terms for you..)

        • Haha…. Satanists? obviously you have no clue what Atheism is. Frank just has no clue. Now, imagine this. I get high with a few friends, start writing a book of metaphors on how/why I believe we are here. then BAM meteor hits, we are wiped out, civilization is over, then as expected it slowly comes back, someone finds the book we wrote and starts living his life by it since it has all the values and the answer to the biggest question “why am I here” I will call it, Mattism

    • You think the secrets of the universe lie in a bunch of scrolls written by unknown authors in long dead languages 2000-3000 years ago, and you’re calling atheists stupid?

      Seems like exactly the lack of analytical thinking that typifies BOTH religious people AND low IQ people, and I assume you’re both.

      • Soooo, If someone does a thorough analysis on ‘ancient scrolls’ and comes to the conclusion that they prove the existence of God. They analyzed it and came to a different conclusion than you. Soo what makes you right and them wrong? Simply that you say that your conclusion is correct? hmmmmm

      • Just because a book was written many years ago and the author/authors are unknown to you, it does not necessarily follow that what was written was incorrect.

        • I’ll copy and paste a part of my rant from above…

          Now, imagine this. I get high with a few friends, start writing a book of metaphors on how/why I believe we are here. then BAM meteor hits, we are wiped out, civilization is over, then as expected it slowly comes back, someone finds the book we wrote and starts living his life by it since it has all the values and the answer to the biggest question “why am I here”

          Since no one will EVER know who i was they will be forced to assumed I was of high power at the time, and hell I can even throw in some superpowers

    • I don’t know why do you use computer which was made by an atheist.. I don’t even want to list all the technological things that were mostly made by atheists. You see atheists don’t have time for religious mumbo jumbo, they actually produce something for life of human.

        • I’m not sure what the point of your comment is but, it comes across as the typical threat of violence that Christians have used to silence those who don’t agree with them for centuries, demonstrating a lack of progress within religious sects and providing evidence that religion often stifles intellectual growth.

          • That being said, I don’t have defined beliefs and was simply pointing out the counterintuitive nature of your comment. Honestly I have issues with both sides of the theist vs atheist debate, atheist often come across as arrogant and aggressive, being quick to attack the intelligence of others. My main conflict with the theistic side of things, namely Christianity as that is where I had the most experience growing up, is resulting from a few heavily conflicting statements:
            -God is both omnipotent and benevolent, supposedly loving all of “his” creations.
            -Humans are not supposed to be able to fathom God, at least this is what all Christians I’ve met have proclaimed.
            -These two initial points are fine and do not conflict; the issue comes into play when you consider that anyone who doesn’t correctly believe in this God shall be forever damned to eternal suffering.

            The issue here, if it isn’t already abundantly clear, is that it impossible for all three of these statements, that Christians believe in, to all be true simultaneously. Consider these points that draw into question the logic here:
            -If a god was all knowing and benevolent, understanding everything and possessing unconditional love for all of its creations, then how can such a being condemn people to hell for not harboring the specific, “correct” belief in said deity.
            -Such a god, one with endless love for all creatures, has apparently created us to be inherently flawed in the sense of being unable to fathom our creator. This wouldn’t be an issue except if we do not believe correctly then we are damned for eternity. How is that unconditional love? That type of behavior is more sadistic then benevolent.

            I anticipate one of the likely rebuttals from someone who disagrees with me to be “Well, you can’t understand God. He is beyond human comprehension. So just because it doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t mean its wrong.” This is the typical type of logic that “believers” follow, it is safe for their beliefs because they can nullify any argument regardless of the validity. This is my main problem with organized religion, it is impossible to prove a point to people who blindly embrace this kind of logic. I have no problem with people believing in a god; I simply have a problem with people ignorantly and blindly following what they’ve been feed all their lives without questioning it at all.

            For clarification I don’t recognize as any religious classification, I believe that whatever your belief, you should arrive at it by your own means. If you believe in God, great for you, if you have a personal relationship with your deity but, if you just believe because that’s what you’ve been told then I do believe that you are less intelligent. The same applies to atheist who don’t question their belief in the lack of a deity. Progress can not be made without questioning.

          • Tell the dude to check the federal prison records, and see just how moral the Religious are compared to the Atheists… LOL.. 69 percent claim to be either Catholic or Protestant,, only .oo2 percent are atheists and non believers..

      • Prove the computer was created by an atheist first…created by one person alone. This invention was then perpetuated and deployed worldwide by only Atheists? prove that and maybe you will have something.

    • First of all that’s just impolite to call atheists dumb. I am an atheist and while I do not agree with your beliefs or any religious belief for that matter, I’m attacking Christians themselves. I just criticize their reasoning behind their belief in a higher power. But you on the other hand are directly attacking atheists instead of attacking their arguments. Secondly, it’s true that some atheists might be dumb, but their are also religious people. Most atheist like myself are merely logical, we have the ability to think for ourselves, as opposed to Christians who just follow a bunch of rules and questionably invisible deity. By the same notion I could call you an idiot, but I won’t because that’s not good manners.

      • Actually the way you wrote your reply is antagonistic and condescending. This is some attributes you accuse Christians of possessing. “just follow a bunch of rules and questionably invisible deity.” Well the bunch of rules nor the deity are questionable to the ones who believe in them. You also imply that Christians cannot think for themselves which is not true. Many have thought it all out for themselves and decided their religion makes the most sense for them (not you but them). I respect Atheist beliefs…although I think they are mistaken and likewise subscribe to good ol’ Catholicism…but not all of it’s tenets… Example? Birth Control… I really ain’t sure that Jesus, God, or anyone in the bible, said “thou shall not use the pill” a pope may have but…eh which one? and Do I reaaaaly think he was right? There are other examples but that was the easiest to think of. My beliefs usually come down to this… We live on earth not in heaven..If I lived in heaven I could follow all the rules…Earth is a bit rough around the edges so Cesar to cesar…god to god..etc. (yes even while I believe in God I know the earth is not flat and does not have edges). :)

        • They thought it out themselves? I highly doubt that, they were influenced. They couldn’t find an answer to “who am i” and they found the easy way out was to just be oblivious because THIS BOOK WILL SAVE ME! How do you know there is a heaven? ohh yea its in the book.

    • I suggest you expand your circle of friends. You don’t seem to have met enough intelligent people.

      Ninety three percent of the members of the American Academy of the Sciences state that they do not believe in any personal gods or in a life after death. Those are some of the most intelligent people in the United States.

      By the way, most of your Fathers of Independence rejected all organized religions although most of them did believe in a creator of some sort. At that time, the concept of our universe was a lot simpler and the watchmaker argument still made sense.

  2. I know many very smart people of goodwill who are atheists. I also know many very smart people of goodwill who are religious believers. Belief or lack thereof has nothing to do with how smart or good people are. Foolish studies like these only divide our society even more by stirring up it worst elements.

    • Mike, you bring up a very good point!!! It would also bear out that there are good-hearted people who care about and love their fellowman, just as there are evil-hearted or wicked ones who just don’t care about anyone!! In that case, what they really are in their hearts would be more important or beneficial than how “intelligent” they are!!!

  3. I think that R. Albert Mohler Jr. made this point beautifully. When science conflicts with “faith,” we choose faith. Intelligence doesn’t argue with facts, it figures out what to do with them. That’s intelligence.

    • That’s only true to an extent. Often, what gets held up as faith is anything but faith; rather it’s the prevailing dogma of the day. A flat earth was held up as faith as was a geocentric universe.

      The best faith is one that takes the ethical application of science seriously. History has given us a long track record of error when we try to use Scripture as hard science, which incidentally is what Molher is known to do.

      • People may have said the earth was flat, but God, the CREATOR of all things, who inspired men to write the scriptures…an infallible testimony of WHO HE IS and WHAT HE HAS DONE and WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO….does NOT say the earth is flat. Isaiah 40:22 says,
        “It is He that sitteth upon the CIRCLE of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof [are] as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.”

        The scriptures define and explain science and science confirms what the scriptures already say. Long before science knew the earth was round, God already said it.

          • The Hebrew khug, is translated “circle in Isaiah 40:22, “compassed” in Job 26:10 and “compass” in Proverbs 8:27. All three, IN CONTEXT, clearly refer to the sphericity or roundness of the earth, especially to the spherical nature of sea level, defining, as it were, the global shape of the earth. Job 26:10 teaches that God has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness. This boundary between light and darkness (day and night) is called the “terminator” since the light stops or “terminates” there. Someone standing on the terminator would be experiencing either a sunrise or a sunset; they are going from day to night or from night to day. The terminator is always a circle, because the earth is round.

          • Have you actually read the bible? The Bible is a progressive revelation of God. The Old Testament commences what the New Testament completes. The Old Testament is not replaced by the New Testament. They confirm one another, compliment one another and one cannot be understood without the other. Your assessment clearly reveals your biased assumptions, not real research.

          • it is because the old testament is the prophecy then the new testament is the fulfillment. of the old testament., the reality of Passover in old testament is the blood and flesh of jesus., the prophecy if jesus coming in the book of daniel is fulfilling by jesus in new testament., thats why.,

            it is very hard to enter the kingdom of heaven.,

    • That just sounds like a bad decision. It’s exactly why atheists like me are becoming more and more vocal about the idiots who say faith has all the answers to our real world problems. Just let God handle it! Grow up please..

    • I think the point there has more to do with intellectual honesty than with intellectual intelligence.
      If 1) your intelligence recognizes that the facts contradict something that you believe on faith
      and 2) you’re aware that it’s very common for other people to hold false beliefs on faith {e.g. that Mohammed rode to Heaven and back on a flying horse}
      and 3) you choose to believe on faith in spite of what you recognize as fact

      then your problem isn’t a lack of intellectual ability, it’s a lack of courage.

  4. I am always amazed when I hear non-believers accuse believers of being close minded. I came to faith at 54 years old, after realizing Christ really lived (and lives), and that if I had personally witnessed any one of the hundreds of miracles attested to in the bible, I would have had no choice but to believe.

    After a lifetime of not believing, am I close minded or open minded to now believe in someone I cannot see, touch, or hear?

    I CAN feel Him in my heart. That’s what truly opened.

    • When atheists say that religious people are closed minded, it’s a statement made about the typical religious person, not you as an individual (egotistical much?). It is a fact that most religious people do not choose their religion at 54 years old; most of them NEVER actually make a conscious choice, they are simply raised with certain religious beliefs and never question what they’ve been told, which is about as closed minded as a person can be. Open mindedness is the willingness to consider other ideas and beliefs. Studies show that atheists actually know MORE about religion than religious people do, which proves that atheists are open minded in their willingness to learn about a different perspective, but religious people are too closed minded to even learn about their own purported beliefs. As they say, the quickest way to become an atheist is to read the Bible (and understand it, of course).
      It’s also so silly that religious people say that atheists are closed minded for not believing in a fictional being. Are you closed minded for not believing in the tooth fairy? Lochness monster? Yedi? Unicorns? Hogwarts? Having the ability to distinguish fact from fiction does not mean you’re closed minded- it simply means that you have a fully functioning brain.

    • Sounds like you gave up on trying to find the real reason why you were hear, you were tired and wanted to find the easy way out. What is to say all of those miracles even happened. I can tell you I jumped out of a plane mid flight but gently landed on the ground, it was a miracle!

    • “It’s not necessarily true”

      Do you understand correlation?
      Of course it’s not necessarily true that all atheists are smart or all religious people are dumb. That’s not what a correlation is at all.

      It means religious people are LESS LIKELY to be smart, and atheists are MORE LIKELY. It doesn’t mean they always necessarily are. That’s a false dichotomy that helps no one.

  5. Could it possibly be that some intelligent people are more arrogant than the normal person? I have noticed that as one becomes aware that their IQ rating is slightly elevated, so does their perception that they (the “intelligent” person) “knows it all”. In such a situation, one’s personal beliefs are more oriented to what they can see (and, thus, believe) than a journey through life of discovery and constant wonderment.

    • No, I mean they could be, but what it means by intelligent people lacking faith , is that some people who spend their time looking inside themselves for answers, and then to the world around them, don’t need a god to understand why everything is here, and continuously going. For example, I no longer have a set form of religion, I believe life derived from evolution. That is what I truly feel spawned the life around us, and that the universe doesn’t need a creator, it just ‘is’. Always existent. I don’t require a higher dogma to feel I have the answers, because I found them on my own. Some people just truly feel religious in their hearts though. They have their own set of logical answers to the same questions.

      • It takes faith to believe that the complexity of life, DNA, functions of the body, the brain, organs etc…”just is.” It takes faith to believe in evolution that cannot, nor never has been tested, observed or reproduced. No one has ever observed one kind transitioning into another kind. Apes are still apes. Finches are still finches. Bacteria is still bacteria.

        • While science has not recreated evolution, after 150 years the scientific community has never debunked it and the majority of scientists support evolution. It is more than faith in evolution when it has never come under serious threat from another theory. Creationism is something we can never reproduce or recreate that has no scientific backing to it. It takes faith to believe in that.

          • Dave,

            You are misinformed if you believe evolution is not questioned within the scientific community.

            http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/scientists/

            Scientist who truly love science and truly want to know the truth do question evolution. I work in the scientific community and scientists who support evolution, admit that it takes faith to believe it even though the science does not support it and they readily admit that they would rather believe that than accept there is a God that they are subject to.

            http://www.evolutionvsgod.com/

            You choose to believe that life, as complex and driven by morality as it is, evolved from pond scum and that we are merely bags of chemicals reacting to the laws of nature…THAT is neither intelligence, independent or free thinking. It is simply you reacting in harmony with the laws of nature…purposeless chemicals waiting to expire and turn to ash. That takes a great deal of faith to believe, because you know internally that despite your willful refusal of God and creation, you DO have a system of right and wrong that absolutely applies to all man kind. Murder? rape? thievery? That can not possibly be a chemical reaction, yet to say it is not, is to deny evolution. That takes faith, not intelligence. The bible says God created us with a conscience towards right and wrong and that conscience bears witness to that fact.

            With all that in mind, I choose to believe that since I am fallible and cannot know all things, I cannot rationally, logically or intellectually say there is no God. The bible says only a fool says in his heart there is not God. I choose to believe that wood does not turn into a house unless someone designs and builds it. I choose to not let arrogance and self worship blind me from seeing the facts because I want to know the truth and evolution nor science still cannot explain life, causality, entropy, morality, purpose etc…
            The Bible has proven to be more historically, geographically and archaeologically accurate than any other ancient book. It has been subjected to the minutest scientific textual analysis possible to humanity and has been proven to be authentic in every way. No other document compares.

          • Penicillin?

            If penicillin worked for you in your youth but doesn’t work as well in your later years, what would you call that? Do you think those bacteria figured out a way to dance a fancy two-step around the drug? Of course they did. That ain’t no evolution.

            I’ll come out and say it because no one has: Religious folk are a kin to an ostrich with its’ head in the sand.

            I’ll admit; there is something comforting in the idea that you’ll live forever rather than the cold, hard truth that life on this planet was merely nothing but a fluke.

            There is no God. Never was. Never will be. You know that feeling when you watch an old news clip and see how foolish people looked in the 1980s? I have the exact same feeling reading this religious bull[expletive deleted] propaganda everywhere in this thread. I’m not so diplomatic as other people here: I openly criticize and question peoples’ beliefs when they decide to make that kind of malarkey public. This world is going to be a better place when people of every faith become a sad footnote to our collective history. “Can you believe those idiots, for thousands of years, believed there was an omnipotent being living in the sky? Those [expletive deleted]! Set us back another 4,000 years!” says someone in the year 3030. Hopefully, I’ll win the lottery in the near future so I can pull a Walt Disney and get to be apart of that conversation. Science Fiction daydreaming, you say?! Maybe. But I don’t care. About as realistic as this person you call “GAWWWWDDD”…

            My 4 cents. Tawk amongst yawselves….

            “What difference you think you can make, one single man in all this madness? If you die, it’s goin’ to be for nothin’. There’s not some other world out there where everything will be okay. There’s just this one; just this rock” – The Thin Red Line

    • “Could it possibly be that some intelligent people are more arrogant…?”

      Of course it could. Someone who is better than average (whether smarter or stronger or faster or whatever), if they have a healthy self-esteem, will probably seem arrogant. I’m sure Yusain Bolt seems arrogant to people he races with.

      Life will be a constant wonder if you don’t know anything and walk through it with your mouth hanging open but your mind mostly closed.

      It can also be a constant wonder if you look at the mysteries of life and the universe with an open mind.

      It seems to me you’re just implying that you don’t like smart people because they’re arrogant, and that wide-eyed wonder is a great trade-off for being stupid. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

    • Of the few very, very bright people I’ve known, none have been at all arrogant. But I agree that some people can be, when they discover that their measured IQ is higher than average. Mensa is open to people who score higher than 98% of the population on a standard IQ test, and I’ve heard that referred to as “bragging rights” Although most members aren’t that way, and anyway Mensa membership isn’t a representative cross section of intelligent people.

      The thing is, it’s hard for truly brilliant people to be arrogant about it, because it’s so obvious to them how little they know.

      Years ago, someone was told that he had the highest measured IQ in the world. Or the US, I forget which. He said that disturbed him, because he wondered who the hell is running the world.

  6. The study described does not talk about cause and effect. I know many brilliant individuals who are very religious and many who are atheists. To me, the more interesting question is: Why do people have such a strong need for others to believe as they do and why are they scared of the findings of this study—whether it’s “true” or not? If it’s true and you are an “intelligent believer,” does this call your faith into question? It shouldn’t. Is your faith that unstable?

    If we could all try to be good people following the commandments of God or our secular ethics and values and be a roll model for our beliefs without trying to change others or convince them that we are right and they are wrong, if we could all live this way, it would be a more peaceful world and intelligence level wouldn’t matter. That is my sermon for this day and I’m not even a Rabbi!

    • To me, Christianity is life and why would I not want others to know of it? Granted, a fellow I did some volunteer work with a ways back is an Islamic apologist and he says the same thing LOL

      I’m definitely not scared of this study, I actually find it pretty fascinating… for sure, it doesn’t impact my faith one way or the other. That being said, it might impact my practices looking at this from the standpoint of evangelism and youth work… Ie, some approaches to youth ministry in light of this study may well be driving folks away from Christianity… and not right away either, but many years later.

      Your sermon makes sense logically, but you preface it with the word “if” and there in lies the issue. Pretty much every one makes one thing or another sacred (not necessarily religious) where upon nearly everything else is evil… its sort of an undercurrent of tribalism. Its a huge plus as it causes many to rally around a cause and through scaling accomplish much. Its also incredibly negative. The 2013 Boyarsky Lecture by Jonathan Haidt is absolutely fascinating in this regard. I think you can find it on youtube… best hour I’ve spent on a video.

    • Just read the promise by God at Psalm 37:10,11 and be encouraged that this entire world will know true peace and security in the near future. It can never be realized through man, which has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt!

    • “The study described does not talk about cause and effect. ”

      Of course it does. First, they observe a correlation – in this case, that intelligence correlates negatively with religious belief.

      Then they discuss causation. They mentioned two key causes:
      1) psychologically intelligent people seem able to provide for themselves things like self-esteem and community, and do not need a religious community to provide them; and
      2) intelligent people tend to use analytical decision making patterns, and these are inconsistent with faith based religious thinking.

      “Why do people have such a strong need for others to believe as they do”

      A good question but it would seem a very obvious answer: We live together in a society. If I think murder is bad and you don’t, we will have a problem. If I think everyone should have health care and you think it should go only to those who can pay, we have a problem. If I think children should go to school and learn science and math, and you think they should go to religious schools to be taught about God, then we have a problem.

      Societies, communities, nations – they operate from a COMMON vision and COMMON objectives, and if I am planning for this world while you are planning for the next world we do not have a common basis for making good decisions.

      “without trying to change others or convince them that we are right and they are wrong”
      This sounds like a nice way to play in the park, but a terrible way to run a democracy.

      • So in your world, “democracy” means we do it your way. Good to know. I’ve got bad news for you. “We” don’t have a problem, you have a problem. If you think that you can intellectually bludgeon people who hold different beliefs than you into changing their beliefs, you are mistaken.

  7. Spiritual knowledge is more important than worldly knowledge, as the apostle Paul brought out in his letter to the Colossians: “Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    • Yes, but knowledge and intelligence are not the same thing. If I were to measure your knowledge (spiritual knowledge or worldly knowledge), I would measure the amount of stuff you know and probably your accuracy regarding said stuff. If I were to measure your intelligence, I would measure your ability to solve problems and figure stuff out.

      Of course they’re related. The more stuff you know (i.e., the greater your knowledge), the better equipped you probably are to figure stuff out (i.e., apply your intelligence). But two different people can have all the facts in the world (or all the facts of the spiritual realm) at their fingertips, and one can still be more intelligent than the other.

    • How is spiritual knowledge more important than worldly knowledge?

      I can sum that up with a bumper sticker i saw last wknd “religion is for those that fear hell. Spirituality is for those that have been there and know it’s a myth.’ spirituality is not knowledge, but a mindset. it doesn’t help you do anything but be at peace with yourself and your surroundings. you could be completely ignorant and be spiritual, but you’re probably just going to be slinging wing at a pizza hut. Plus it takes a lot of worldly knowledge, ie., science, various studies of world religions, cultural biases, confirmation biases in which to build such a foundation to create your own brand of spirituality. which is a totally relative and subjective experience depending on the individual and their path. Even atheists lead spiritual lives through family, community, science, philanthropy, altruism, you know…, by simply being a good human.

      • Can “worldly” knowledge extend our lives at all? There are NO guarantees of how long we will live today. However, taking in knowledge of the only true God and of the one he sent forth (his son, Jesus Christ, according to John 17:3 of the Bible) means everlasting life (from spiritual knowledge) in the near future on a paradise earth for the majority of mankind (Daniel 2:44; Psalm 37:10,11; Revelation 21:3-4). As to Sheol (OT) and Hades (NT), they refer to the common grave of mankind, and the dead (good or bad) are not conscious of anything at all (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10), so there is nothing to fear and no torment. Also, by applying Bible principles and stardards in our lives (because our Creator knows what is best for us), we can experience happiness, peace of mind in a crazy world, and more purposeful lives today.

      • You touched on something that no one else has–that religions could and should be taught as a subject in school, i.e. social studies, so that young minds can determine for themselves whether this or that brand of spirituality, or none at all, is right for them. This would allow young people to compare and contrast, learn more about others’ belief systems, and put intelligence back into the religion debate. This is different from those that want religion put back in schools, mandating that children pray to a specific god. I came to be an agnostic/atheist through many years of reading, studying, and introspection. Ironically, it was a religion class that I had at a Catholic elementary school that set me on this path. It was the study of world religions. Go figure…

    • This is where intelligence and analytic thinking come in. You accept its from Paul, while more analytic types have possibly looked up the origins, evolution, and politics of the bible and its placement into circulation.

      Turns out, bible scholars do not think Paul wrote this (or several others mind you) and is a forgery from a later time by someone trying to use his authority to purport their view.

      Same issues with the gospels, Iraeneus was the one who ascribed names to the previously anonymous for around 100y+ gospels. And so on…..

  8. Lee H. Lybarger

    This is an interesting study. However, it requires further research given that what goes into a blelief or disbelief in God is a complex process that can change over a life time e.g. when a life and death crisis is encountered. A good starting point might be to ask: What does belief in God REALLY entail or mean? How much of it is cuturally uinduced or acepted if only out of social expectations? It is what Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace”.

  9. Charles Freeman

    A correlation of -.24 accounts for almost 6% of the score variance in tests applied. In a meta-study it’s difficult to say whether or not certain tests of normalcy could be rigidly applied. However, this is a statistically significant result and sufficient to ascribe a negative relationship between intelligence and religiosity. At the same time, there could be many contributing factors here. I could wish that the underlying report were freely available. I would like to read it.

  10. As to the “not believing in God is foolish remark,” it is very important for people of faith to realize that they are about 99% of the way to atheism. They don’t believe in any religion but their own. Atheists just believe in one less.

    So what you’re really saying is “It isn’t foolish to lack faith in all the religions of the world except for mine, because I don’t believe in those either. It is only foolish to fail to believe in MY religion.”

    And once you read it that way, its easy to see that you’re not looking at wisdom, you are looking at a statement from a person who is 1) a hypocrite and 2) not thinking about what they are saying.

    But then, not thinking is the key to faith.

    It’s the 21st century people. God is dead. Get over it.

      • It is common for humans to invent fictional characters, including gods, which have the same characteristics as all other fictional characters.
        It is human self aggrandizement to think that a human-like persona could do a better job of producing all of nature (including humanity), than all of nature does producing and reproducing itself at every moment, in every detail. Nature is all that exists and all that occurs naturally, and we are part of it, not superior or separate..

        • Alan,

          That does not answer the question of how you came to the conclusion that there is no God. It is human self aggrandizement to think that you are capable of asserting there is no God since you do not know all things and are not capable of knowing all things.That is not intelligence, that is arrogance. If you had said, I have thoroughly researched the Bible, its claims and critically examined the evidence for God in light of the “THEORY” of evolution and came to your decision, I could respect that. But to say “It is common for humans to invent fictional characters, including gods, which have the same characteristics as all other fictional characters” is assumption based on opinion.
          http://www.evolutionvsgod.com/

          So are you saying nature has always existed?

          • I don’t claim that there is no God. God is the name of a confidence scam. The scam is very real. All gods are fictional and the bible is fictional. Have you ever experienced a talking snake?

          • Nature is the “builder”. We see that nature produces and reproduces even in our own lifetime, a child isn’t a carbon copy of its parents, changes occur, nature experiments. We are a small part of nature which includes all life, stars, planets, the environment, everything. It is crass to think that a human-like persona is somehow superior to nature.

    • The implication there is assuming that a religious person doesn’t EVER first believe in a higher power, period. This also assumes that, if they decided the religion of their choice was incorrect, they’d cease to believe in the existence of ANY higher power. Likely untrue, in most cases.

      It isn’t stupid to align your beliefs with the logic of everyday living; that is, logic dictates a beginning for pretty much everything we see, whether natural or man made. A tree grows from a planted seed, cars are built in factories, etc. Even you wouldn’t be here without your parents’ involvement. Logic dictates that the world would have an originator.

      The other mistake here, by both “sides”, is assuming that religion and spirituality are the same thing. One can believe in a higher power without accepting the dogmas of organized religion intrrpretations.

  11. Atheists lose that one! It takes a very superior intellect to believe in a talking snake, Noah’s Ark and the flood, Jonah and the whale, and the morality of killing the Amalekites to keep only the virgins.

    • It takes a superior intellect to believe in fiction? That’s the worst argument I’ve ever read. It takes an incredibly gullible person to believe those stories. I’ve got some beachfront property in Arizona that I’d loooove to sell you…

    • I’m all about believing anything can happen, I could totally believe the stories, if they weren’t trying to use that as a part of why I’m here. I’ve seen witnessed plenty of things no one would EVER believe, but I’m also not trying to tell everyone to follow me and that I’ll bring them to Eternal life haha, I think Charles Manson tried that once though ;-)

  12. I like what Lewis Black said, “The God of the old testament was somewhat of a prick, but by the time He got to the new testament, He became a little nicer; probably after having a kid.” It’s all nonsense anyway and using the bible to prove something relilgious is like using the Communist Manifesto to prove Communism. All an Atheist says is “There is no evidence of a god or gods.” That’s it and you can argue until the cows come home and get nowehre because there’s nowhere to go.

  13. I appreciate the study authors comments about the implication of this research. However, it is clear genetic fallacy to state that “in general, the smarter you are, the less likely to be religious you are; therefore there probably is no God because the smartest people agree”. That is almost always how I hear atheists present this type of data. Genetic fallacy big time.

  14. The caveat of Zuckerman’s study is that no attention was paid to the socioeconomic status of the subjects tested. They simply collected a study group of people who identified as “religious” and “atheist”.

    The sad truth of the matter, is that socioeconomic status plays a huge part in whether a person receives an above average education, or a below average education. If Zuckerman went to several Ivy-League universities and collected his religious and atheist test subjects, I dare say the results would not be the same.

  15. Being an athiest has nothing to do with Intelligence. If intelligence was the only driving factor to become an athiest,

    then all the intelligent people in the world would be atheists. The main driving factor for an athiest is in the heart,

    a will-full deviation to be independent of a God or a mis-represented God. So its a choice of the heart, the reason for

    that choice could be anything from mis-conception or mis-representation of God, Arrogance of heart, not wanting to be

    accountable….. And to be able to deviate from God and be independent, you need some crutch, support and Intelligence

    provides that support. So intelligence is not the initiator for the Belief of Atheism, but its the support used by

    someone who chooses to follow the atheistic belief system for what ever reasons.

  16. Followers of Jesus are not being illogical in their exclusive pronouncement that Jesus is the only way to God, because we are professing what Jesus said about himself in John 14:6 when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” If we believe in the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross we have to believe what he said about himself, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” I’m praying for you all to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ our God and King. May you be open to the ways that Jesus is revealing himself to you. I pray that you will not lean on your own understanding, or be wise in your own eyes, but come to trust God, so he will guide your life here on earth for his Glory.

    • Well if Jesus is quoted in a book written thousands of years ago, then it must be true! Gods from other religions have had books written about them, too. So, I’m guessing you believe in all of those gods as well? But Jesus wouldn’t like that… so you had to pick one. And what logic was involved in that decision exactly? Not faith, mind you – LOGIC.

  17. Look, atheism’s arguments are just horrible. If they weren’t horrible they would be accepted by more humans. You cant deny its tenants are mainly social misfits or maybe you can because the abnormal thinkers dont see themselves correctly.

    Most noticeable is this dog and pony show appearing on all these forum comments acting as if the whole world isn’t against these people. Its like they built up this fantasy in their minds that people even consider their nonsensical reasons for denying the obvious. Studies show the overwhelming majority of people dont trust a word they say and wouldn’t even let them watch their cat–yet they pretend they have all the answers.

    Simply put..they believe in magic. They know something designed and created the world–yet they believe that something..was nothing. Its all becoming just so boring listening to their self flagellating tripe as they embarrass themselves with the most poorly thought out arguments in history.

  18. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  19. I think intellect only plays a role in religiosity or lack thereof-maybe the most significant role, but still not the only role. I’ve found in many discussions (even some here, ei. Frank) that a lot of it is mere child-like stubbornness. If facts are laid in front of someone that conflicts with their religious beliefs, the dumb will not understand it & the intelligent yet disingenuous/cowardice will bend the facts to fit their religious beliefs & ignore the facts that are irreconcilable, basically confirmation biases. It isn’t always that people believe because they are too dumb to see through it. I’ve found that many people believe because they just desperately want it to be true, basically denial.

  20. Misty I agree with you and the followers of Jesus are not being illogical in their exclusive pronouncement that Jesus is the only way to God. If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.
    – Ecclesiates 10:10 (NIV). Believers also have to improve our skills in their jobs/departments and sharpen our knowledge.

  21. It’s all about your personal morals really. I have complete respect for anyones religion, as long as their views are not forced upon me, and as long as their beliefs don’t contradict my personal ethical beliefs. I was brought up as a Christian, but shunned it during my early teenage years. I simply realised that there was so much contradiction with theories being taught at school. There is evidence for evolution, natural formation of mountains over millions of years, fossils etc. So to be told that the earth is only a few thousand years old, and was populated by Adam and Eve, that just doesn’t make sense to me. So, as an educated teen, I simply weighed up the evidence, and I’ve never thought of looking back.

    As I said, I have complete respect for people with religious beliefs, they are entitled to those beliefs completely. On the subject of Intelligence, I simply think that the more educated and inquisitive you are, the more likely you are to doubt the logic of religion (based on faith with little evidence), compared to science (based on collected factual evidence). Everyone is born an atheist, it is simply how you are raised, who you are raised by, and where you are raised that determine which religion you end up ‘choosing’. To me, this seems arbitrary, and illogical. If someone is a devout Catholic, that is likely because their parents are devout catholic, or their country or region is. Same with muslims, hindus, and christians. Put the same person in a different context, and their religion is highly likely to be different. And the same would have applied to that person’s parents, their religion is determined by those before them. Keep going back, and you arrive at a time before scientific discovery is advanced enough to know what we do today (evolution, knowledge of astronomy, age of the earth etc.).

    So in this day and age, we have enough evidence to question the beliefs of those who came before us. I can’t agree with religions such as Christianity for two reasons (and I use Christianity as an example as it is simply the one I know best, being brought up with it). First reason, I know that the earth wasn’t created in 7 days, 6000 years ago. That immediately casts doubts into the credibility of the bibles claims and messages. Secondly, I believe in equality for everyone whether they are a man or a woman, straight or gay. Teachings from the bible say women are inferior, and gays are sinners. That for me, is not an intelligent line of thought in this day and age, and should not be tolerated.

  22. Truly smart people would not waste time in calling anyone stupid because it is a fact that we don’t know exactly how other people’s brain works. The reason why the higher intelligent people reject godly religions is because we reason differently from the average minds. The things we fathom are the things you could never fathom. It is convenient and easier for the average person to believe in the god they inherited from their family lineage without refuting it. It would be difficult for believers to contest what they’ve been forced to believe all their lives when they simply can’t reason the facts like how we, agnostics and atheists, do. It makes me laugh when the believers want to say that we are selfish and arrogant and think that we are above all else–what I have to say about that is that you’re sinning and don’t even realize/reason/know it because of your jealousy with your god making us smarter and more intelligent. You can not purchase intelligence like how you can purchase makeup or cosmetic surgery. Intelligence is god given lol. Notice, I have no emotions behind anything I’ve just said, all that I have said are all facts and can be proven, facts that you may not ever fathom even when it is written and can be read many times over and over again. Instead of worrying about us, agnostics/atheists, having the confidence/intelligence/reasoning to break away from what we were supposed to inherit, you should be figuring out how all of you god-believers can come together and make up just one single god, rather than the god that each and every one of you have created in your own image.

  23. I’m agnostic. Personally, though my reasoning, I think that for atheists to totally rule out god from existing is not reasoning intelligently. As an agnostic, I have no solid proof to reason that a god, or many gods, exists, but it is still possible that god could exist, so it would be foolish and unreasonable to totally rule god out from existence. We, agnostics, tend to keep an open mind. Atheists believe that there is absolutely no god in existence. Believers believe that there is absolutely a god in existence. So to answer the question, are atheists smarter than believers? Not exactly. You just can’t be absolute about anything that you know nothing about.

  24. Emotional intelligence really? Emotions have nothing to do with intelligence, and intuition doesn’t either. How you feel about something or someone has nothing to do with logical thought processes. Emotions are nothing more than chemical and hormonal releases in the brain.

  25. Statistics also say atheist are more likely to be liars!!
    Atheists are also more likely to have a history of mental illness. FACT!!
    Also 2.75 time more likely to recurrent major depressive disorder (RMDD) than Catholics (the best religion for avoiding (RMDD).

  26. “But I think there is a certain peer pressure as one moves up the educational ladder to dismiss all religion as fundamentalism”

    Actually, the exact opposite is true. There is a strong peer pressure to conform to religious beliefs, especially withing the workplace. There is also significant pressure from within the family.

    Being an atheist is far from easy.

    • Spot on! I’ve been an atheist for several years now and disclosure of my lack of faith has been the most difficult fight I’ve encountered in my life. I didn’t become an atheist because it was cool or because it’s what my parents told me. I renounced the faith because it made no sense and I was unable to force myself to believe in the god that wasn’t there. Why would the god of love create an entire race of beings and damn them all to hell because they heard the wrong story through the grapevine? Why would he want us to join him in heaven for eternity as a reward for killing his son? If he is the all powerful god, then why won’t he make himself known and raise the shadows of questions and doubt? Consider this… if there is a god who knew my thoughts before he created my brain, wouldn’t that mean he created me to go to hell?

  27. This study is wrong. Intelligent people believe that a talking ghost had a son who was born from a virgin, was crucified and becamean undead zombie so that the ghost could forgive humanity for talking to snakes and worshipping cows.

  28. I don’t think that simple belief in the existence or non-existence of a God / gods is useful criterion to correlate with intelligence. The first (obvious) point is that the word “God/gods” means a lot of different things in different religions / contexts. Some God/gods are honestly silly, others are like the Prime Mover. The second point is that freedom of religion and expression are not enjoyed by all cultures. There may be very intelligent people who are simply afraid to admit doubt. The third point involves postmodern views of constructivism: that we create meaning and value out of these cultural constructs. Arguably, belief in the existence of God/gods is not nearly as important as what value/meaning this construct confers to one’s life. There may be very intelligent people who think there is a Mind that is behind the universe, and yet it doesn’t make one whit whether or not this person is wrong.

  29. Atheists are not rational when it comes to the subject of God. They say, “I want PROOF God exists”. Well, the evidence is all around us – literally. Ahhh – but they categorically disavow the evidence – because it points to a Creator – and Modern Science has made NO allowance for such a conclusion. They’ve erected a model where a Creator cannot exist – so it’s a waste of time for a believer in God to argue with an Atheist. They will only accept evidence that supports their position. The Atheist doesn’t even know WHAT he will accept as proof. “Tell God to appear to me – then I’ll believe”. Fine – tell gravity to appear – and I’ll believe in gravity. “Well, anyone with a brain can see the effects gravity has on our world”. To which I say, “CORRECT. And anyone with a brain can see the effect God has on our world”.

  30. That sounds like double talk. Accordingly, than, the less intelligent are more needy and easily swayed? I’ve always suspected that there is a positive correlation between rising intelligence and rising arrogance and mind/self worship.

  31. “Accordingly, than [sic], the less intelligent are more needy and easily swayed?”

    Yes, obviously. Do you have trouble with that proposition? That it’s easier to trick stupid people? That it’s easier to play on people’s fears and other irrational motivators than it is to develop and implement good policy? It seems obviously true.

    ” I’ve always suspected that there is a positive correlation between rising intelligence and rising arrogance”

    But unlike actual scientists you don’t care to test your hypothesis, you just want to spread your completely ignorant opinion as if it’s valuable knowledge.

    All you’re really saying is that smart people make you feel bad about yourself by comparison, so you want to call them arrogant self-worshippers because that makes you feel better.

  32. They call non-believers arrogant self worshipers because they only know the lies, and those lies are spread amongst them with negative connotations.

    I don’t like to be labeled as an athiest, but I’m deffinately not a sheeple so don’t call me christian either.

    I’m a human being with intellect and an analytical brain. Through research of religion I discovered that the truth isn’t in the bible. It was dictated by King James and written by his scholars. Before that Christianity was created by the Romans, so they could create an empire of unquestioning servants. Any analytical thinker or free thinker is going to come to the conclusion that religion is a lie. Also Jesus’s entire life is the same story as the Egyptian god Horus. Why does the same story occure in several different religions? Because kings, pharos, and emperors need something to get people to follow them. In a nut shell they were chosen by “god” to rule. And if you question this said authority you will burn in hell for eternity. Today’s police force uses the fear of brutality to enforce unjust laws. Similar to the unjust concept of one man ruling everyone else .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.