WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Review of 63 scientific studies: Religious people are less intelligent than atheists

A review of 63 scientific studies by the University of Rochester finds 'a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity' in 53 out of 63 studies.

In other words, people with high IQs are more inclined to turn away from religion.

To be sure, this is not all that shocking: To the extent people with high measured intelligence embrace higher learning - and belief in science - they may cast aside any belief system that requires a leap of faith. Of course, some people manage to reconcile science with religious belief.



And a rebuttal of that research, also appearing in The INDEPENDENT (Ironically, not from a believer, but from an atheist/humanist, sociology professor at the University of Kent)...


Posted at 8:12am on August 13, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 8:37am
I, for one, am not surprised. The Mail also ran this. Curious the US media are ignoring this. I am pleasantly surprised Allan Loudell has called attention to it.

Meanwhile, we also have that fundamentalist judge in Tennessee who ordered a couple NOT to name their child "Messiah" because only one person it entitled to that title.

Social scientists should also be looking to correlations between religion and authoritarian personality disorder, and irrational reasoning.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Aug 13, 2013 10:35am
Not a very surprising article. Think about what Jesus said, don't stop the children from coming to me for those who have faith as these children will see the kingdom of Heaven (paraphrased).

Jesus also said that God's wisdom is foolishness to Man.

Education is a fine thing; for some it causes them to forget where all knowledge comes from. Faith is not a logical thing, which is why so many of these "smart" folks don't get it. God created the very scientific principles they believe. They are very much like the folks who worship Mother Earth. They worship part of God's Creation, while ignoring the actual Creator of what they worship.

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 10:49am
The paper concludes that: "Most extant explanations (of a negative relation) share one central theme —the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who 'know better'."

The "intellegent" people who "know better" than God just may be surprised in the next life...after physical death on this planet. How valuable will their wisdom be to them then?
Life is a game that no one escapes from alive...

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 11:06am
Earl brings up and interesting twist. If there is a heaven and no atheists go... who are the smart ones now?

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Aug 13, 2013 11:37am
That's the point I believe Christ was making. The wise will believe their wisdom is better than God's & they'll outsmart themselves & miss the gift God has for them.

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 1:50pm
What we see here is evidence that some people need someone else - some hypothetical deity or Rush - to do their thinking for them. And this hypothetical deity was made up by clerics. Face it: Maybe Moses talked to god but nobody here has. Preachers made up a god and made up things for him to say solely for their own benefit.

And they make deals with political rulers: Special privileges in exchange for persuading people to follow orders.

Not only are Christians stupid but they turn around to impose their stupidity on their betters.

Your Bible says you are created in god's image. You let your preachers recreate you in the image of sheep.

Allan Loudell
Tue, Aug 13, 2013 2:29pm
I've put up a new thread (above) to a piece - also from The INDEPENDENT - from an ATHEIST nonetheless excoriating the research: "Atheists are more intelligent than religious people? That's 'scientism' at its worst..."

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Aug 13, 2013 5:24pm
Allan, thank you for posting the rest of the story . It takes far more faith to believe this universe with its detail, beauty, & precision was some freak accident, than that a creator God created it bringing order.

The writer of that second piece explained his views quite well. Thanks for sharing it.

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 7:12pm
Education will not get you into heaven, but being an atheist will most certainly get you into hell.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Aug 13, 2013 8:37pm
Mrpizza, I say Amen !!

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 10:17pm
Thanks, Mike. Glad SOMEBODY agrees.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Aug 13, 2013 11:03pm
That's why followers of the Living Christ share their faith with others. Jesus has said that he doesn't want anyone to perish & told us to go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately some folks just aren't interested, but we are still supposed to share the good news of Christ with all. Each person has free will & can either accept God's free eternal gift or say no.

Tue, Aug 13, 2013 11:45pm
Again, BillS is trying to categorize 99% of Christians, by the 1%. I don't deny some people say stupid things in the name of Christianity. I would guess in Burma, there would be some stupid Buddhists; in Japan, some stupid Shinto samurai, in Africa, some stupid Witch Doctors. But there would be some very smart ones too; otherwise the traditions would have died out long ago. Practical people don't keep things that make no sense.

I've come to accept that some people will never "get" religion. They will never understand how it enhances you. How it makes you better. How it gives you tremendous power over your own life.

So they throw out 5th-grade categorizations of what they think religion is.. How many times have we heard about the "Big Man In The Sky".

We don't follow a "Big Man In The Sky."; we follow our hearts, and our hearts tell us there is something greater than ourselves and we, in the English language, have named that something .. God.

I don't speak for everyone, I'm sure. Neither do they speak for me.

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 7:03am
You people are pathetic. MikeFromDelaware tries to be a good guy but is overcome by his gullibility. The rest are vile, nasty excuses for human beings, proud of your own stupidity.

The entire thrust of this thread is "I'm dumb and proud of it. God wants me to be stupid."

It appears Loudell finally woke up and realized his job is pandering to ignorant and crazy wing-nuts. So, some "true believer's" comments are given equal weight with valid research. And MikeFromDelaware sees this as "faith" (meaning superstition) trumps science.

Are you people really so frightened of the thought that someday you won't exist any more?

No sane person would want to spend eternity with you people or the kind of supreme being you have created in your own images.

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 8:13am
The so-called "rebuttal" is "false equivalency" journalism at its worst. It does not come close to peer review. Nowhere does this supposed critic comment on the study itself. This guy questions the motives of the study's authors. He questions the "concept" of intelligence (actually intelligence is considered in this context an operational construct, and as such is widely used in social research). And mostly he says he doesn't like the idea that beliefs are shaped by intelligence. But he says nothing about the specifics of the study or the methods used in it. Somebody says the Earth is round; newsies have to run out and find somebody to say the world is flat. And then they call that being fair and balanced.
But the true believers love it.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Aug 14, 2013 9:13am
Bill smith: Galileo said, that Science & the Bible are not at odds. When we think there is a conflict that means we've not understood what the Scriptures have said (paraphrase). God created both Science & Faith. Science tells us how our universe/ world works, the Scriptures tell us about God's plan for us (faith). So no conflict between the two disciplines. A person can believe in the things we learn from Science & still have faith in God & Jesus as Galileo did. I personally know a number of PhD Scientist's who are Christians. I also know some who are Religious Jews, & some who are Hindu. So yes even today there are scientist who believe in God, some of those are Practicing Christians.

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 12:09pm
MikeFromDelaware: This is the same Galileo who was forced to withdraw his findings that the Sun (not the Earth) was the center of the universe?
And why did he withdraw those findings?
Because he was charged with heresy, tried by the Inquisition, had powerful friends who intervened so he escaped being tortured and burned at the stake (this is Italy, after all), but spent the rest of his life under house arrest and forbidden to publish.

Any thing Galileo wrote was under duress and was intended to placate church authorities out for blood.
So, no conflict. No scientists executed for heresy. No teachers fired for teaching evolution. No conflict at all.

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 7:57pm
Hey, you know you can't take Bill too seriously. He's a card-carrying member of Occupy Wall Street aka The Public Park Poopers Society.

Thu, Aug 15, 2013 7:56am
Pizza: Having read your posts these months, I concede that poop is something on which you are a leading authority.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Aug 15, 2013 10:22am
Billsmith: Here are some quotes from Galileo, even after being tortured he apparently muttered these words - “E pur si muove.

"Albeit It does move".
(That's what Galileo purportedly muttered after torturers forced him to recant his theory that the earth orbits the sun.)”

Here are more quotes. None of the quotes seem to me to say he was faking his faith in Christ, but rather he held a deep belief in both Jesus Christ as God and was a Scientist.
It doesn't seem to me that Galileo kept his opinions to himself, due to the Inquisition, enjoy:

The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go.

It vexes me when they would constrain science by the authority of the Scriptures, and yet do not consider themselves bound to answer reason and experiment.

It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved.

I think that in the discussion of natural problems we ought to begin not with the Scriptures, but with experiments, and demonstrations.

By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

Mathematics is the alphabet with which God has written the Universe.

I don't feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Aug 15, 2013 10:52am
Billsmith: I found this website this morning, thought you'd find this of interest. It is the Christian Left web site. A group of Christians who are Liberals. So here's proof that not only can GOP/TEA folks be followers of Jesus, so can DEM/LIBS. It's a pretty interesting web site. They make some excellent points. They sort of are followers of the Red Letter parts of the New Testament. Enjoy.


Mike from Delaware
Thu, Aug 15, 2013 5:13pm
Billsmith and everyone else here on Allan's blog:

As the Galileo issue has come up a couple of times here on Allan's blog, I've provided a link that has an excellent article on this topic that includes references of where they got their info, you might find of interest.

I've pasted only a few of the paragraphs from the link here to peak your interest here. To get the full flavor, and some interesting back ground history about Aristotle and others too, go to the link at the bottom of my posting. Enjoy.

This is not a Catholic Church link. The folks who wrote this article provided a well rounded even handed telling of what happened. My take away was these folks were not out bash or defend the Catholic Church, but simply providing us with a well rounded, just the facts ma'am article of what happened and why.

My guess is, if all of the regulars [including Allan] read the link, we could have quite an interesting discussion.

What were Galileo Galilei's conflicts with the Roman Catholic Church? It was not a simple conflict between science and religion, as usually portrayed. Rather it was a conflict between Copernican science and Aristotelian science which had become Church tradition. Galileo expressed his scientific views supporting Copernicus as well as his biblical views in a 1615 letter to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany which became the basis of his first Church trial and censure. A major work published in 1632 resulted in Galileo's conviction on suspicion of heresy and a lifetime house arrest. The Galileo affair provides important lessons and applications to the Church and to science today [later I posted only one of the lessons from the article].

The primary problem, as introduced earlier [that paragraph is in the link, not provided here], was that Aristotle's science was going out of style; but the church was still attached to him. It could not make a distinction between Aristotle and Christian teachings; and in that era, there was no distinguishment or separation of science from philosophy. For the Church, if Aristotle was wrong, Christianity was wrong.[6]

Another background factor in Galileo's conflict with the Church was the influence of the Reformation. Because Martin Luther (1483-1546 A.D.) and the Protestant reformation (1517 A.D.) questioned Church authority, the Roman Church lost significant power and influence. It reacted with a list of literature forbidden to Catholics. Included were any writings challenging traditional Scripture interpretation.[7]

Excerpts from the letter to Madame Christina help to reveal Galileo's view of Scripture and that of his predecessors. He writes, “I think in the first place that it is very pious to say and prudent to affirm that the Holy Bible can never speak untruth—whenever its true meaning is understood.”[10]

He cited Copernicus in the same vein: "He [Copernicus] did not ignore the Bible, but he knew very well that if his doctrine were proved, then it could not contradict the Scripture when they were rightly understood".[11]

Lesson to All [there are a couple of other lessons offered in the link you may find interesting as well]

A final lesson and warning applies to the Church, Science, and the modern Creationist movement today. Beware of holding steadfastly to a particular interpretation of Scripture and/or a scientific model, which may be in error. For instance, there are various scientific challenges to the Young-Earth Creationist position. We should hold many of our scientific views and their corresponding Biblical interpretations loosely. For we will never have all the right answers this side of heaven.


Thu, Aug 15, 2013 9:37pm
Billsmith: You are correct in ascertaining that I'm an authority on poop. I have 3 cats.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Aug 16, 2013 8:21am
Here's another snippet from that series of articles on Galileo.

"Ironically, the traditional beliefs that Galileo opposed ultimately belonged to Aristotle, not to biblical exegesis. Pagan philosophy had become interwoven with traditional Catholic teachings during the time of Augustine. Therefore, the Church's dogmatic retention of tradition was the major seat of controversy, not the Bible. It may also be noted that Pope Urban VIII was himself sympathetic to Galileo but was not willing to stand against the tide of controversy. In reality, the majority of persecution seemed to come from intellectual scientists whose monopoly of educational authority had been threatened. During Galileo's time, education was primarily dominated by Jesuit and Dominican priests."


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