Are religious people really less smart, on average, than atheists?

#1
https://digest.bps.org.uk/2018/01/26/are...-atheists/

EXCERPT: . . . It’s a question with some urgency – the proportion of people with a religious belief is growing: by 2050, if current trends continue, people who say they are not religious will make up only 13 per cent of the global population. Based on the low-IQ-religiosity link, it could be argued that humanity is on course to become collectively less smart.

[...] As predicted, the atheists performed better overall than the religious participants, even after controlling for demographic factors like age and education. Agnostics tended to place between atheists and believers on all tasks. In fact, strength of religious conviction correlated with poorer cognitive performance. However, while the religious respondents performed worse overall on tasks that required reasoning, there were only very small differences in working memory.

[...] Daws and Hampshire concluded: “These findings provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that the religiosity effect relates to conflict [between reasoning and intuition] as opposed to reasoning ability or intelligence more generally.”

If, as this work suggests, religious belief predisposes people to rely more heavily on intuition in decision-making – and the stronger their belief, the more pronounced the impact – how much of a difference does this make to actual achievement in the real world? At the moment, there’s no data on this....

MORE: https://digest.bps.org.uk/2018/01/26/are...-atheists/
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#2
"These results support the hypothesis that behavioral biases rather than impaired general intelligence underlie the religiosity effect."
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#3
Relying on intuition too much over logic may have the affect of making you dumber over time, much as relying on one leg more than the other would tend to make the unused leg weaker. I have no doubt that religion makes people dumber, having succumbed to it's dumbness for the first 20 years of my life. You get soft and used to taking everything stated uncritically as fact. You also get used to allowing what you feel determine what you think is true. If it feels good, it must be true. That's the schtick of religion: believe this and that and you will be so happy and will live forever. Religion also makes you dumber by focusing all your attention on one book--the Bible or the Koran or the Book of Mormon or the Torah or L. Ron Hubbard--and so you tend to neglect other fields of study and so remain ignorant and unpracticed in the skill of critical thinking.
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#4
(Jan 29, 2018 01:18 AM)Magical Realist Wrote: Relying on intuition too much over logic may have the affect of making you dumber over time, much as relying on one leg more than the other would tend to make the unused leg weaker. I have no doubt that [belief in ufos] makes people dumber, having succumbed to it's dumbness for the [last] 20 years of my life. You get soft and used to taking everything stated uncritically as fact. You also get used to allowing what you feel determine what you think is true. If it feels good, it must be true.

Rolleyes
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#5
I'm going to repeat (in blue) what I wrote the last time CC tried to pull this.

(Jun 6, 2017 03:57 AM)C C Wrote: Why Are Atheists Generally Smarter Than Religious People?

I don't think that I accept the premise of this thread. I've never been impressed by the intellectual prowess of the self-styled atheists that I've met. Most just assumed they were smarter than other people because they were atheists (and hence not followers of "superstition" as they would put it) and because of some fanciful association between atheism and science. They were on the side of 'science', science is smart, so they must be smart too.

I'm not even convinced that there is good data on intelligence and religion. (How are those things defined and measured?)  

It's easier to use education levels as a (very crude) proxy for intelligence. And when we do that we find that people with no religious adherence have a slight edge over religious adherents as a group. In the United States, the 2008 ARIS surveys found that 31% of 'nones' (those with no formal religious adherence) are university graduates, while 27% of religious adherents were. That's a slight (4% points) edge to the 'nones'.

But 'religious adherents' takes in a lot of territory. If we separate out different religious traditions and denominations, we find much larger differences among the religious adherents than between the adherents and the nones. The least likely to have graduated from a university are the Christian Pentecostals (13%). Of course that might have something to do with the ethnic/class makeup of this group. Baptists didn't do much better (18%) perhaps for similar reasons. The more upper middle class 'mainline Protestants' (Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran) come in at 35% university graduates, beating the 'none's by 4%. And a whopping 59% of adherents of 'Eastern religions' (mostly Buddhists and Hindus) are university graduates (a 28% point margin over the 'nones'). That's probably associated with the already-selected nature of the Asian immigrant population (it's the Asian intellectuals who are more apt to come here for graduate school or tech jobs) along with the many white converts to these religions who are disproportionately highly educated and probably rather smart.


I'd be willing to bet that any difference in intelligence between religious and non-religious people is small. And I'd guess that difference goes away when the religious and non-religious populations being sampled are adjusted for race, class and ethnicity. In the UK (where these authors live), most of the recent resurgence in religious adherence has come from the growing African and Middle Eastern migrant communities.
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#6
(Jan 29, 2018 04:18 AM)Yazata Wrote: I'm going to repeat (in blue) what I wrote the last time CC tried to pull this.

What?

I don't think that C C is trying to pull anything.  There’s no indication in her response that she herself feels this way.  

(Jun 7, 2017 06:15 PM)C C Wrote: Since the ancient era, history is unavoidably littered with influential scholars, scientists, philosophers, and inventors who belonged to some Abrahamic religion. One would seem to have to make the claim that the Newton types were atheists in disguise or bite the bullet.

Are intelligent people lonelier?

Most people cleave tightly to notions of what normal people are like, which means that we exclude a lot, and most often the richest bits of what we truly feel, want, and think.  We edit out our more generous, wilder, more impatient, more terrifying sides leaving only the social admissible husks that we artfully pretend is who we are.  In this context, emotional intelligence emerges as a species of courage directed at vanquishing, not an external enemy, but a fear at being weird or going mad.

A certain sort of intelligent person is above all else, a superior, and more committed reported of their inner states. It’s almost certain that people who have devoted themselves to self-honesty and self-observation have an above average chance at meeting with incomprehension, irritation, censorship, or boredom when they attempt to share the data in their own minds frankly, and in company. Their thoughts, which may be on politics, architecture, family life, or sexuality will sound more threatening, intense, oblique, or tender than is allowed. That feels lonely.  

There are simply fewer people at large committed to self-honesty and self-observation, and therefore, up for exchanging notes on what it’s truly like to be alive.

Yet, there is one resource that is exceptionally well suited to addressing the feelings of disconnection liable to be felt by the emotionally intelligent…art. Works of art are humanities secret diary—records of all that could not be said in a regular social context.—Alain de Botton

C C is trying to help create a space for all of our thoughts that don’t easily make it into standard interactions.  She’s going out of her way to find conversation starters, thought provoking ideas, and controversial topics.  

I, for one, appreciate it.
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#7
I'd consider myself a spiritual type, but there was a time when I was ''religious.'' There was also a time when I leaned towards agnosticism. I'd say that it's not a matter of lacking intellect that leads people to seek a Creator, etc. It has to do more with emotion, perhaps. And for many, how they were raised plays a huge role in it. If a kid grows up not having a choice in the matter, then that could be a driving factor when not wishing to let go of religion, when he/she reaches adulthood.

This isn't to say that there aren't a ton of dumb people who are ''believers,'' but there are also stupid people who are atheists. Many atheists were once believers, so did their IQ's suddenly spike, once they departed from faith?

As long as people are private about their beliefs, and don't try to steamroll over others' beliefs, and/or hurting others in the process, then I don't see belief in something other than the here and now, as harmful.
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#8
(Jan 29, 2018 01:18 AM)Magical Realist Wrote: Relying on intuition too much over logic may have the affect of making you dumber over time, much as relying on one leg more than the other would tend to make the unused leg weaker. I have no doubt that religion makes people dumber, having succumbed to it's dumbness for the first 20 years of my life. You get soft and used to taking everything stated uncritically as fact. You also get used to allowing what you feel determine what you think is true. If it feels good, it must be true. That's the schtick of religion: believe this and that and you will be so happy and will live forever. Religion also makes you dumber by focusing all your attention on one book--the Bible or the Koran or the Book of Mormon or the Torah or L. Ron Hubbard--and so you tend to neglect other fields of study and so remain ignorant and unpracticed in the skill of critical thinking.

Smile
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#10
You can't doubt the fact that you're doubting. Descartes showed us that.
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