Religiosity and intelligence

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Religiosity and intelligence

#1  Postby archibald » Dec 27, 2014 3:18 pm

kennyc posted this interesting study in another thread…….


"A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity. The association was stronger for college students and the general population than for participants younger than college age; it was also stronger for religious beliefs than religious behavior. For college students and the general population, means of weighted and unweighted correlations between intelligence and the strength of religious beliefs ranged from -.20 to -.25 (mean r = -.24). Three possible interpretations were discussed. First, intelligent people are less likely to conform and, thus, are more likely to resist religious dogma. Second, intelligent people tend to adopt an analytic (as opposed to intuitive) thinking style, which has been shown to undermine religious beliefs. Third, several functions of religiosity, including compensatory control, self-regulation, self-enhancement, and secure attachment, are also conferred by intelligence. Intelligent people may therefore have less need for religious beliefs and practices."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23921675

Discussed here:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mr- ... ntelligent

I haven't read the actual paper.

Assuming the relationship is there, what, if anything, does it say?

Clearly, "IQ" is only one measure. Also, correlation is not causation. Etc. Etc.

I would tend to assume that there is something more complicated going on than that religious people are less intelligent, or that being less intelligent is a predictor of religiosity. That said, I can see some possible explanations as to why people with a higher IQ might be less likely to be religious.

I believe the term 'religious' pertains here mainly to theism, not religiosity as it is sometimes defined more widely/generally in sociologically.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#2  Postby Thommo » Dec 27, 2014 4:18 pm

:coffee:
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#3  Postby laklak » Dec 27, 2014 4:26 pm

Yes, they are less intelligent. On average, of course. Argue with a Jesuit priest to see the outliers.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#4  Postby twistor59 » Dec 27, 2014 4:37 pm

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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#5  Postby Animavore » Dec 27, 2014 4:38 pm

laklak wrote:Yes, they are less intelligent. On average, of course. Argue with a Jesuit priest to see the outliers.

Really smart people, those :cheers:
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#6  Postby kennyc » Dec 27, 2014 4:54 pm




Excellent! Great post by Sabine.

I love Ethan's posts!
Always something interesting.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#7  Postby Agrippina » Dec 27, 2014 6:04 pm

:coffee:
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#8  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 27, 2014 6:37 pm

Full paper can be downloaded from here. Enjoy.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#9  Postby archibald » Dec 27, 2014 8:14 pm

Calilasseia wrote:Full paper can be downloaded from here. Enjoy.



Do you consider the conclusions robust?

I'm not a scientist, so I have several layman's questions. I have a basic grasp of statistics up to a certain point. For example, I'm familiar with Spearman's Rank but not Pearson's coefficient (which I think is used here).

For example, an r-value of -0.24 doesn't seem to indicate a strong correlation. And though I partially understand that it may still be statistically significant, I'm not sure how this can be known without comparing with an assumed level of expected correlation.

Is it true that in the social sciences, lower r-values are to be expected (and/or accepted as significant in relation to chance) because of the possibility of more contributing variables, compared with, say, the physical sciences?

I have more questions about sample sizes and controls and stuff, possibly also definitions (of both religion and intelligence)…so I guess I'll delve into the study now…..Thanks for posting a link to it.
Last edited by archibald on Dec 28, 2014 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#10  Postby Agrippina » Dec 28, 2014 7:40 am

It makes complete sense. If you're not inclined to accept unsubstantiated assertions about secular (non-religious) claims, then you're not likely to accept claims about religious ones. If you demand evidence for everything else that you're told, you're more likely to be able to critically analyse what you're told, thinking that requires abstract thinking. If I remember correctly Piaget defined it as children under 11 years aren't, generally, able to do this. If a child is able to do this before 11, again, I'm writing from memory, it's an indication of higher intelligence. My reasoning is that if you force religion on a child during this pre-11 stage (what the catholics believe you need to do to create good catholics), you are more likely to get them to remain religious, unless they are superiorly intelligent, and able to reason that what they're being told is nonsense, requiring evidence. This would apply to other fairy tales, like Santa Claus. If a kid still believes in Santa Claus in that pre-11 stage, i.e. between 5 and 11, then they're also more likely to believe in religion, and may have learning problems otherwise. This is just off the top of my head. I haven't looked at my psychology books for some time.

So yes, I would agree with this, also from my experience. The more religious people are, in my experience, the more likely they are to blindly accept other nonsense they're told, without evidence, and the less likely they are to be able to understand a demand for critical thinking, and other reasoning requiring higher levels of intelligence.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#11  Postby OlivierK » Dec 29, 2014 11:48 pm

Three possible interpretations were discussed. First, intelligent people are less likely to conform and, thus, are more likely to resist religious dogma. Second, intelligent people tend to adopt an analytic (as opposed to intuitive) thinking style, which has been shown to undermine religious beliefs. Third, several functions of religiosity, including compensatory control, self-regulation, self-enhancement, and secure attachment, are also conferred by intelligence. Intelligent people may therefore have less need for religious beliefs and practices."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23921675

It seems remiss not not include:

Fourthly, religion is bullshit, and intelligent people can see it for what it is.

That's sort of covered by their second explanation, but I think they're being far too kind in their wording.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#12  Postby Rumraket » Dec 29, 2014 11:59 pm

The same subject is touched upon here:
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#13  Postby Willie71 » Jan 22, 2015 11:57 pm

It's the abstract thinking that tends to be higher specifically in non religious people, the same thinking that is present in great scientists.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#14  Postby jamest » Jan 23, 2015 12:39 am



[i]"A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity. The association was stronger for college students and the general population than for participants younger than college age; it was also stronger for religious beliefs than religious behaviour.

This 'analysis' doesn't work. Until The Renaissance nearly everyone [in The West] was religious. Indeed, many (most?) still are. Furthermore, today (afaik), nearly everyone in a certain region of The East is religious. Which all goes to prove that intelligence is an innate characteristic/measure of the individual, distinct to a measure of what he/she knows/believes.

In other words, if it can be explained that intelligence has no correlation to what one knows/believes, then any attempt to do so is doomed to fail. Of course, we could just redefine the parameters of intelligence sufficient to mirror secular expectations, and then Bob's your uncle. Yes, but then Bob would also be a cunt.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#15  Postby Calilasseia » Jan 23, 2015 12:50 am

jamest wrote:


"A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity. The association was stronger for college students and the general population than for participants younger than college age; it was also stronger for religious beliefs than religious behaviour.


This 'analysis' doesn't work. Until The Renaissance nearly everyone [in The West] was religious.


Probably had a lot to do with the manner in which you met a brutal end, if you made the mistake of declaring yourself not to conform to religious dogma in that era. I note with interest how, in places where one is free to reject religious dogma without facing the prospect of being roasted to death, an increasing number do so.

jamest wrote:Indeed, many (most?) still are.


See above.

jamest wrote:Furthermore, today (afaik), nearly everyone in a certain region of The East is religious.


Oh, this would be the region where failure to conform to the established religious dogma has dire consequences? In some cases, having your head cut off?

jamest wrote:Which all goes to prove that intelligence is an innate characteristic/measure of the individual, distinct to a measure of what he/she knows/believes.


No it doesn't. Certainly not in the way you're trying to establish. Once again, in places where a genuine free choice can be made, with no coercion, an increasing number of people are making the choice to abandon religion.

jamest wrote:In other words, if it can be explained that intelligence has no correlation to what one knows/believes, then any attempt to do so is doomed to fail.


Except of course, that genuinely intelligent people don't treat unsupported assertions uncritically as fact.

jamest wrote:Of course, we could just redefine the parameters of intelligence sufficient to mirror secular expectations, and then Bob's your uncle.


Except that this didn't happen in the paper.

jamest wrote:Yes, but then Bob would also be a cunt.


Nowhere near as much as a cunt as the people who coerce others into conforming to religious dogma, frequently via homicidal threats.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#16  Postby jamest » Jan 23, 2015 1:34 am

Calilasseia wrote:
jamest wrote:


"A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity. The association was stronger for college students and the general population than for participants younger than college age; it was also stronger for religious beliefs than religious behaviour.


This 'analysis' doesn't work. Until The Renaissance nearly everyone [in The West] was religious.


Probably had a lot to do with the manner in which you met a brutal end,

There were one or two mavericks in Medieval+ times (even less before then), but most people believed in God/Christianity [in our part of the world]. I'm confident that even you would agree with that. Which proves - unless there were few if any intelligent people back then - that intelligence NEVER correlates with the knowledge/belief of a person... which kinda fucks this analysis up the ass.

if you made the mistake of declaring yourself not to conform to religious dogma in that era. I note with interest how, in places where one is free to reject religious dogma without facing the prospect of being roasted to death, an increasing number do so.

That means nothing within the context of this discussion. For instance, where one became free to accept religious dogma without facing the prospect of being thrown to the lions, an increasing number of people became Xians. Are we to make of this that Xians were more intelligent than the people who gave them the freedom to express their beliefs? You cannot get anywhere with this line of thought.

I need to go to bed soon, so I'll leave it at that.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#17  Postby Agrippina » Jan 23, 2015 7:41 am

Willie71 wrote:It's the abstract thinking that tends to be higher specifically in non religious people, the same thinking that is present in great scientists.


Yes. If you can tolerate your kids, the little ones, arguing with you, you can teach them to be critical thinkers at a fairly early age. Being able to do this gives them some immunity from religious indoctrination but then that's also a generalisation because they could be persuaded to become religious because of some other reward, for instance social acceptance. It's not easy to not be socially acceptable in a society where the majority are religious, so even if someone doesn't necessarily believe the doctrine, they might go along with the ritual and church attendance because it makes them acceptable. In general though, teach your kids to question what they're told, and they're less likely to be brainwashed by nonsense.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#18  Postby Thommo » Jan 23, 2015 8:25 am

jamest wrote:


[i]"A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity. The association was stronger for college students and the general population than for participants younger than college age; it was also stronger for religious beliefs than religious behaviour.

This 'analysis' doesn't work. Until The Renaissance nearly everyone [in The West] was religious. Indeed, many (most?) still are. Furthermore, today (afaik), nearly everyone in a certain region of The East is religious. Which all goes to prove that intelligence is an innate characteristic/measure of the individual, distinct to a measure of what he/she knows/believes.

In other words, if it can be explained that intelligence has no correlation to what one knows/believes, then any attempt to do so is doomed to fail. Of course, we could just redefine the parameters of intelligence sufficient to mirror secular expectations, and then Bob's your uncle. Yes, but then Bob would also be a cunt.


That's not how statistics work.

It makes literally no sense to discuss what happens if there's no correlation in response to a study showing there's a correlation. That's just denialism.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#19  Postby Rumraket » Jan 23, 2015 8:35 am

jamest wrote:


"A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity. The association was stronger for college students and the general population than for participants younger than college age; it was also stronger for religious beliefs than religious behaviour.

This 'analysis' doesn't work. Until The Renaissance nearly everyone [in The West] was religious. Indeed, many (most?) still are. Furthermore, today (afaik), nearly everyone in a certain region of The East is religious. Which all goes to prove that intelligence is an innate characteristic/measure of the individual, distinct to a measure of what he/she knows/believes.

In other words, if it can be explained that intelligence has no correlation to what one knows/believes, then any attempt to do so is doomed to fail. Of course, we could just redefine the parameters of intelligence sufficient to mirror secular expectations, and then Bob's your uncle. Yes, but then Bob would also be a cunt.

ffs james, your response here amounts to a data point in favor of the thesis.

But seriously, you don't seem to understand the correlation. There is an overrepresentation of low intelligence among religious people. The more religious and fundamentalist, the stronger the correlation. It doesn't mean that every religious person is less intelligent, nor does it mean that being religious makes you less intelligent. All it means is that, as a percentage of all religious people more are less intelligent. And if you take out the proportion of religious people which are very hardcore believers(aka fundamentalists), as a percentage of these, even more are less intelligent than average.

That does not mean either is the exclusive cause of the other. The data doesn't say why this is so, but the correlation is nevertheless a fact. The data is real, deal with it.

Now we might ask, how come there is an overabundance of mouthbreething knuckledraggers among the religious? Is it because religion makes people dumb, or because religion is just intrinsically attractive to the stupid? Or maybe, just maybe, in countries where education is in a bad state, religions usually flourish. Who knows? There are studies on these subjects too. Probably all these effects co-occur and intertwine.

But whatever the explanation, again. The data is real.
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Re: Religiosity and intelligence

#20  Postby blackhash » Mar 04, 2017 5:02 pm

In urban Hindus intelligence and religiosity bear no relation. Social and economic conditions determine opportunities whereas ethnicity and food habits determine intelligence.
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