As I recall from a psychology course I took for the fun of it a few years ago, they claimed that there was a twenty-five percent regression toward the mean for IQ. In other words if the average IQ of the parents was, say, 140, the average IQs of their children would be around 130. If this is the case, it would seem that there is some genetic component to IQ.
And, the example of Newton being religious isn’t too germane because he lived in an entirely different time with different societal training.
IQ measures very little, apart from how well you tend to do on IQ tests. It does not seem to be strongly predictive of school performance, job performance, “success” in life (whatever that means), or any other concrete and significant measure of ability. I believe there is something real that has some relationship to the nebulous term “intelligence,” but the closer you look at actual behaviors, the less they seem to relate in any simple way to IQ or the term “intelligence,” as it is generally used. That makes me highly suspicious of any attempt to correlate something like IQ to tendancy towards religious belief. An awful lot of uncontrolled variables in any analysis of the two.
So I don’t think we are doing anything useful when we try to associate intelligence with our (i.e. non-religious) point of view. And we sure are setting ourselves up for accusations of elitism and arrogance! Though temperment may play a role in our liklihood to be religious or non-religious, I suspect the habits of thought we are taught and develop on our own over years, the cultural context, and many other factors play a much larger role. Any sociologists/psychologists out there who’d like to weigh in?
As a non-sociologist/psychologist, I’ll give my observations. I think IQ DOES measure something important - the person’s speed and accuracy of thinking or reasoning. However, at least as important is the person’s adjustment. It doesn’t matter how bright one is, if the person is a nut, s/he’s not going to succeed in most fields or in life.
And there’s another characteristic that I really don’t understand, but it’s extremely inportant - that’s charisma or leadership. I can’t believe how effectively some crackpots can get many people to follow them, however, from what I’ve seen that’s where a high IQ comes in handy. They are the few who don’t get sucked in.
This last may be the reason for the negative correlation between religiousity and IQ.
[quote author=“dougsmith”]Not sure I agree with the premise. Just to take one example, Newton was very religious. Let’s just say that it remains to be shown!
There is also a difference between IQ and education. People may be highly educated but do poorly on IQ tests, or be uneducated but do well on IQ tests. And the jury is still out as to whether (and to what degree) IQ is genetically heritable. But there is certainly no overall IQ difference between (e.g.) northerners and southerners in the US.
I didn’t agree with the premise either, but I was interested to hear what others thought. I think that attiuted is a “holier than thou” one (if I can mix a metaphor) and doesn’t help proselytize the cause of secular thinking. I hope I didn’t offend any southerners. :oops:
My wife went to a church owned university. One which seperates secular and religious teaching, as it should! My heart sank when I saw in Richard Dawkins documentary the “Root of Evil?” a British school teaching Physics with Noah and the flood thrown it! What’s all that about?
Here’s is an article published in the respected ‘Nature’ magazine, by Professor Whiting (of my wife’s university) http://whitinglab.byu.edu/PDF/Nature_421.pdf
It all about the evolution of wings in insects. In my opinion it’s good science although I’m not a biologist.
Dawkins being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWL1ZMH3-54
at approximately 7 minutes into the interview Paxman asks, are relgiously inclined scientists bad scientists? Dawkins replies “No”, but is baffled how they can reconcile the two. He suggested they might be able compartmentalise the two.
[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]So I don’t think we are doing anything useful when we try to associate intelligence with our (i.e. non-religious) point of view.
Why? Fashion can be a very powerful tool. If intelligence is admirable (it is), people might not believe in god because it would make them “look more intelligent”. This is where I believe Hollywood could help: make atheism “cool” (e.g. Dr. House in House M.D.) and the kids will follow it. Why do you think a “moder man” wears a suit and tie? Everybody wants to look as “inteligent” as the Europeans. It has been said before: a tale is to a peacock, what an intelligence is to a human. Sexual selection is our only hope.
Fashion can be a very powerful tool. If intelligence is admirable (it is)
Sadly, while I think intelligence is admirable, I don’t think it’s much admired, especially in Hollywood. Seems like right after WWII, science and scientists had a bit of a vogue , but I think we’re in the midst of an anti-intellectual backlash at the moment (e.g. The Republican War on Science).
[quote author=“Occam”]And, the example of Newton being religious isn’t too germane because he lived in an entirely different time with different societal training.
Well, yes, quite so, and he is an example of one (although you can also point to virtually every scientist prior to Darwin) ... The reason I bring him up, however, is that I don’t really approve of the “we’ve got higher IQ” argument for atheism. Firstly, it clearly doesn’t follow that one must have a high IQ to be an atheist, nor does it follow that any given atheist has a high IQ, nor does it follow that every theist has a low IQ, even if there were a statistical correlation between atheism and a high IQ.
It also smacks of simple arrogance. And I think that’s a stance we have to be very careful not to encourage.
The arguments, if they work, speak for themselves.
[quote author=“dougsmith”]It also smacks of simple arrogance. And I think that’s a stance we have to be very careful not to encourage.
It has to be done tastefully. Then it works. Do you remember this , Doug? Nobody should walk around saying I have an IQ of 150 and that’s why I am an atheist. All that the people of 150 IQ need to do is to say: I am an atheist.
“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).” I first wrote that in a book review in the New York Times in 1989, and it has been much quoted against me ever since, as evidence of my arrogance and intolerance. Of course it sounds arrogant, but undisguised clarity is easily mistaken for arrogance. Examine the statement carefully and it turns out to be moderate, almost self-evidently true.
[quote author=“dougsmith”]Newton was very religious.
Yeah, and didn’t Newton have a nervous breakdown later in life?
Seriously though, I agree with you that intelligence doesn’t have much to do with whether you are religious or not. Lots of scientists also believe in God, and I’ve met some pretty smart people on forums who happen to be Christians. Compartmentalizing seems to be the key. I know one guy at Planet Wisdom who seems to realize that the Noah’s Ark story is pretty preposterous, but he believes it anyway, because it’s in the Bible. Currently he’s trying to come up with some rationalization that it was a “local flood”, confined to the Tigris-Euphrates valley!