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Religious People Branded As Less Intelligent Than Atheists In Provocative New Study

That's the provocative conclusion of a new review of 63 studies of intelligence and religion that span the past century. The meta-analysis showed that in 53 of the studies, conducted between 1928 to 2012, there was an inverse relation between religiosity -- having religious beliefs, or performing religious rituals -- and intelligence. That is, on average, non-believers scored higher than religious people on intelligence tests.

What might explain the effect?

Scientists behind studies included in the review most often suggested that "religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who 'know better.'”

But the researchers who conducted the new meta-analysis say the answer is a bit more complicated. They suspect intelligent people might have less of a "need" for religion.

"Intelligence may also lead to greater self-control ability, self-esteem, perceived control over life events, and supportive relationships, obviating some of the benefits that religion sometimes provides," study co-author Jordan Silberman, a graduate student of neuroeconomics at the University of Rochester, told The Huffington Post in an email.

So if you're a believer, does this mean you're a dope?

"I'm sure there are intelligent religious people and unintelligent atheists out there," Silberman said in the email. "The findings pertain to the average intelligence of religious and non-religious people, but they don't necessarily apply to any single person. Knowing that a person is religious would not lead me to bet any money on whether or not the person is intelligent."

The researchers acknowledge the limitations of the meta-analysis. It did not look at type of religion, for example, or at the role culture might play in the interaction between religiosity and intelligence.

In addition, The Independent pointed out that the researchers used a narrow definition of intelligence. In the paper, intelligence is defined as “the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience." This excludes other forms of intelligence, like creative and emotional intelligence.

The meta-analysis was published in Personality and Social Psychology Review.

by Anonymousreply 3909/30/2013

Why do you care?

by Anonymousreply 1408/18/2013

Why does who care about what, R14?

by Anonymousreply 1508/18/2013

The religious folk aren't any more or less intelligent, generally speaking, they're however, less apt to question the questionable and more apt to accept the unacceptable.

by Anonymousreply 1908/19/2013

Not all religious people are dim, many are highly intelligent, and use their intelligence to study and deepen their understanding of faith and religion.

That said, religion is VERY appealing to the slow-witted. They can tell themselves that the things they didn't understand in school aren't important, because there's only one book that matters. And that they don't have to live by their wits or understand a complex world, because a parental figure is always looking over their shoulder. Which isn't always a good thing, of course, but they rather believe a cruel and judgemental God is there, than be on their own.

by Anonymousreply 2208/19/2013

I like you, R21.

by Anonymousreply 2609/27/2013

The researchers acknowledge the limitations of the meta-analysis. It did not look at type of religion, for example, or at the role culture might play in the interaction between religiosity and intelligence.

Huh. Huge holes right there. As Neal Stephenson put it: Religion is not for simpletons.

by Anonymousreply 2709/28/2013

Grow Up! There is no God.

by Anonymousreply 2809/28/2013

Oh yes it is, R27. Religion is DESIGNED for simpletons.

by Anonymousreply 2909/28/2013

Stating the obvious.

by Anonymousreply 3009/30/2013

[quote]It did not look at type of religion, for example,

It doesn't need to. They type of religion is irrelevant. That's like if someone said "ice cream is bad for you", you dont come back with, "bullshit! You're not telling us which ice cream is bad. Is it chocolate, vanilla, strawberry?"

[quote]or at the role culture might play in the interaction between religiosity and intelligence.

Seeing how religion and culture are so closely linked, such an exercise would be pointless.

by Anonymousreply 3109/30/2013

I don't care if you believe in Zeus or the Easter bunny r27. Believing in either one makes you a fucking moron. So it is with ANY deity. Believe in one/them, you're an idiot.

by Anonymousreply 3209/30/2013

If I were to believe in any form religion or scripture, I would believe in the Gospel of Thomas. This scripture, debunked by religion scholars for probably obvious reasons, talked about how god was within you. You can find god anywhere, but he's within you all the time. Heaven or Hell is in on earth. You will not transcend to another place. Once your life is over, your life is over. But, while you are here be god-like, be a good person.

I gravitate towards this belief system.

by Anonymousreply 3409/30/2013

R33 Sure. The results of countless people polled over an 84 year period is meaningless when compared to your personal impression of what two people have said.

by Anonymousreply 3509/30/2013

R35 Do you even know what Richard Dawkins recently said, sweetheart? If in saying it was wrong is just a "personal impression" then you're every bit as stupid and disgusting as the "Smart Atheist".

Or are you going to try and present a case that this line of thinking isn't as stupid and backwards as a fundies?

by Anonymousreply 3609/30/2013

If you believe everything you read in a "magical book" as truth, you can't be that intelligent.

by Anonymousreply 3709/30/2013

R36 Dawkins is one person. He does not speak for atheists all over the world. And Im sure it was no worse than anything religious people have said over the years. But please, keep pitching a fit about how what one person said trumps over 80s of data. It really helps make the case that religious people are less intelligent.

by Anonymousreply 3809/30/2013

I think we should get rid of the term "Atheist" it is used strategically as a negative brand.

Lets just divide the entire world into 2 groups:

1. Sky Faerie Worshipers and

2. Non-Sky Faerie Worshipers.

by Anonymousreply 3909/30/2013
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