Tuesday, 17 June 2008

People with higher IQs are less likely to believe in God, according to a new study.

a somewhat controversial article from the Guardian…

Professor Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, said many more members of the "intellectual elite" considered themselves atheists than the national average.
A decline in religious observance over the last century was directly linked to a rise in average intelligence, he claimed.
But the conclusions - in a paper for the academic journal Intelligence - have been branded "simplistic" by critics.

Professor Lynn, who has provoked controversy in the past with research linking intelligence to race and sex, said university academics were less likely to believe in God than almost anyone else.
A survey of Royal Society fellows found that only 3.3 per cent believed in God - at a time when 68.5 per cent of the general UK population described themselves as believers.
A separate poll in the 90s found only seven per cent of members of the American National Academy of Sciences believed in God.
Professor Lynn said most primary school children believed in God, but as they entered adolescence - and their intelligence increased - many started to have doubts.
He told Times Higher Education magazine: "Why should fewer academics believe in God than the general population? I believe it is simply a matter of the IQ. Academics have higher IQs than the general population. Several Gallup poll studies of the general population have shown that those with higher IQs tend not to believe in God."
He said religious belief had declined across 137 developed nations in the 20th century at the same time as people became more intelligent.
But Professor Gordon Lynch, director of the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society at Birkbeck College, London, said it failed to take account of a complex range of social, economic and historical factors.
"Linking religious belief and intelligence in this way could reflect a dangerous trend, developing a simplistic characterisation of religion as primitive, which - while we are trying to deal with very complex issues of religious and cultural pluralism - is perhaps not the most helpful response," he said.
Dr Alistair McFadyen, senior lecturer in Christian theology at Leeds University, said the conclusion had "a slight tinge of Western cultural imperialism as well as an anti-religious sentiment".
Dr David Hardman, principal lecturer in learning development at London Metropolitan University, said: "It is very difficult to conduct true experiments that would explicate a causal relationship between IQ and religious belief. Nonetheless, there is evidence from other domains that higher levels of intelligence are associated with a greater ability - or perhaps willingness - to question and overturn strongly felt institutions."

I can see two assumptions here, first the old chestnut that Religion is not based on evidence and the second that people necessarily accept a belief when confronted with the evidence. I would say that the reason people don’t believe in God is more to do with psychological reasons, not that there is a lack of evidence. What do you think?
BTW Albert Einstein was a Deist!
Adam Deen


Anonymous said...

What about the fact that if the same surveys on IQ were taken when
Islam was the dominant civilisation, you would find that the people with the highest IQs were the Muslims, and that within that dominant civilisation within the Khilafah, you would find that the people with the highest IQs were the Ulema, or the scientists who were more religious than the masses.

Whatever the civilisation, and the idea it most follows, that idea
will be updeld by the leaders and leading thinkers of that
civilisation, so naturally the people with the highest IQs (i.e. in academic institutions) will hold that idea more than the masses.

This is the case with liberalist darwinist post-reformation European
secularism which lead to Athiesm to be held by the majority of
academics who are the backbone of this civilisation.

You must also remember that it was these academics that championed
Darwinism, revolted to relegate the church, and based all of their
science on the evolutionary paradigm, and new faith of darwinism.

Another more crude point is that Christianity is very obviously false to many intelligent people, and hence people left it, but the rest of the population seems to still be dumb enough to believe in a christianity-light.

Hassan Saleemi

Anonymous said...

"Belief" is a word that people use in the absence of "evidence".

People do no refuse to believe in the face of evidence. If there really were evidence, belief would not be needed.

There is no evidence of the Muslim creed. No evidence that Mohammed learnt the recitation from Jibrael, that Jibrael exists or what he/she was/is nor his/her relationship to God or that the Quran is complete and unchanged. Neither is there any conceivable repeatable experiment that can be performed to support any of the creed. Its pretty much the same with Christianity and Judaism - although the Christians might cite recent miracles allegedly performed by Saints interceding. The rest is verbal hearsay and unprovable.

Religion is indeed a matter of faith and belief. As such it can be respected. When a faith mocks other faiths it loses that right to respect.

When it claims to be reasonable, provable and scientific it loses credibility.

Whereas with the true enemy of Islam - reason - and Darwinism as part of science, there is evidence aplenty. There are also questions that are presently unanswered and no doubt in the fullness of time many aspects of present theories will need to be discarded - just as theories of phlogiston and calx were held, and then discarded in favour of modern atomic theory, physics and chemistry.

That is the contrast: science can evolve and correct errors. It seems that some faiths, Islam in particular, cannot even contemplate that they may be wrong.

However, if you believe that Islam can be proven by science and reason, produce your proof.

Perhaps you would like to start by proving that any God exists.


Anonymous said...

"That is the contrast: science can evolve and correct errors. It seems that some faiths, Islam in particular, cannot even contemplate that they may be wrong."

Tom, you say above Islam may be wrong about some scientific facts.

What they may be, please elaborate?

Anonymous said...

Well, we might start by questioning the sun setting in "murky water" or "muddy spring" (translations vary).

However the challenge is for you the prove the existence of a God - any God.

Come on - give us your proof.


Anonymous said...

Hurry up - we are waiting.


Anonymous said...

Is there scientific proof that god does NOT exist?

Anonymous said...

Negatives cannot be proved. Get with the project!

The proposition is that a belief in God is reasonable and scientific and provable.

So demonstrate that or withdraw the statement.


Adam Deen said...


That would make you an Agnostic not an Atheist.

I’m due to have a debate on the topic in August i.a., you’re welcome to attend.

Anonymous said...

Tom not everything can be proven with science and maths, surely you must love someone, you cannot prove that love or quantify it scientifically.

Take some dominos lineup one after another, when the first one tips all the rest tip and the dominos stack up against each other. Someone tipped that first domino. just like someone made the big bang. It didnt "just happen".

humans didnt just happen, doing a medical degree trully opens your eyes to the creation around you.

The quran has science in it which people didnt know existed 1400 years ago. A simple google search will take you to these facts.

This truly is a large subject, and face to face debate would actually do more good than a discussion on this forum.

Who knows, we may meet at the debate in August!

Anonymous said...

Err - it wasn't me that made the claim that Islam was "scientific, rational and provable". Islam relies on unproven and unprovable allegations, as do all the other faiths.

If you think that statement is unfair, show us your proof.

I have a simple test - do faiths produce good societies? (by my standards) and the answer with Islam is an emphatic "no". (please - what Islam was like 900 years ago is not relevant)

The real issue is that you chaps do not have a simple private faith, but have evolved into a (violence prone) political movement which wishes to make people live in a theocray - a Sunni deobandi/fundi version of Iran.

As for science in the Quran, if you did not like the setting sun, have a go at the "blood clot" instead of the ovum.

My point is not to knock Islam, but to point out the contractions inherent in wild claims and try and turn the tide back towards reason. I hope we can agree that at present Islam has embarked on a course which can only be called tragic.

Perhaps a dose of unbiased truth may help.

As for my personal religious views, they are personal! That's how religion should be.

Best wishes, Tom

Anonymous said...

Answer to Tom: sun setting in murkey water-
“Till, when he reached the setting place of the sun…”, means that Zul Qarnain followed a route until he reached the furthest point that could be reached in the direction of the sun’s setting, which is the west of the earth. As for the idea of his reaching the place in the sky where the sun sets, this is something impossible, and the tales told by storytellers that he traveled so far to the west that the sun set behind him are not true at all. Most of those stories come from the myths of the People of the Book and the fabrications and lies of their heretics.

“he found it setting in a muddy spring…” means that he saw the sun as if it were setting in the ocean. This is something that everyone who goes to the coast or beach can see: it looks as if the sun is setting into the sea, but in fact it never leaves its path in which it is fixed. The muddy spring or hami’ah is derived from the word hama’ah which means ‘mud’.