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Big study on Religion and Atheism

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Hampus Andersson, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/s...ies-stretching-back-over-decades-8758046.html

    A new review of 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades has concluded that religious people are less intelligent than non-believers.

    A piece of University of Rochester analysis, led by Professor Miron Zuckerman, found “a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity” in 53 out of 63 studies.

    According to the study entitled, 'The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations', published in the 'Personality and Social Psychology Review', even during early years the more intelligent a child is the more likely it would be to turn away from religion.

    In old age above average intelligence people are less likely to believe, the researchers also found.

    One of the studies used in Zuckerman's paper was a life-long analysis of the beliefs of 1,500 gifted children with with IQs over 135.

    The study began in 1921 and continues today. Even in extreme old age the subjects had much lower levels of religious belief than the average population.

    The review, which is the first systematic meta-analysis of the 63 studies conducted in between 1928 and 2012, showed that of the 63 studies, 53 showed a negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity, while 10 showed a positive one.

    Only two studies showed significant positive correlations and significant negative correlations were seen in a total of 35 studies.

    The authors of the review looked at each study independently, taking into account the quality of data collection, the size of the sample and the analysis methods used.

    The three psychologists carrying out the review defined intelligence as the “ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience”.

    Religiosity is defined by the psychologists as involvement in some (or all) facets of religion.

    According to the review, other factors - such as gender or education - did not make any difference to the correlation between intelligence and religious belief.

    The level of belief, or otherwise, did however vary dependent upon age with the correlation found to be weakest among the pre-college population.

    The paper concludes that: "Most extant explanations (of a negative relation) share one central theme —the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who 'know better'."

    Criticisms of the conclusions include that the paper only deals with a definition of analytic intelligence and fails to consider newly identified forms of creative and emotional intelligence.

    The psychologists who carried out the review also sought to pre-empt the secularist interpretation of the findings by suggesting that more intelligent people are less likely to have religious beliefs as they associate themselves with ideas around personal control.

    "Intelligent people typically spend more time in school - a form of self-regulation that may yield long-term benefits," the researchers wrote.

    "More intelligent people get higher level jobs (and better employment (and higher salary) may lead to higher self-esteem, and encourage personal control beliefs."
  2. Omer Said

    Omer Said
    Weresloth Staff

    While two religious people can be different as white and black in their beliefs and concept of life, two atheists can also be totally different in their way of thinking. So this research sounds really silly in my opinion. Just too much generalization.
    • Like Like x 3
  3. Hiroshi Awazu

    Hiroshi Awazu
    Off Topic Moderator

    I can see this discussion going south pretty quick.....

    I wish that sometimes we just didn't have certain kinds of discussions here as most related to religion don't end up too well as we seen in the past, especially if one's intelligence is going to be judged based on their religion they follow.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  4. Samuel Fuller

    Samuel Fuller

    Hampus you seem like a intelligent chap. Please answer one question. How does something with no concept or prior knowledge of sight develop an eye?
  5. oh not this stuff again... this really won't last long, as once again we're all have one big ass debate and it will get out of hand.
  6. Mohamedou Ari

    Mohamedou Ari
    F1 Sim Racer & #1 St. Bernard Lover on RD Premium

    Look, I don't believe, but, I also don't want to alienate those who believe. Or, at least I try not to.

    The thing is, an atheist can also be stupid and a religious person can be smart, but, I agree that this thread is going to be a warzone.

    Many atheists have lived in households where there family has forced their beliefs on them. Atheists in general have no problems with believers, it's that they don't want it forced, you see?
  7. Mapu


    the usual spin - useless, laughable and generalizing, only causing bad blood, that's all

    just out of my mind, makes me curios:

    1st: how are you supposed to measure intelligence when it can't be quantified and is a ambiguous entity? just to say, IQ tests no longer carry much weight in these days

    2nd: this study is a meta-analysis scraping up a huge pile of studies from decades ago. Why and what for? Only to repeat something that has been said before, decades ago? Not pretty useful but then again, no access to the full text of it.

    3rd: It's only an newspaper article and comparing it to what is written in the abstract of this meta-study is quite revealing. It almost looks like "The Independent" Rob Williams takes the hypotheses of this meta-study and converts them into facts. Sorry but that's not how scientific studies work.

    4th: anyone thought of social milieu and everything that is included within, quite important for a developing subject.

    I don't have access to the full text, but read the abstract: http://psr.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/02/1088868313497266.abstract

  8. Funny how people seem to think I wrote the article.
    I did not i can assure you.

    And it seems people do not read everything as it pointed out some fallacies in the report.

    But people get emotional instantly and forget to read which inhibits an intelligent discussion about the actual claims and whether there is some truth in it or not.
  9. How does something that lives in total darkness not develop eyes?
    How about you go ask a professional biologist, i´m sure you´ll find some answers to your "mysterious" questions.
  10. Mark Gormley

    Mark Gormley
    #14 | The Silent Killer

    Badly, would be the short answer, I suppose. The things are in upside down and have blind spots, can only detect a tiny fraction of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, and for a lot of people, don't work well enough without artificial augmentation to focus them properly.

    On the subject of the article, I've seen things like this before and tend to be cynical about them, especially meta-analyses where it's not difficult to cherry-pick your samples.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  11. why can't we just accept everyone and everything same as beliefs are all different, whether they are right or wrong, that is our choice to believe :)

    facts are very interesting tho ;)
  12. Tom

    Staff Emeritus Premium

    Because we're human. Trying to impose our views on others is human - it's in our nature. Just keep it civilized in here, I'll leave this thread open for now. :)

  13. yep i was like that at one stage, then i grew up alittle more and understood about the world and different cultures/religions :) , i accept it, none of my business to butt in to other peoples beliefs and say whether it's right or wrong, despite these "facts" ;)