Is Intelligence a Factor?
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07-09-2014, 01:43 AM
Is Intelligence a Factor?
I have noticed that comments about the intelligence of both believers and non-believers alike are everywhere on this website. Some people say that believers are stupid because they haven't deconstructed religion or reasoned their way through its inconsistencies. Some people say that Atheists are stupid for not being convinced by arguments that seem sound to them personally.

Like many others, I was once a believer. In my case, I was a Mormon. I don't think that I was any less intelligent when I was a believer. I understand now that I was ignorant, but ignorance can be corrected with education. Education involved arguments, evidence, research, and civil conversation. It required a lot of effort and study on my part, and a lot of patience and tolerance on the part of those non-believers who challenged me. I remember having my intelligence called into question. I don't remember it helping me learn.

I have not been an exemplar for how one should talk to a believer. I am sure I have been guilty of insulting someone's intelligence more than once, maybe even right here on TTA. I am not trying to "call out" anyone who has done likewise.

I can understand how frustrating it is sometimes to talk to Theists about religion. Sometimes they employ "every possible intellectual misdemeanor" in their arguments. Sometimes they don't argue at all, but prefer to preach. I can understand why sometimes the insults fly thick and fast.

Sometimes I really worry about the consequences of what we say to Theists when we are angry with them. I worry that we contribute negatively to our stereotypes in the media. I worry that we push away people out of frustration who would have been happier if they stuck around long enough to have their minds changed about religion. I worry that someone like me might not get the opportunity I did to learn why I was wrong.

All of that said, sometimes I cannot ignore intelligence as an obvious factor. Sometimes I meet someone who is just slow. There just isn't a nice way to describe it. Sometimes it seems obvious to me that such a person is not a genuine believer, but has merely been taken advantage of by clergy or others. They lack curiosity, critical thinking skills, sometimes even reading skills. They can be so ignorant and superstitious that a conversation about religion would have to begin with a more simple topic and then progress from there.

There has been more than one time when I considered the possibility that such a person would be better off if I didn't say anything about religion at all. Pointing out inconsistencies in their faith, as it is easy to do, seemed cruel and might have devastating emotional consequences. I didn't even have the confidence that they could reason their way out of a crises of faith at all. I just instinctively suspect that they don't have what it takes to face things like death or severe suffering, without their beliefs to comfort them.

I have also noticed the deep and sometimes taboo relationship between religious belief and mental health problems. It can be difficult to distinguish between a truly crazy person and just a "crazy fanatic" who you might find a street corner screaming about hell. Delusions of a non-religious category are often the cause of someone being committed to psychiatric care. Delusions of the supernatural are usually shared by most people you meet, and can usually be discussed just about anywhere without reproach.

I don't understand how all this fits together. I don't understand how all these factors play a part, or even if they do at all. What do you think? Is intelligence a factor? Should we be saying these things to each other? What do you think?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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07-09-2014, 02:45 AM
RE: Is Intelligence a Factor?
(07-09-2014 01:43 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I have noticed that comments about the intelligence of both believers and non-believers alike are everywhere on this website. Some people say that believers are stupid because they haven't deconstructed religion or reasoned their way through its inconsistencies. Some people say that Atheists are stupid for not being convinced by arguments that seem sound to them personally.

Like many others, I was once a believer. In my case, I was a Mormon. I don't think that I was any less intelligent when I was a believer. I understand now that I was ignorant, but ignorance can be corrected with education. Education involved arguments, evidence, research, and civil conversation. It required a lot of effort and study on my part, and a lot of patience and tolerance on the part of those non-believers who challenged me. I remember having my intelligence called into question. I don't remember it helping me learn.

I have not been an exemplar for how one should talk to a believer. I am sure I have been guilty of insulting someone's intelligence more than once, maybe even right here on TTA. I am not trying to "call out" anyone who has done likewise.

I can understand how frustrating it is sometimes to talk to Theists about religion. Sometimes they employ "every possible intellectual misdemeanor" in their arguments. Sometimes they don't argue at all, but prefer to preach. I can understand why sometimes the insults fly thick and fast.

Sometimes I really worry about the consequences of what we say to Theists when we are angry with them. I worry that we contribute negatively to our stereotypes in the media. I worry that we push away people out of frustration who would have been happier if they stuck around long enough to have their minds changed about religion. I worry that someone like me might not get the opportunity I did to learn why I was wrong.

All of that said, sometimes I cannot ignore intelligence as an obvious factor. Sometimes I meet someone who is just slow. There just isn't a nice way to describe it. Sometimes it seems obvious to me that such a person is not a genuine believer, but has merely been taken advantage of by clergy or others. They lack curiosity, critical thinking skills, sometimes even reading skills. They can be so ignorant and superstitious that a conversation about religion would have to begin with a more simple topic and then progress from there.

There has been more than one time when I considered the possibility that such a person would be better off if I didn't say anything about religion at all. Pointing out inconsistencies in their faith, as it is easy to do, seemed cruel and might have devastating emotional consequences. I didn't even have the confidence that they could reason their way out of a crises of faith at all. I just instinctively suspect that they don't have what it takes to face things like death or severe suffering, without their beliefs to comfort them.

I have also noticed the deep and sometimes taboo relationship between religious belief and mental health problems. It can be difficult to distinguish between a truly crazy person and just a "crazy fanatic" who you might find a street corner screaming about hell. Delusions of a non-religious category are often the cause of someone being committed to psychiatric care. Delusions of the supernatural are usually shared by most people you meet, and can usually be discussed just about anywhere without reproach.

I don't understand how all this fits together. I don't understand how all these factors play a part, or even if they do at all. What do you think? Is intelligence a factor? Should we be saying these things to each other? What do you think?

There have been numerous studies showing that, statistically speaking, intelligence levels and religiosity are inversely proportional (http:// http://www.skeptictank.org/hs/iq_relig.htm).
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07-09-2014, 02:51 AM (This post was last modified: 07-09-2014 03:02 AM by Free Thought.)
RE: Is Intelligence a Factor?
(07-09-2014 01:43 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I have noticed that comments about the intelligence of both believers and non-believers alike are everywhere on this website. Some people say that believers are stupid because they haven't deconstructed religion or reasoned their way through its inconsistencies. Some people say that Atheists are stupid for not being convinced by arguments that seem sound to them personally.

Like many others, I was once a believer. In my case, I was a Mormon. I don't think that I was any less intelligent when I was a believer. I understand now that I was ignorant, but ignorance can be corrected with education. Education involved arguments, evidence, research, and civil conversation. It required a lot of effort and study on my part, and a lot of patience and tolerance on the part of those non-believers who challenged me. I remember having my intelligence called into question. I don't remember it helping me learn.

I have not been an exemplar for how one should talk to a believer. I am sure I have been guilty of insulting someone's intelligence more than once, maybe even right here on TTA. I am not trying to "call out" anyone who has done likewise.

I can understand how frustrating it is sometimes to talk to Theists about religion. Sometimes they employ "every possible intellectual misdemeanor" in their arguments. Sometimes they don't argue at all, but prefer to preach. I can understand why sometimes the insults fly thick and fast.

Sometimes I really worry about the consequences of what we say to Theists when we are angry with them. I worry that we contribute negatively to our stereotypes in the media. I worry that we push away people out of frustration who would have been happier if they stuck around long enough to have their minds changed about religion. I worry that someone like me might not get the opportunity I did to learn why I was wrong.

All of that said, sometimes I cannot ignore intelligence as an obvious factor. Sometimes I meet someone who is just slow. There just isn't a nice way to describe it. Sometimes it seems obvious to me that such a person is not a genuine believer, but has merely been taken advantage of by clergy or others. They lack curiosity, critical thinking skills, sometimes even reading skills. They can be so ignorant and superstitious that a conversation about religion would have to begin with a more simple topic and then progress from there.

There has been more than one time when I considered the possibility that such a person would be better off if I didn't say anything about religion at all. Pointing out inconsistencies in their faith, as it is easy to do, seemed cruel and might have devastating emotional consequences. I didn't even have the confidence that they could reason their way out of a crises of faith at all. I just instinctively suspect that they don't have what it takes to face things like death or severe suffering, without their beliefs to comfort them.

I have also noticed the deep and sometimes taboo relationship between religious belief and mental health problems. It can be difficult to distinguish between a truly crazy person and just a "crazy fanatic" who you might find a street corner screaming about hell. Delusions of a non-religious category are often the cause of someone being committed to psychiatric care. Delusions of the supernatural are usually shared by most people you meet, and can usually be discussed just about anywhere without reproach.

I don't understand how all this fits together. I don't understand how all these factors play a part, or even if they do at all. What do you think? Is intelligence a factor? Should we be saying these things to each other? What do you think?

Is intelligence a factor in what? Insanity or religiosity?

In the case of insanity, I've no clue. Though there is an odd tendency for fame-taking mathematicians and the like to be at least a little defective mentally and their intelligence would be clear.
as for religiosity... Arguably, intelligent people would have an easier time being religious; they are better at rationalising, which would explain the hell out of people like Francis Collins...

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
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07-09-2014, 07:18 AM
RE: Is Intelligence a Factor?
(07-09-2014 02:51 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  ... intelligent people would have an easier time being religious; they are better at rationalising ...

They are better at RESISTING rationalization, which would account for the inverse correlation. It's like the old adage: The superior pilot uses his superior judgement to avoid having to use his superior skills. Tongue
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07-09-2014, 07:23 AM
RE: Is Intelligence a Factor?
I don't call them stupids............... though some of them do deserve it

I prefer to call them intellectually misguided

and when they do whatever they want to support nonsense then I call then either Intellectually dishonest or Willfully ignorant usually both Smartass

but dealing with them is still infuriating Evil_monster
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07-09-2014, 07:59 AM
RE: Is Intelligence a Factor?
(07-09-2014 07:18 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  
(07-09-2014 02:51 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  ... intelligent people would have an easier time being religious; they are better at rationalising ...

They are better at RESISTING rationalization, which would account for the inverse correlation. It's like the old adage: The superior pilot uses his superior judgement to avoid having to use his superior skills. Tongue

I side with Dr Shermer on this issue: "High intelligence, as noted in my Easy Answer, makes one skilled at defending beliefs arrived at for non-smart reasons."

Smart people might be more resistant to the rationalisations of others, but they are still highly skilled at convincing themselves.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
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07-09-2014, 03:41 PM
RE: Is Intelligence a Factor?
I think it's possible that intelligence is a factor. I don't think it's a determinant. There are intelligent believers and stupid atheists just as there are stupid believers and intelligent atheists. However, why were many of us able to think our way out of former beliefs while others look at the same things and don't "get it"? Maybe intelligence is a factor. However, even if it is, it's not very useful except maybe as a factor in understanding more about believers. As a discussion point, "you're less intelligent" is a guaranteed conversation stopper.

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07-09-2014, 04:34 PM (This post was last modified: 07-09-2014 05:50 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Is Intelligence a Factor?
There may be a somewhat general correlation, but no I think it's not a matter of intelligence. I know some really really smart people of faith. They fall generally into two categories, as I see it. None of either groups are Fundamentalists. One set has a (very) liberal view, and uses it as they find it useful but have explained away the contradictions to themselves. The second group has a remarkable ability to compartmentalize. Those compartment walls are thick and strong.

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07-09-2014, 05:33 PM
RE: Is Intelligence a Factor?
(07-09-2014 02:45 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(07-09-2014 01:43 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I have noticed that comments about the intelligence of both believers and non-believers alike are everywhere on this website. Some people say that believers are stupid because they haven't deconstructed religion or reasoned their way through its inconsistencies. Some people say that Atheists are stupid for not being convinced by arguments that seem sound to them personally.

Like many others, I was once a believer. In my case, I was a Mormon. I don't think that I was any less intelligent when I was a believer. I understand now that I was ignorant, but ignorance can be corrected with education. Education involved arguments, evidence, research, and civil conversation. It required a lot of effort and study on my part, and a lot of patience and tolerance on the part of those non-believers who challenged me. I remember having my intelligence called into question. I don't remember it helping me learn.

I have not been an exemplar for how one should talk to a believer. I am sure I have been guilty of insulting someone's intelligence more than once, maybe even right here on TTA. I am not trying to "call out" anyone who has done likewise.

I can understand how frustrating it is sometimes to talk to Theists about religion. Sometimes they employ "every possible intellectual misdemeanor" in their arguments. Sometimes they don't argue at all, but prefer to preach. I can understand why sometimes the insults fly thick and fast.

Sometimes I really worry about the consequences of what we say to Theists when we are angry with them. I worry that we contribute negatively to our stereotypes in the media. I worry that we push away people out of frustration who would have been happier if they stuck around long enough to have their minds changed about religion. I worry that someone like me might not get the opportunity I did to learn why I was wrong.

All of that said, sometimes I cannot ignore intelligence as an obvious factor. Sometimes I meet someone who is just slow. There just isn't a nice way to describe it. Sometimes it seems obvious to me that such a person is not a genuine believer, but has merely been taken advantage of by clergy or others. They lack curiosity, critical thinking skills, sometimes even reading skills. They can be so ignorant and superstitious that a conversation about religion would have to begin with a more simple topic and then progress from there.

There has been more than one time when I considered the possibility that such a person would be better off if I didn't say anything about religion at all. Pointing out inconsistencies in their faith, as it is easy to do, seemed cruel and might have devastating emotional consequences. I didn't even have the confidence that they could reason their way out of a crises of faith at all. I just instinctively suspect that they don't have what it takes to face things like death or severe suffering, without their beliefs to comfort them.

I have also noticed the deep and sometimes taboo relationship between religious belief and mental health problems. It can be difficult to distinguish between a truly crazy person and just a "crazy fanatic" who you might find a street corner screaming about hell. Delusions of a non-religious category are often the cause of someone being committed to psychiatric care. Delusions of the supernatural are usually shared by most people you meet, and can usually be discussed just about anywhere without reproach.

I don't understand how all this fits together. I don't understand how all these factors play a part, or even if they do at all. What do you think? Is intelligence a factor? Should we be saying these things to each other? What do you think?

There have been numerous studies showing that, statistically speaking, intelligence levels and religiosity are inversely proportional (http:// http://www.skeptictank.org/hs/iq_relig.htm).

Yup, Mark is correct, I have a few notes on this;

According to the leading science journal Nature a recent survey of members of the National Academy of Sciences showed that 72% are outright atheists, 21% are agnostic and only 7% admit to belief in a personal god. Atheists know all about science.

Also. atheists know more about religion than most theists.

U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey
“Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons perform better than other groups on the survey even after controlling for differing levels of education. Jews and atheists/agnostics stand out for their knowledge of other world religions, including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Atheists/agnostics and Jews also do particularly well on questions about the role of religion in public life, including a question about what the U.S. Constitution says about religion.”

Intelligence and Religion
#1 - National Longitudinal Study of Youth, which includes intelligence tests on a representative selection of white American youth, where they have also replied to questions about religious beliefs. The results were published in the scientific journal Intelligence, demonstrated that Atheists scored an average of 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82 points higher than Liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than Dogmatic persuasions.
#2 - Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, compared religious belief and average national IQs in 137 countries. Using data from a U.S. study of 6,825 adolescents, the authors found that atheists scored 6 IQ points higher than non atheists. Lynn said, "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.
#3- Several Gallup poll studies of the general population have shown that those with higher IQs tend not to believe in God."
#4 - A study published in Social Psychology Quarterly in March 2010 also stated that "atheism correlates with higher intelligence".
#5 - The more religious you are, the less likely you are to be intelligent, a new scientific study has found. According to researchers, Christians - particularly fundamentalists who believe the Bible is God's word - have a lower IQ than those who are less religious. A possible reason behind the finding was a tendency for more intelligent people to challenge religious claims, said one of the researchers, New Zealand psychologist Professor Tim Bates. "If you believe in religion, you haven't really questioned things," he said. "Brighter people were less likely to feel that religion plays a dominant role in their life."

University of Arizona and Northwestern University recent study projects the extinction of religion in Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Switzerland. They will be entirely comprised of non-believers. The study also found that "Americans without affiliation comprise the only religious group growing in all 50 states." Religions is declining because of the increase in choice, education, information, bad press, the idea that it is useless or counterproductive and the idea that its fundamental principles are illogical."

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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07-09-2014, 08:06 PM
RE: Is Intelligence a Factor?
There are many factors involved, intelligence being one.

Personally, I'm more intrigued with the psychological factor. When an intelligent theist is presented with evidence suggesting their deity of choice is but an age old fable, they usually present with a reaction of angered defense. Rational discourse is immediately tossed to the side and replaced with an attitude more suggestive of a fight. I've known many intelligent people who only behave this way when dealing with matters of their faith.
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