The myth of the smarter Atheist

Ever since I published my previous article on the average IQ of students by college major, I’ve received several requests to analyze the correlation between IQ and religiosity. Below, I’ve written up an analysis of the existing published literature on the topic. I hope this serves as a springboard for future conversation on the topic — and hopefully puts some tired myths to rest.

Country-level evidence

One of the few peer reviewed scientific articles I could find on the topic had the straightforward name, “Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations.” This article analyzes IQ and religiosity data from “137 countries that represent 95% of the world population” and claims to show that nations with more intelligent citizens tend to have more Atheists. I plotted the data from that article below.

iq-vs-religiosity-worldwide

(for the statistics nerds, the R^2 on a linear regression = 0.352)

What we see is a fairly weak relationship between national religiosity and average national IQ. Once we get up to about 20% of the population being Atheist, the IQ of the population flatlines at around 100 from then on. Even worse, in the ~0% Atheist range, there’s a wide range of national IQs from 64 to 100+ — with a cluster of low-IQ nations that appear to be driving the “trend.”

If we focus on the lowest IQ nations in the above chart, we notice that several of them are poor nations in e.g. Africa. That led me (and others who have reviewed the topic) to wonder whether the wealth of a nation better predicts the average intelligence of its citizens. After all, the more wealthy the average citizen is, the more time they have to dedicate to intellectual pursuits.

iq-vs-gdp-worldwide

(R^2 on a linear regression = 0.449; income per capita data from GapMinder)

Indeed, if we look at income per capita instead of religiosity, we already see a much better correlation with average IQ. The correlation between religiosity and IQ is too weak to suggest that religiosity predicts intelligence on the national level. Anyone who claims otherwise is grasping at straws.

Individual-level evidence

Looking at national data is fine and dandy, but what about individual-level data? In another controversial research paper on the topic, Satoshi Kanazawa claimed to explain “Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent.” In this article, Kanazawa analyzed data from a longitudinal study following students from middle school through adulthood. Conveniently, the study includes information on how religious the students are and the results of a standardized IQ test. Kanazawa mashed those variables together and claimed to show that Atheists tend to be smarter. I created a less misleading version of Kanazawa’s plot below; judge the data for yourself.

iq_vs_religiosity_ind

This is where we have to think about effect size vs. statistical significance. The most religious adults had an average IQ of 97.14, whereas the atheist adults had an average IQ of 103.09. That may seem like a wide gap — 6 whole IQ points — until we remember that anyone in the IQ range of 90-109 is classified as having “average intelligence.” Thinking about this in practical terms: Would you be able to tell the difference between someone with a 97 IQ and someone with a 103 IQ? It’s highly unlikely.

So really, all Kanazawa showed is that the average person has average intelligence regardless of how religious they are. I’ll leave the discussion of why this guy’s work was published in the first place for the comments.

Conclusion

The take-away message? To my knowledge, no amount of research has shown that Atheists are notably smarter than highly religious folks. It’s time we put this myth of the smarter Atheist to rest.

Dr. Randy Olson is the Lead Data Scientist at Life Epigenetics, Inc., where he is bringing advanced data science and machine learning technology to the life insurance industry.

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144 comments on “The myth of the smarter Atheist
  1. Previous post on the paper: http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com/2008/10/atheists-are-more-intelligent-but-does.html

    I never had much patience with the straightforward conclusion. Not only for the weak correlation among the “atheist” countries, but because IQ is supposed to ideally measure general intelligence (g-factor), and the idea that there are brains that have a high value of this and low religiosity vs. log g and high religiosity never sat well. If would mean that the connection between upbringing and religiosity (which I understand to be solid) somehow connected on a larger scale with intelligence, and that just seem implausible to me.

    That is not to say that I don’t think that it is stupid to be religious, and that a higher intelligence makes it more likely a person will break free of religion. I do. Sue me.

  2. Josiah says:

    You mention effect size and statistical significance… but don’t calculate either, and then dismiss the findings. It really doesn’t matter whether the group means of both groups fall within the band that someone arbitrarily decided is the “average” (defined as what? 1 SD from the grand mean of IQ)?

    What matters is whether there is a significant relationship between religiosity and IQ and, as you mentioned, what the effect size is. But you haven’t provided those numbers.

    • Randy Olson says:

      Let’s just compare the means. Would you be able to tell the difference between someone with a 97 IQ and a 103 IQ?

      • Victor says:

        Sure I will by asking them to check IQ test.
        And if you’re asking about purely observational difference, than you’re assumption that nobody want is also incorrect.
        Statistically, we will. Definitely you should be able to realise difference between two crowds made of 103 and 97 IQ individuals.

        Imho, this post is non-scientific bullshit

      • sup says:

        Can you tell a difference between the median teacher and the median mechanic? Some Googling suggests that the IQ differences between the two professions is ~6 IQ points.

        Further, although Ashkenazi Jews account for 3% of the US population, they represent some 27% of Nobel Prize winners — and what’s their median IQ? ~107.5.

        • Randy Olson says:

          Some Googling suggests that the IQ differences between the two professions is ~6 IQ points.

          Let’s stick to published data on this topic, please. “Some Googling” is not passable.

      • Josiah says:

        Without knowing what the distribution of scores for IQ are – I have no idea. i.e. how many SD is that difference? The scores themselves are inherently meaningless.

        Regardless, I think that calculating the actual effect size would be helpful, and should be pretty simple with the raw data. Do you want to tackle it, or do you know if the raw data is available somewhere?

  3. Eric Wilson says:

    Thanks for analyzing this.

    As a Christian, there is a temptation to fight the myth, and to retweet these results. See! Christians aren’t dumb!

    But it is much more fitting to accept that I am nothing special, and to keep in mind that God prefers to call those that are not “wise according to the flesh” so that He can be more glorified.

    For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

    –1 Corinthians 26-31

    So I actually have some agreement with Bjorn, but I would express it differently. I believe, based on God’s revealed word, that intelligent people are more likely to rebel against their Creator to the point of denying His existence.

    I will pray for you, Bjorn, knowing that as long as you live, you have opportunity to turn to Jesus in repentance.

  4. nobody says:

    >That led me to wonder whether the wealth of a nation better predicts the average intelligence of its citizens.

    You’ve got your cause and effect backwards here, my friend

    • Marmalade says:

      The two contribute to each other. Better environmental conditions have been proven to increase IQ, and better environmental conditions tend to correlate with greater wealth (especially in terms of lower rates of economic inequality and higher rates of economic mobility). But as you argue, the opposite direction of causation is also likely to be true. A more intelligent population relates to all other kinds of positive attributes: higher education rates, stronger secularism, more technological advances and innovation, etc.

      • NuclearBlackMetalKampf says:

        > Better environmental conditions have been proven to increase IQ

        Yeah, the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study had the average IQ of black kids raised by four whole points–which was both far smaller than the one-standard-deviation black-white IQ gap and smaller than the IQ increase of the white children raised in similarly optimal conditions.

        • Marmalade says:

          It’s always amusing that racists who on average have a lower IQ are always trying to make themselves feel better by arguing that some other racial group is on average stupider. Any informed person would know there has been a diversity of studies showing a wide variety of results.

          Black children adopted by white families have an average IQ 13 points higher than those adopted by black families. Other studies showed an even higher IQ increase, with the average of studies being an increase of 15 IQ points. Black children in some orphanages have an average IQ higher than the white children in the same orphanages. Even the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study shows a 20 point increase for blacks adopted before 12 months.

          For certain, the average black today is far smarter than the average white from earlier last century, the latter being equivalent to what would later on get classified as functionally retarded. Such a vast increase can only be explained by environmental influences. And the very populations, blacks included, that have seen the greatest environmental improvements have also seen the greatest IQ increases.

          Education As the Cultivation of Intelligence
          By Michael E. Martinez
          pp. 102-3

          “Of the research cited by Nisbett, only the Minnesota study on adoption provides any support for Hernstein and Murray’s claim that the Black-White IQ gap is genetic in origin. In this study, White (n=25) and black or mixed-race (Black-White) (n=130) children were adopted into White families (Scarr & Weinberg, 1976, 1983). When the subjects were older adolescents (mean age of 18.5 years), the adopted White children had the highest IQs (mean IQ=115.5), followed by the mixed race children (mean IQ=109.0), and then children of two Black parents (mean IQ=96.8). At first blush, it seems that this study supports the genetic doctrine. However, when the data are limited to Black children who were adopted before the age of 12 months, a different picture emerges. The average IQ of the Black early adoptees was 110, which was 20 points higher than the IQ of comparable children raised in the Black comunity, and 10 points higher than the population mean. For Black children placed before the age of 12 months, IQ correlations with adopted siblings were “embarrassingly similar” to those between natural siblings (Scarr & Weinberg, 1983, p. 264). It is true that the IQs of adopted Black children averaged 6 points below that of their White adoptive siblings, but this gap is small enough to be accounted for by differences in pre- and postnatal experiences prior to adoption. (IQ differences of 6 points or so are not unusual even among identical twins.) The same study showed that IQs of adopted children were more strongly correlated with their biological mothers (r=0.34) than with their adoptive mothers (r=0.21), reinforcing the belief that genetic forces are not to be dismissed; but these correlations are both rather weak, accounting for, at most 10% of the variance in IQ. More important, these correlations mask the upward shift in IQ enjoyed by the adopted children when compared to their nonadopted peers. Again, we are confronted with the statistical independence of measures of association (i.e., correlation and heritability coefficients) and the actual levels of measured ability (i.e., IQ and mental age). Thus, quite in contrast to the inferennces drawn by Hernstein and Murray (1984) in The Bell Curve, the original investigators concluded that “genetic racial differences do not account for a major portion of the IQ performance differences between racial groups” (Scarr & Weinberg, 1983, p. 261, emphasis added).”

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/weak-evidence-weak-argument-race-iq-adoption/

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/unseen-influences-race-gender-and-twins/

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/black-superiority/

          https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/black-global-ruling-elite/

  5. I’m sure in other models, the findings might even determine some religious cultures e.g India and Israel, have a disproportionate number of Nobel laureates. Jewish Nobel Prize Winners http://www.algemeiner.com/?p=143785 . The study then might be refined to those religious cultures that promote science over faith, scholarship and critical thinking over rote learning. Does this mean that some traditionally religious cultures promote higher critical thinking as opposed to those that stress faith over knowledge, e.g. Spain, Italy, Saudi Arabia? Faced with problems like medicine, space travel, rocket science, nuclear fission, etc. would you select your team of scientists from Liberty College, or M.I.T. ? If your child was fatally ill would you turn to Oral Roberts or Johns Hopkins? You might find candidates of equivalent I.Q. in either, but how individuals apply that intelligent advantage becomes a qualifier in and of itself.

  6. eMatters says:

    I realize this is a very small sample size, but my two conservative, Bible-believing Christian daughters just graduated from college. One had a 3.97 from the Honors College of a major state institution (in only 3 yrs). The other got a 4.0 from a private school. They have excelled at every standardized test they every took and got A’s in every science class.

    Also, with respect to the “intelligent atheists,” I love what this quote from J. Budziszewski, atheist-turned-Christian philosophy professor from the University of Texas: “Though it always comes as a surprise to intellectuals, there are some forms of stupidity that you must be highly intelligent and educated to commit. God keeps them in His arsenal to pull down mulish pride, and I discovered them all.”

    • Filmmaker30 says:

      Hahahahaha. LMAO! The irony of this post is incredible. “We ain’t dumb, look at my bible thumping daughters in da college programs.”

      • Nathan says:

        WOW. And you atheists espouse “tolerance” and “acceptance”. What an absurd reply.

        • StupidShouldCausePain says:

          What do you call this, asshat?

          Though it always comes as a surprise to intellectuals, there are some forms of stupidity that you must be highly intelligent and educated to commit. God keeps them in His arsenal to pull down mulish pride, and I discovered them all.”

        • austinsaxman says:

          In this context, to “tolerate” someone means to protect his or her constitutional rights. It does not mean that idiocy can’t be ridiculed.

        • NuclearBlackMetalKampf says:

          1. >implying all atheists are left-wingers

          I read American Renaissance. I guess that means I must not be a True Atheist, then.

          2. I like individual freedom. Saying “that’s bullshit!” to a bad argument doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights or property or harm them in any way. Ideas aren’t people. If a random man on the street tells you “hey, buddy, 2+2 = 3,” are you being intolerant for telling him he’s wrong?

    • austinsaxman says:

      And their fields of study were … what?

    • Dick Brown says:

      “got A’s in every science class.”
      What are those fields of science? What university?
      BTW there are no atheists who turned to religious person, because if you grow out of fairy tales, then there is no chance that you will believe them later. Also atheist would not study philosophy, because usually philosophy and also theology is chosen by religious people.

  7. Paul Rubin says:

    Two questions:

    1. Why are there countries with average IQ as low as 70? Might someone be conflating education level with IQ?

    2. I wonder if government might be a meditating variable? Suppose that the intelligence/education level of the populace of a country correlates negatively with its propensity to have an absolutist/dictatorial government. (I have no data on this, but it seems plausible that less intelligent citizens would be more gullible, more susceptible to propaganda, or perhaps just happier to be told what to do.) Dictatorial governments frequently appeal to religion for a mandate for their actions, which can make the country uncomfortable for atheists, who may then either leave or decline to admit their atheism.

    This is all speculation on my part, but it might make for an interesting follow-up analysis.

    • Randy Olson says:

      1. Why are there countries with average IQ as low as 70? Might someone be conflating education level with IQ?

      I wonder if there’s sampling issues. One criticism of that data set is that it’s based on a fairly small sample in some countries, sometimes as few as 10-20 people.

      2. I wonder if government might be a meditating variable? Suppose that the intelligence/education level of the populace of a country correlates negatively with its propensity to have an absolutist/dictatorial government. (I have no data on this, but it seems plausible that less intelligent citizens would be more gullible, more susceptible to propaganda, or perhaps just happier to be told what to do.) Dictatorial governments frequently appeal to religion for a mandate for their actions, which can make the country uncomfortable for atheists, who may then either leave or decline to admit their atheism.

      A counterexample to this would be China, which is quite dictatorial but still Atheist. Regardless, I agree: this would be an interesting trend to investigate! The big question is how one would quantify “dictatorialness” of a government.

      • Paul Rubin says:

        With sample sizes as low as 10-20, you have to wonder if there’s some “convenience sampling” going on (institutionalized individuals, prisoners, political office holders) that might bias the IQ value downward.

        I agree that measuring “dictatorialness” might be tricky. Absence of an elected body of representatives would be one indicator, but not the only one. Propensity of critics to be put on trial or to simply “disappear” would be another, but would be hard to get data on. A measure of human rights (or human rights violations) might make a plausible surrogate.

      • Josiah says:

        China is not even mostly atheist, according to most of the polls I just looked at.

  8. steve25 says:

    As an atheist, I completely agree with your premise. Atheists are not atheists because we are inherently smarter people.

    We’re atheists because we were able to take a step back from our emotional attachment to myths, and think for ourselves, “Hang on a minute, does what I know about the world actually align at all with what I’m reading in this book?” That’s not something that can be measured with IQ or standardized testing.

    Also, some very, very smart people can believe some very silly things, if they are presented emotionally, rather than rationally. The smartest person I’ve ever met was a Mormon physics professor. Brilliant dude in the classroom, but he believed some unbelievably silly things at church.

    • CO says:

      so dark matter is a myth because its not proven yet?

      • steve25 says:

        Dark matter is more of a mystery than a myth. We know something is there; it has a measurable gravitational effect. But nobody has any idea what’s causing it.

      • Dan says:

        that is like saying that air is a myth because (certainly at one point in existence) we could not measure it. even without being able to see it or measure it we all know air is there any time the wind blows and we can see the trees move in it. this is very similar to where we are with dark matter, we can see its effect but can not yet see what it actually is. just because we dont yet have the tools needed to view dark matter we can see its effects on the proverbial trees.

    • andy_the_bear says:

      There are silly Theists who have an overly simple view of God and who think science is nonsense, and silly Atheists who think that philosophy is nonsense and science replaces it. But that does not mean Theism or Atheism is “silly”. But perhaps you mean “silly” in a different way?…I am suspicious that there is an irrational emotional appeal to materialistic Atheism that arises from intuition related to our senses. We have a kind of “horse sense” that tells us that reality is like what we sense it to be, and it makes the idea of some huge transcendent super natural agent with aseity seem “silly”. On the other hand modern science has shown this “horse sense” assessment to only be accurate within a limited scope. As we move to small things at the quantum level and very large things at the cosmic level, it has proven to be less and less useful.

      • Cyrus Mousavi says:

        Yes! What I don’t understand, as a Muslim, is how you can deny proven science. The universe functions under the permission of God, so therefore science is not abandoning nor disrespecting God, because God allows it as a function of the universe.

        • Dick Brown says:

          “…how you can deny proven science”. you can deny everything with evidence. For what i know eveidence for Gods or deities don’t exist. But i might be wrong and you could provide evidence of almighty being.

          • Darryl Nightingale says:

            Cyrus clearly means that one cannot ignore or contradict the weight of scientific evidence about the world. His is exactly the attitude we need from religious believers. Why are you harassing him, Dick?

        • Dan says:

          a very wise and wonderful man who is now gone from us has put it far more elegantly than i could ever hope to so i will use his words…

          “Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

          apart from a book of fairytales there is absolutely zero evidence for any of your gods so they should all simply be dismissed as untrue.

        • First prove that a god is doing anything.

    • Cyrus Mousavi says:

      Depends on what book you are reading. Try the Koran. Those who actually read it realise that it does align with the real world. For example, the big bang was the work of God, but you call it science. Science was created by God! What caused the big bang, tell me! You have no idea. Another atheist argument is “Have you ever seen, touched, felt or smelt God?” Have you ever seen, touched felt or smelt your own brain or evolution? When you show me a monkey turn into a human I will believe you

      • Air says:

        How do you know it’s the work of God? Prove it. We do know what the big bang is, do your research! There is also proof of the brain existing. We can see it in X-rays, you can touch it, smell, it, taste it, you can see it when you bash somebody’s head open, it is a tangible thing. There is proof of it’s existence and we understand how many of the processes in it work. Also, monkeys turning in to humans suddenly is not how evolution works, do your research!

      • Dan says:

        oh you silly simpleton, that is not even close to how evolution works and in fact they have already proven evolution as absolute fact with many modern day examples. this is why atheists are smarter than theists in general, it is not because we may or may not have been born smarter to begin with but we simply do not stop our thinking and throw an imaginary “god” into all the parts we dont yet personally understand.

        • Laughing Monk says:

          Atheists are clearly snider than theists. Being an egotistical A-hole cancels out any gains produced by hyper-rationalism.

          • Dan says:

            no… no it does not…. but thanks for playing along at home…

            you dont talk to a pineapple like you would if you were addressing Dawkins, Hitchens or Einstein? (or maybe you would after all you talk to a non existant thought just as if it was a real thing) well same applies here. you dont like being treated like a moron? quit being a moron… its called logical common sense but i guess you idiot theists are lacking that in the first place.

      • NO it does NOT. I’ve read it and it is absolutely useless.

      • Science was created by MEN. Prove your god created the big bang, go ahead.

  9. Gandalf Olorin says:

    ‘To my knowledge, no amount of research has shown that Atheists are notably smarter than highly religious folks.’

    http://www.anth.uconn.edu/degree_programs/ecolevo/divineintuition.pdf

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120426143856.htm

  10. Terry Chesnut says:

    Correlation is quite low in all the studies with a minimal difference shown. More likely if you look at other factors with higher correlations we see those with more money are less religious as expected as they trust the wealth and think they have no need of God. Those with higher IQ are shown to earn more as expected. If you want to do real science you would have to control for wealth and many other things as variables other wise you risk publishing spurious correlations as proof of nonsense. A good example is increases in the money spent on science correlate with increases in suicide rates at r=0.99789 almost perfect correlation but only a moron would believe spending on science caused suicides. Useless study very bad science by all measures.

  11. Naz says:

    I’m sorry, but all of this data points in favour of the argument that Atheist have a higher IQ on average. In fact, isn’t that exactly what the last graph is showing? However slight the difference may be, the graph does show a very clear trend. It’s so perfect I would be worried it had been made up. Just because each group is classed within average intelligence, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a difference within that range. A really bad analysis from my point of view with very little evaluation. I have genuinely seen a more in-depth conclusions written by my year 7 students.

    • Christopher VanHimbergen says:

      The point of the average IQ range is that anyone taking the IQ test could get anywhere within that range each time. There is a range because I eliminates luck and sheer guessing on the IQ tests. The idea here is that a person would be able to score a 96 the first time, a 100 the next time, and a 98 the third time and be classified as average intelligence. A person who gets a 64 on an IQ test one time, a 62 another time, but a 108 the third time is not considered to have average intelligence. As a matter of fact, I am willing to bet that if the experiment were to be re done with the same number of atheists as theists, the results would reverse with theists being 6 points higher than atheists. Consequently, if the experiment were to be done a third time, the results may be more equal such as theists and atheists both having an average of 100 IQ points. This article definitively proves that there is absolutely no correlation between religiosity and intelligence because there are too many other factors that make it impossible to isolate just these two.

      • Dick Brown says:

        Do you understand that average will be the same?
        Maybe after lot of tests dumb atheists will understand that the earth is 6000 years old. After even more they will say that Earth is flat and unicorns are real.

    • Xiao Dong says:

      Vegetarians who consume dairy also have an i.q. 6-7 points above the average while vegetarians who avoid dairy have an i.q. that is 5-6 points below the average. Does that mean eating animals is stupid? Minor differences cannot be used to ascertain truth.

      • Ray says:

        Wow, that’s one of the dumber arguments I’ve ever read. Where do you place on the IQ scale?

      • Nick Ogburn says:

        You were talking about ascertaining truth. Statistics is about ascertaining correlation. Correlation does not imply causality.
        Rather, it is a foundation.
        It’s a tool that requires subsequent rational thought to properly interpret.

    • anmol13111993 says:

      What if the sample sizes of Atheists and religious people were not the same ? At any rate, if the mean is shifted above the population mean, it means that there is a greater proportion of atheists that would be classified as ‘high intelligence’ (IQ 130+) assuming the variance doesn’t change

      • Nick Ogburn says:

        You were talking about ascertaining truth. Statistics is about ascertaining correlation. Have you never heard that correlation does not imply causality?

    • DЯ. ЯΣΛPΣЯ MΛП TM (Flυσхεитιиε says:

      Religious people actually have very logical minds, the basis that one thing starts another, and that same thing correlates with another is a logical sequence for the brain wether correct or incorrect. Regardless, there are lots of forms of intellect. If you test a fish on how it can fly it’s dumbeen, but if you test it on how it can swim it’s a genius.

      • NuclearBlackMetalKampf says:

        >Religious people actually have very logical minds, the basis that one thing starts another, and that same thing correlates with another is a logical sequence for the brain wether correct or incorrect.

        But how does proving the existence of Plato’s Prime Mover logically prove all the other extraneous, supernatural claims of a religion? Proving that a supernatural creator exist doesn’t prove that all the other claims in the Bible, the Avesta, the Book of Mormon, the Qur’an, the Bhagavad-Gita or the Lotus Sutra are also true.

        • Paul Smith says:

          Belief that there is a creator and proving it are completely different things but presuming that there was one, it clearly moved on and sees this planet as a grain of sand under the sea. It doesn’t care.

    • NuclearBlackMetalKampf says:

      On a related note, Islamic countries like Pakistan have a long tradition of cousin marriage and inbreeding based on the Quranic injunction that cousin marriage is allowable. Not only does this result in Pakistanis and other New Europeans burdening the huwhite Brits’ healthcare system with an extremely high rate of rare (and often lethal) birth defects, inbreeding has a demonstrated negative effect on IQ. The overall mean IQ of Muslim countries is lower than the overall mean of non-Muslim countries–and that’s WITH the inclusion of piss-poor-IQ African countries in the non-Muslim category.

      A high percentage of American atheists are ex-Christians. When I could no longer make myself believe the Southern Baptist dogma I had been taught all my life growing up, it didn’t magically make my verbal or visuospatial ability any better–having a better understanding of reality and a non-supernatural heuristic for making decisions obviously improves decision-making, but does not change intelligence itself. Instead, I suspect that what’s really going on is that high-IQ Americans are more likely to think through to the logical implications of religious doctrine. I was pissed off that God would have me spend eternity with scumbags I hated in heaven, while sending unsaved humanitarians–and intelligent people I liked, like Ayaan Hirsi-Ali and Christopher Hitchens, to be tortured forever.

      Kids don’t suddenly score higher on an IQ test by finding out Santa Claus and the tooth fairy aren’t real. Changing your beliefs doesn’t make your brain’s wiring any different, but there’s clearly an obvious relationship between religious mating practices and the biological effects thereof. Warren Jeff’s FLDS cult had high inbreeding rates. The most fundie, high-RWA religions also have dysgenic breeding practices. Mormons encourage low-IQ Brazilians to have lots of kids.

  12. WreckTom says:

    If only based on averages, the correlation is crystal clear.

  13. Zachary Bower says:

    Except the argument wasn’t that atheists are geniuses on average, just that they have higher IQs. And as others have pointed out, this has been found by a number of studies. I agree that “atheists are inherently smarter” or “atheism makes you smarter” is a myth, but there is a clear thing here, & it is worth understanding.

    Now, this is just my speculation, but I think this is because atheists are regularly expected to refute stereotypes about ourselves & justify our lack of beliefs. It just seems obvious to me, it’s like a student whose parents have really stringent standards about her grades & how often she studies, of course she’s going to score higher than the other kids. It doesn’t mean the other kids are “stupid.”

  14. John says:

    Randy, you are using a range of data that is considered “normal” (90-109) and comparing it to a higher AVERAGE of another piece of data. If you want to compare apples with apples, it is easy to identify that the the AVERAGE of the highly religious would be on the LOW end of normal for atheists. In addition, atheists on the higher end of normal for atheists, would be considered ABOVE average intelligence of those who are religious. This relates to approximately 6 IQ points or 1/3 of atheists who are considered “NORMAL on the atheist scale, would be above average on the religious scale. This is not an insignificant statistic as I am sure you are aware!

  15. Ky says:

    But… You just proved it. I’m so confused. You literally just proved your point. Soooooo… Argument done. Atheist have a higher intelligence. You can argue, “6 points,” but, yea, 6 points.

  16. Shadowbalde says:

    This analysis appears to be not only spurious but also written from a religious apologist perspective.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/religious-people-are-less-intelligent-than-atheists-according-to-analysis-of-scores-of-scientific-8758046.html

    “Atheists are probably more intelligent than religious people because they benefit from many social conditions that happen to be correlated with loss of religious belief.”
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201005/the-real-reason-atheists-have-higher-iqs

  17. Arch Hold says:

    This is one of the shoddiest statistical analyses I’ve seen.

    You brought up the R^2 coefficient when a linear fit through that data is a ridiculous choice, as the trend looks logarithmic even just on inspection.

    You also say that the average IQ of groups in the last chart is not demonstrative because the confidence bound for an INDIVIDUAL is 90-109? The reason the confidence bound for an individual is so wide is to remove the obvious uncertainty of a test on a single person. When you take the average this obviously no longer applies, and a 6 point difference is highly indicative. The chart shows a blatant trend you are trying to ignore for some reason or other.

    Perhaps you’re religious, and have a reason to feel uncomfortable with the data, or perhaps your ability to analyse is evidence against the premise of your article.

    • Cody Townsend says:

      Well considering there are less atheists that number is very insignificant. When you have so many people especially in poor countries who are religious this brings down the religious IQ.

      • Christopher Burgess says:

        You do know that being born in a poor country doesn’t lower your IQ right? Average IQ is caused by evolutionary drift. Average IQ is about 90 to 120 world wide. Not just in first world countries. Your conclusion does not follow. In fact, you can literally draw the opposite conclusion from the data. The fact that there are so few atheists yet at higher IQ levels they outnumber the theists suggests that the correlation between IQ and atheism is overwhelming.

        • Cody Townsend says:

          Lol. Sorry but yes it is caused by evilutionary traits AS well as culture and access to technology and freedom to have differing views etc etc. the correlation is not strong sorry. And the logic behind it fails. It’s a unrealistic self collapsing view point. And the higher IQ is only about 4 points which does nothing to say they are really smarter. It’s to small a messurement.

        • NuclearBlackMetalKampf says:

          See also: the fact that Belarus is much poorer than blacks in the United States, but the Belarusian mean IQ is much closer to the European average of 103 than to the black American average of 85.

    • Alien & Stranger says:

      During my childhood, I had something of a religious bent, being drawn to attend “Sunday School” for children. At school, I was told that I had one of the highest IQs in my school. At university, I drifted into agnosticism under the secular humanist influences there (a factor not mentioned in the study), while I gained qualifications to a post-graduate level. Nearly 2 decades later (to cut a long story short), I had a life-changing supernatural spiritual encounter through which I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I must emphasise that spiritual experiences were not something to which I, as a rationalistic person, was predisposed.
      Some of the highest IQs I’ve encountered and observed are among Jews, Hindus and Muslims.
      As far as I am concerned, atheism is more an issue of the heart and human pride (perhaps in thinking they “know it all”?). Intelligence and wisdom are also not synonymous. I know some highly intelligent people who do some really stupid things.
      I now regard EQ as more important, and many highly intelligent people are sadly lacking in EQ.

      • Diane Moffatt says:

        Anecdote isn’t data.

        • Dragic Cvjetinovic says:

          Anecdotes are life. Statistics is just dead numbers. One does not live by numbers, except if he is a complete psychopath.

          • Aram says:

            Thou shall underestimate numbers, thou shalt not feel your moves!

            (That was a shulk refrences if you got it?)

          • NuclearBlackMetalKampf says:

            >Anecdotes are life. Statistics is just dead numbers.

            Why don’t study results count as anecdotes? Do studies done in real life not count as real life experiences? Did the people who felt the presence of another being when wearing the God Helmet that stimulated that part of the brain not have a real life experience?

            Let’s accept for the sake of argument that your assertion about anecdotes–that only non-study anecdotes count (so the anecdotes of all the people who respond to a study don’t count–after all, we’ve already established that their life experiences are “dead numbers”).

            What, then, about all the people who prayed badly for a supernatural experience (for example, ex-Mormons who never got a “burning in the bosom”) and got nothing? Dan Barker’s life is an anecdote. Matt Dillahunty’s life is an anecdote. Why does the experiences of a small number of people who saw Jesus or the Virgin Mary or Vishnu

            >One does not live by numbers, except if he is a complete psychopath.

            1. [citation needed].

            2. This is shifting the goalposts–your original assertion was that “statistics are just dead numbers” and therefore any methodology that uses said numbers without excluding additional methods is a bad methodology. The goalposts were shifted from “using statistics is bad” to “using ONLY statistics is bad.”

            3. Seeing as we can’t avoid the fact that study respondents have anecdotes just like people who don’t participate in a study, this is a strawman of what statisticians do. Should we discard “dry numbers” in place of one person’s anecdote (while ignoring everyone else’s anecdote contradicting it) when deciding how medically effective homeopathy, snake oil, palm-reading and exorcisms are?

            4. Pure moralistic sophistry. “Sociopaths are bad, you don’t wanna be a sociopath do you? Then accept religious fundie bullshit. Feels > reals.”

        • NuclearBlackMetalKampf says:

          Exactly.

          For that matter, why does one anecdote–at best, a single data point–override all the other data points that contradict it? What about all the atheists who never had a supernatural experience? What about all the atheists who grew up religious and desperately wanted a supernatural experience so they could maintain their beliefs, and didn’t get a damn thing?

    • Draco2023 says:

      Or perhaps you are an atheist who’s ego cannot handle it when your “superior intellect” is challenged. The fact is that several studies have shown there is little correlation between intelligence and religion.

      Here’s a bubble buster for you.
      After receiving a near perfect score on the ASVAB in high school, I was further tested and found to have an I.Q. of 137 (currently 134 at age 48).

      I have been Christian all my life

      • Jan Rognstrand says:

        That is Amazing! An IQ 134 person that thinks that “I am smart, and I am a Christian” is an argument in this discussion.

        • Darkwing Duck says:

          I must admit, the fact that a supposed 134 thinks her sole existence invalidates a study based on averages makes me question the validity and pertinence of most IQ tests. Seems Draco just likes telling everyone how superior he/she is to the norm.

          Should IQ tests even still be counted on in the internet age? You can literally go train yourself to take one now. There’s a reason they say you can’t do it twice, even with different questions… knowing what’s coming is a stat-skewering advantage.

        • Draco2023 says:

          Hardly the point..The point is that judging people based on their religious beliefs (or lack of) is closed minded, ignorant and bigoted.
          Anyone who judges someone based on race, religion, nationality of social status more often than not, has the intellectual capacity of a door knob.

      • Diane Moffatt says:

        I have a similar IQ and am now an Athiest – nothing to do with bubbles.

    • lokitoth says:

      r^2 is just a measure poorness of fit. It can be done with any fitting technique, not just linear regression.

      http://mathworld.wolfram.com/LeastSquaresFittingLogarithmic.html

      Confidence bound only exists in the context of a mean and speaks about population mean. To claim that it no longer applies when taking “the average” is nonsense.

      The chart in question shows a trend within the error bounds of the mean. It’s a meaningless trend unless they can more confidently state that the true mean of the population is in a smaller interval because the entire trend is in the bounds of the interval of the population mean.

      • John Geard says:

        The most intelligent and unbiased comment here.

        If they wanted a demonstrable comparison, they would compare European Christians with European Atheists in the Western English-speaking world. There’s a reason they didn’t. The obfuscation is intentional.

      • NuclearBlackMetalKampf says:

        >As well, IQ tends to correlate positively with questioning established beliefs. Given that for a decent chunk of the world, due to religious upbringing the default is religiosity, that could explain the apparent correlation.

        Exactly. You said it better than I did. It’s not that being an atheist gives you magical intelligence superpowers or otherwise changes your biology. Most atheists in the United States–and certainly most atheists in Muslim countries–were raised with religious beliefs. The intelligent people were able to eventually realize “hey, this is bullshit. It logically contradicts itself.”

  18. Harry says:

    The fact is you have to be pretty stupid to disregard proveable scientific theories and instead believe everything was created by an unproven man in the sky. There will be intelligent religious people, and unintelligent athiests, but on the whole, athiests are going to smarter

    • C K says:

      You clearly don’t belong to those smarter atheists, as you don’t even seem to know, how to spell “atheist” correctly, and the grammar of your sentence is likewise incorrect. I guess you meant to say that “atheists are going to BE smarter ” ??

  19. Valdemar says:

    Normaly 6 points is nothing but sines so many People were in this Examination it actually meens that atheist are more intellegent

    I used to belive until the day i realisted how absurd it Was

  20. vitalstatistic63 says:

    This writeup seems like the work of someone trying to massage their findings to suit their beliefs.

    In the IQ vs Intelligence graph, I can see a clear pattern that supports higher intelligence athiests. Sure there are data points that jump away from the curve, but the overalll trend surely shows the link.

    Then the OP shows a graph of IQ vs Wealth which also seems to show a trend increasing in synch, but with a general fog of data points all over the place. But this data is somehow more acceptable than the earlier graph.

    Then the third chart once again shows a clear correlation between IQ and Atheism in individuals rather than nations, and this is dismissed due to the general belief that a range of scores are considered as average in a population sample. Well what a load of bollocks. The trend is still there, regardless of what is considered average. And let’s not forget that the data making up those averages is taken from a large population sample each with individual scores that are not shown but may vary by a large degree from the average result shown.

    These statistics cannot be dismissed on the whim of someone with a preconceived idea of what the results will show, as seems to be the case here.

    Further, why does Randal S. Olson require me to verify my email address before posting? I’ve already had to loging via my Disquss account or by Facebook. Is their account validation process not up to your standards Randall S. Olson? You sound like a bit of a wanker to be honest.

  21. vitalstatistic63 says:

    This writeup seems like the work of someone trying to massage their findings to suit their beliefs.

    In the IQ vs Intelligence graph, I can see a clear pattern that supports higher intelligence athiests. Sure there are data points that jump away from the curve, but the overalll trend surely shows the link.

    Then the OP shows a graph of IQ vs Wealth which also seems to show a trend increasing in synch, but with a general fog of data points all over the place. But this data is somehow more acceptable than the earlier graph.

    Then the third chart once again shows a clear correlation between IQ and Atheism in individuals rather than nations, and this is dismissed due to the general belief that a range of scores are considered as average in a population sample. Well what a load of bollocks. The trend is still there, regardless of what is considered average. And let’s not forget that the data making up those averages is taken from a large population sample each with individual scores that are not shown but may vary by a large degree from the average result shown.

    These statistics cannot be dismissed on the whim of someone with a preconceived idea of what the results will show, as seems to be the case here.

    Further, why does Randal S. Olson require me to verify my email address before posting? I’ve already had to loging via my Disquss account or by Facebook. Is their account validation process not up to your standards Randall S. Olson?

    • Dan says:

      “This writeup seems like the work of someone trying to massage their findings to suit their beliefs.”

      you do realise that is exactly what/how the bible teaches? they never follow the bible as a whole (when was the last time you heard a of christian rape victim who refused to marry her rapist get stoned to death or christians protesting outside a seafood restaurant?) no, they get a feeling then they look back to their bibles for a way to justify that thought or feeling.

      they also use it as a way to back up their hate and bigotry in the same sort of way.

  22. Christopher Smith says:

    Who exactly is grasping at straws here?

    You write:

    That led me (and others who have reviewed the topic) to wonder whether the wealth of a nation better predicts the average intelligence of its citizens.

    It might, however this is a red herring. There are multiple factors that correlate with intelligence. The point under debate is whether religious belief does. Your attempt to cancel out the less intelligent believers due to other unrelated possible correlations is entirely ad hoc for this very reason. In short, all you have done is wipe out the less intelligent believers from the list and then announced that this removed the significant difference. No kidding!

    You commit the same willful torture of statistics with your final point regarding a difference of 97 to 103 in points in another study: “Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent.” Here, your misdeeds are equally clear: you purposely mix together two different measures of significant difference. Yes, a 6 point deviation may not be significant when measuring overall IQ , but it IS significant when measuring for a correlation in a population!

    Others here see the same problems. Your bias is showing.

  23. andy_the_bear says:

    I do not think dividing people into “religious” and “atheist” makes much sense. Not all religions are the same, nor have the same plausibility. As an overly simple example imagine there were three world religions, A, B, and C, and also Atheism. We therefore have four different sets of doctrines about reality. Moreover let us say that the doctrines of religion A are always chosen by the smartest and wisest among us. Let us say crude and selfish people always choose religion B and go out spreading it through conquest and blood shed. Let us say that people who are in a particular kind of culture strong in ancient traditions have huge social reasons for staying with religion C. And let us say that some people for various reasons when living in a libertarian society with freedom of thought created by religion A become Atheists. Its quite plausible you would end up with the kind of data these studies have.

  24. Jonathan says:

    We don’t need any more propaganda in support of people who worship fiction as uber-fact. The author likely doesn’t know the difference between an atheist and someone who says “I’m an atheist”. It’s time to put to rest the myth that subscribing to popular fictitious dogma (which can only begin with a repudiation of honesty and skepticism) isn’t the direct result of a mental defect, and intolerance to nature, intellect, individuality, and autonomy.

  25. Veronika Smith says:

    They MAY have higher IQs, but have extreme lack of EQ, which, as the mountain of evidence shows, leads to a very high correlation between atheism and depression and suicide. Even atheists admit this: http://www.skepticink.com/dangeroustalk/2012/10/11/atheism-has-a-suicide-problem/

  26. Simon says:

    Blogging 101, folks: you pick a controversial or popular topic and write about it. No matter the quality of your writing/analysis, scores of people will hopefully flock to your blog to offer their two cents worth. It’s all about getting that almighty traffic.

    His article has accomplished its purpose, although believers certainly shouldn’t feel any better about being delusional.

  27. Gregory Carvajal says:

    Correlation, but not causation.

  28. Nick Ogburn says:

    No matter the topic, you should be ashamed of yourself for presenting such a poor interpretation of statistics.

    A difference of six I Q points has a very significant p value for the given n. Compound that with the apparent inability to conceive of any regression other than a linear regression, you make a fool of yourself here.

    A benefit of a doubt would be that you try to dumb this down for people unfamiliar with statistics, and skewed it toward your own beliefs.
    Without the benefit of the doubt, you bring shame to whatever institution granted you a doctorate, as well as whatever institution now employes you.

    • Nick Ogburn says:

      Correction: is significant at a very convincing p value.

    • NuclearBlackMetalKampf says:

      For example, the IQ gap between Europeans (103) and Northeast Asians (106) is half the IQ gap cited here, and that 3-point difference has massive implications.

  29. aiyakapteya ichimani says:

    Why does this analysis include only two studies? Isn’t it a little premature to conclude that “no amount of research has shown” anything when only two studies are considered? There are many more out there. The 2013 Zuckerman analysis included 63 and more have been published since.

  30. Cyrus Mousavi says:

    Atheists are not smarter than religious people. Think about it. They say they have never seen God. They’ve also never seen evolution. What about pain? If I slap someone across the face, and he says that was painful, an atheist argument would be “I don’t see the pain so it’s non existent.”

    • Randy Olson says:

      Small correction: Plenty of people have seen evolution occurring.

      • Cyrus Mousavi says:

        Do you mind showing me two monkeys give birth to a human?

        • Air says:

          That is not how evolution works. Evolution occurs with very subtle mutations happening over the course of millions of years and several, several generations. Dominant traits in things are emphasized while traits that are detrimental to the survival of a species are slowly flushed out. Evolution is observed every day. Your cells constantly evolve, there is irrefutable proof of evolution, we have even made other things evolve to make our own. Household cats and dogs to make our pets, fat chickens for consumption, and we have even domesticated bananas to let us eat them. Do your research!

        • Don Endsley says:

          Cyrus, “….showing me two monkeys give birth to a human?”
          I would be so embarrassed to ask a question like that.
          How can you ask that? Were you really serious?
          Surely you are not that ignorant. Tell me you were joking.

          • Dan says:

            sadly these people are being honest and do genuinely believe this is what evolution means. it is because their minds are polluted with religion. religion is like a full stop in the road of learning. any time something gets confusing or they cant or dont want to understand it they throw a magical sky fairy into the story so they can put their minds at ease and quit thinking about it.

            i dont believe atheists are born any smarter than theists we simply stop throwing imaginary gods into our thinking so inevitably become more intelligent.

        • Dick Brown says:

          People with mobile phones are not born from people with swords. Google “stone age tools”. Also look how animal kingdom is classified dumb mammal.

    • Dick Brown says:

      “They’ve also never seen evolution.” We also did not seen oxygen but there is evidence. Also there are evidence of evolution in DNA, fossils and etc. Ever heard of DNA tests? Why do you think scientists test medicine on rats and then on monkeys, but not on frogs or mud?

  31. SuperLogic says:

    Not sure what they were basing their intelligence measures on in this particular test, but I have seen some of the others where the questions and answers were biased for “correct” answers which would favor a secular or non-religious view. ie Homosexuality is something you are born with, T or F? Most of these tests are attempting to prove one view over another, so the results should be viewed with skepticism.

  32. Marvin says:

    Dr Olson
    Considering that average income and % atheists show the same correlation is there anyone who has stratified the data for wealth? Considering the saying that it is easier for a camel… I would think it natural to consider a negative correlation between materialism and religiosity. Be also have to be careful about averages here as wealth does not average that well. There must be someone out there who understands data stratification or be all believe in the storks delivering babies again

    • Marvin says:

      on another note, how would that chart look like if you looked at median instead of mean per capita income. Allways wondered which idiot takes an average for non normally distributed data. How do they teach statistics to economists?

  33. Dick Brown says:

    Most of scientists (*real) are not religious.
    Religion is belief in something without evidence.
    “Yesterday i walked on water and performed other miracles”.

    Do you need proof or maybe you can disprove this?
    97 is below 100. 103 is above, but this is average, not just one person.
    BTW Do you think that those who are religious countries could become wealthy?
    If you are religious, then you don’t have your own opinion.
    P.S Adam + Eve = Cheng?

  34. Diane Moffatt says:

    Just out of interest – before all the rabid Christians get all excited by this – to count as religious in this survey the people surveyed weren’t all Christian.

  35. Giorgos Christian says:

    i read the comments here and was tempted to reply to a hew but here are some stickers instead, they sum up typical atheism

  36. Arunex says:

    “Conclusion: no amount of research has shown that Atheists are notably smarter than highly religious folks”… but you just showed it… You literally just showed how atheists have above average IQ… in your own argument… ಠ_ಠ

  37. lina kamergi says:

    Yeah eistein was religious

  38. Cassidy says:

    I’d like to see this Christian do a study with those with an IQ over 130. I bet every single one is NOT religious. Not all atheists have above average intelligence. But I bet the vast majority of those with above average intelligence aren’t religious. The truth hurts. Christianity is one of the more fantastical religions. It’s a refuge for the stupid.

    • rscott says:

      Totally agree. Read any religious drivel and you quickly realise only an idiot would blindly believe it.

  39. Jack Wood says:

    The education system tries to teach the scientific method whilst not giving as much leeway/emphasis to personal belief for the interpretation of reality. Higher levels of education are listed as possible reason for the Flynn effect (the increase in IQ scores of educated populations).

    My justification of the data in the article would be that when a culture puts more emphasis on the scientific method over instinct and personal experience (as in higher IQ and more educated societies) they’re more likely to come to the conclusion that there is no god than if the cultural focus were on instinct and personal experience (as is the trend with lower IQ and less educated societies) because at the end of the day whether there is or isn’t a god, there is arguably no or very little physical evidence for there being one. So having a cultural focus on evidence rather than instinct naturally means there will be more people who will be atheist.

    Then for the second data my justification would be that within more educated cultures atheism naturally goes hand in hand with a focus on education. If there’s no god or emphasis on love/feelings/community in a persons life as is specifically encouraged by religion, other things are needed to fill the time and attention of the atheist so they have more focus and motivation for education over semantics. The increased focus on education being a possible reason for the Flynn effect means that atheists may do better on IQ tests (and in academia) than they ‘should’ and so they appear more intelligent than theists when in actuality the playing field is more even.

  40. Leroux says:

    THE ORIGINAL RESEARCH IS RUBISH. The most obvious example is the country resting next to the top: China [IQ 105]. Also resting very low in disbelief, high on religiosity! Well does this have ANYTHING to do with reality? We already know that Chinese culture is on TOP worldwide in metrics of materialism, normally expected after years of communism and banned religion. Also the Chinese culture doesn’t teach leadership or innovation. So IQ scores (I suspect conducted under the supervision of Chinese communist party ) even if true, are just measurements of “robotic thinking” irrelevant of leadership and pro-social behaviour. In contrast to China ( IQ 105) we see Germany with IQ 99. What kind of measurement compares oranges with apples this way? The original article states, and I quote ““we must make do with the imperfect evidence that we can find, not merely lament its deficiencies.”. Well that’s new! We should not “lament” we should not “complain” we should not “grief” for the obvious discrepancies of the fundamentally corrupted data!!!

    Now what exactly “disbelief in God” or “belief in God” means? The Lynn research quotes previous research stating ““intelligent students are much less likely to accept orthodox beliefs”. Well yea! Go figure! That’s how even religious thinking evolves and that’s normal. Was Jesus an atheist because he didn’t accept the “orthodoxy” of his time? Even Martin Luther King was preaching some of his own “unorthodox” views! Of course new generations try to find new meanings in their religiosity. So what?!

    THE STUPIDITY OF THE CURRENT MEASUREMENT OF RELIGIOSITY. Apply exactly the same metrics to any jail. You will not find a lot of atheists and you may conveniently conclude with certainty: “christian thinking is connected with crime”. And then hit the news! Christians do crimes because they are reading the hateful teachings of Jesus!

    There is a silent game here. You are what you say you are and many researchers “pretend” they don’t understand the difference between “true belief” and “theatrical belief” (pretending, hypocritical). Clever people lie in a more clever way and less IQ people lie in a more primitive way. Stating “I believe” in a research or even going to church what does it prove scientifically? Particularly when you compare oranges with apples, Chinese people with Germans? Catholics with Hindus? Did Jesus attend the “church” of his time? Was Luther accepting the “orthodoxy” of his time?

    HYPOCRITES. Atheists don’t believe there is a single God out there, not even as an intuitive concept. They say “the god of christians, the god of muslims” as just a myth. And then they show us a research comparing the acceptance of “the god” comparing cultures like US, Germany, China and India! Only less than 3% show disbelief of god in India! So finally the Hindus believe in the same God the Germans do? My dear atheists elaborate us on the subject! This isn’t the first mental gymnastics by atheistic literature when they want to “prove” their biases, they just change their pretend game.

    NARCISSISM. It’s true that atheism is a product of intellectuality. It’s also proven that anti-theistic atheism is typical of NPD (narcissistic personality disorder). The Lunn research mentions the question “I think that people who pray are stupid” which obvious leans to the anti-theistic narcissistic belief presented as just “atheism”. We can feel atheistic narcissism and the sense of elitism as evidence everywhere (even in this blog comments). It is also true that through the years organisations like the Royal Society in Britain have become atheistic clubs (and narcissistic clubs I may add). We don’t need a lot of research to prove that political, banking and academic interests today are spinning around atheism. Even the founder of Scientific Method (Francis Bacon) predicted that in 17th century. He condemned atheism that is a product arriving from this new scientific views combined with little philosophy. Because real philosophy (according to Bacon) lead scientists back to religion.

    And for all those who believe this global research as their “rational guide” to atheism, they’re missing the point. Anglicans show the greatest IQ! What do we conclude [scientifically] about that? God save the Queen!?

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2008/dec/19/religion-iq-atheism

  41. DЯ. ЯΣΛPΣЯ MΛП TM (Flυσхεитιиε says:

    Due to the nature of the human mind we will find many butt hurt atheists on this article, which says atheists are not more intelligent, and many butt hurt religious people on other articals, ones which say that atheists are more intelligent, because we sure do like to be accept evidence that proves our own points. Regardless, IQ isn’t an effective, nor fair way of measureing intelligence anyway, which is something any compitant atheist should already know, so the entire study is practically obsolete now.

  42. Shona Graham says:

    Thank you for denouncing the modern eugenics obsession of atheism and liberal left. As somebody who considers themselves left leaning I am ashamed of what shallow bigoted narcissists they have become and quite frankly academia deserves its funding withdrawn until it like the left starts to take its head out of its arse and grasp its own biases, bullshit and narcissism. We have unscientific science because we have to many ‘scientists’, ‘psychologists’ etc publishing papers which because of the numbers involved CANNOT be peer reviewed. We have scientists wanting to destroy science by claiming you don’t have to learn Newtonian physics, Bohr’s model of an atom or anything else to be scientifically literate you merely have to have the same religious outlook. Atheist scientists are peddling as much scientific bullshit as creationists.

  43. Sel says:

    The truth might be approached by research on Wisdom vs. IQ and Wisdom vs Religion. The rest is fool’s gold.

  44. Randy, are you religious by any chance?

  45. The Count says:

    Thanks Randal for sharing your thoughts/data, but in my own experience, and many others who I have spoken with, I have never, ever met a highly intelligent person who was also devoutly religious. I don’t know if you can accept and believe that there is a wish-granting wizard fairy in the sky with a magical kingdom for all believers, and at the same time be an intelligent person. But I understand that the vast majority of humans are not very bright. Only a handful of people in history have actually delivered us here with the incredible tech and understanding we have now to share. It makes sense that for the majority, simple answers are best for simple minds. How? God did it. He has magic like Gandalf. When? 6000 years ago when dinosaurs and humans lived together in harmony.

  46. Paul Smith says:

    It is not relevant whether atheists are smarter than religionists. Atheists simply have an additional set of data points on a given subject from which to make a more informed decision .