back to article God makes you stupid, researchers claim

A psychology researcher has controversially claimed that stupidity is causally linked to how likely people are to believe in God. University of Ulster professor Richard Lynn will draw the conclusion in new research due to be published in the journal Intelligence, the Times Higher Education Supplement reports. Lynn and his two …

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  1. Dominic Kua
    Thumb Up

    You owe me one monitor

    Mine's covered in tea, excellent title!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    My point since 1985...

    ... now how do you get it into their thick skulls?

  3. Ferry Boat

    Have your cake and eat it

    I thought I read this in Our Lord Dawkins' Book, 'Why I Am Better Than Everyone Else and God Don't Exist At All'.

    Hang on, what about if god made the clever people clever so they wouldn't believe in him and see all his faults? He only wants thick people to believe in him because they won't question him. I suspect he's insecure at heart. Poor thing, when I get to heaven I'll give him a hug.

  4. Chris
    Pirate

    Religion teaches a lack of critical thinking.

    Lesson 1: don't eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge.

  5. oliver Stieber
    Gates Halo

    from my expreiance of religious people.

    They do all seem to be stupid, typically quoting near nonsence theories from the new scientist to back up their beliefs with the possibility of doubt in there not being a god. (well the ones who actually are religious not the ones who go to church because it's something they've always done and it's a bit of a social on a Sunday)

    Mines bill with a halo, because we all know angles don't exist.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Boffins prove boffinry does not improve statistical ability.

    "Similarly, as average IQ in Western societies increased throught the 20th century, so did rates of atheism, he said."

    The average IQ is by definition 100.

    How did they manage to measure an increase in 100?

    Regardless, their statistical correlation between the rise in average *intelligence* (not IQ) and in western Europe suffers under the same problems as climate modelling: our sample set is one. One world, one climate; one Europe, one population. Do they have any data showing the converse of this, ie that increasing religiousness in Western Europe correlates with decreasing intelligence?

    This is not statistically significant data!

    It is pretty obvious that human beings will show more intelligence as human knowledge and schooling increase and improve. Anything that occurs at the same time as this may be a) related or b) coincidental. We do not have anywhere near enough data to prove either of these.

    Statistics for Dummies is available in all good bookshops on the High Street and on-line.

    (And they say it's religion that makes people stupid.)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Ooooh Boy! This should be interesting

    This is an atomic bomb of a publication and no mistake.

    Reading between the lines, it brings up the interesting hypothesis of cultural inteligence.

    Does this mean that cultures that believe in God (or similar deity) are nationally less intelligent than those that have a more broader view on the ultimate reality that is to come to us all.

    I can't wait to see how this is going to stand with the Muslims, jewish and christian societies of the world.

    I would not want to be in the shoes of whoever thought out this brilliant Manhatten project mark 2.

  8. James
    Unhappy

    Being a psycologist makes you stupid...

    "Similarly, as average IQ in Western societies increased throught the 20th century..."

    IQ is defined such that the average IQ is always 100. If your IQ is 150, you have 150% the intelligence of an average bod. If your IQ is 50, you have half the intelligence of an average bod (of the same age).

    By definition, the average IQ is 100. It can't increase.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Not wanting to be offensive...

    But LOL.

    I can just picture thearguments...

    Person of Religeous Belief (PRB) : "But I belive in God"

    Athiest Acedemic of Intellegence (AAI) : "Yes, thats because you are too stupid"

    PRB : "I am not stupid, God damn it!!!!"

    AAI : "Research shows otherwise. If you were less stupid you would have less faith"

    PRB : "Go to Hell"

    AAI : " Sorry no such place."

  10. Panos
    Boffin

    Academics have higher IQ?

    Maybe they do, but they are also some of the most socially inept people as well. So how is that linked to religion then?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Stupidity makes you get headlines backwards

    They said stupidity makes you believe in god, not belief in god makes you stupid.

  12. Paul Buxton

    Isn't this obvious?

    You've only got to look at the slogan on a US dollar to prove this.

    I can actually argue a very good case for the existence of God, however, I choose not to because even though I can argue a case for His existence I really don't believe it. Believers therefore have no chance with attempts to convert me because their arguments are always flawed and easily dismissed. Anyone who can make a cohesive argument for the existence of God is usually playing Devil's Advocate (ooh, the irony) or getting paid for it. I have found no exceptions to this.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    God preserve us !

    From Psychologists hell-bent on proving their field isn't a science at all.

  14. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Paris Hilton

    The Human mind needs to have an answer.

    Most of us humans just don't like to have unanswered questions, and god is a very easy answer.

    As we discover scientific answers to these questions, the religeous answer becomes less appealing.

    paris... because its me.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bah

    It would be far more useful if they could show that IQ was actually a good indicator of intelligence (or in fact that it had any relation at all to intelligence). Then they might actually be able to make some form of conclusion...

  16. combatwombat
    Paris Hilton

    D'oh!

    So does that mean that me and my 148 IQ gotta stop talking wid God?

    Gimme a break. "academics" will say anything to get there 15 minutes of fame.

    Paris icon, cos' that's the closest most of these academics will get to seeing a real human being.

  17. Paul Smith
    Alien

    truth

    And they got paid for that research? Mind you, you got paid for that headline so we can't complain too much.

    There are two forms or types of knowledge, recieved and percieved. Recieved knowledge is stuff you believe to be true because you trust the person who told you. Percieved knowledge is stuff you believe to be true because you have worked it out for yourself.

    As a child, almost all your knowledge is recieved. When your parent told you not to put your finger in the flame because it would burn, you accepted that as the truth. You also accepted as the truth what you were told about God, the tooth fairy and santa clause. When you put your finger in the flame, as all children do, you burnt your finger. That knowledge had gone from recieved to percieved. But when you began to doubt santa and the tooth fairy, wether due to a questioning mind, peer pressure or your parents telling you etc., then you naturally started to doubt all the similar stuff you had been told. In times past, your belief in God would have been supported and reinforced by your society, (if everyone around you believes something, it is hard to say they are all wrong!) but in the modern (western) world, with so much contact with other religions and none, this lack of support makes anybody with a questioning mind reconsider their beliefs. This is not a factor of intelligence except in so far as a more intelligent person is more likely to have a questioning mind. The more intelligent person is also more likely to answer a question in a way that reduces potential embaressment. In other words, many acedemics will say they are not believers to avoid ridicule from their peers, regardless of what they actually believe.

  18. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Flame

    Intuition

    As any good scientist knows, ignore your intuition at your peril. I ignored my instict to leave the motorway a junction early last week and got stuck in a jam for 3 hours.

    Anyway, did anyone run this past Einstein?

    Perhaps if children believe in God and only convert to atheism later on (the high IQ ones at any rate) doesn't that just mean a high IQ means you're easier to brainwash? Seems about as plausable as the kind causal relationship they are spouting here.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps a tad reckless?

    Announcing a paper that demonstrates that Muslim fundamentalists are stupid..

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Why is it?

    Then why is that every atheist I have ever met has been a very low IQ prat that pretends to know everything?

    I will say though that I have met some pretty stupid believers

  21. Knowledge
    Black Helicopters

    Science Vs Religion

    Scientific academics don't believe in God because they are much more likely (due to years of training) to be strictly 'seeing is believing' - thats how science works.

    Anthropological academics have a broad knowledge of many cultures whose definitions of 'God' greatly vary, making the academic less likely to believe any one God story.

    Anyone with an understanding of both disciplines knows that what religious types call 'God' and what boffins call 'Energy' have more or less the same desription, and therefore believe the God story was born of misunderstanding.

    As was once said to describe organised religion:

    "scary language designed to control primitive peoples"

    nuff said.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title

    I don't want to knock the conclusion as I've long thought this was the case, but the researchers don't do themselves any favours with the phrase: "as average IQ in Western societies increased throught the 20th century, so did rates of atheism". So did reports of a number of things, like brain tumours, rape, and (if you believe the hype) acts of terrorism. Surely they're not all connected to increasing intelligence?

    I'm sure the paper (haven't read it) is more scientific with its analysis, but that phrase just reinforces why scientists (of which I am one) need to be taught how to communicate, the media need to be taught how to listen, and the general public need to be taught how to be critical.

  23. Dark
    Pirate

    EH?

    What complete Bollocks!

    Most of the erudite people the world has known have beleived in some form of Devine Entity.

    The link between belief in God and IQ has no scientific merit at all - just opinion.

  24. Maurice Shakeshaft

    Interesting article but...

    I understood that "IQ" was not that good a measure of "intelligence" - whatever that may be taken to mean.

    There are, and have been, some very bright and humane "god-botherers" but I'd suggest that it's a bit strong to link intelligence and god-bothering either way.

    "Intelligence" and "Bigotry" I suspect are, however, inversely linked.

    Mines the kevlar lined jacket made from Flame retardant materials.

  25. Dan Price
    Paris Hilton

    Go figure.

    What, having a higher IQ makes you more likely to question what you're taught? I'd never have guessed. In other news, Dog bites cat, toast lands buttered side down.

    Paris, because... well, yeah.

  26. Elmer Phud
    Coat

    I had always wondered . . .

    . . .what was going on with 'intelligent design', it really is an oxymoron after all.

    mine's the one with many colours

  27. James Silver badge

    Anyone else miss cake club?

    Didn't Einstein say God does not play dice with the universe? I wonder what he would say about this research. I'd be interested to know if the researchers looked into the backgrounds of their subjects to see if there could be other causal factors such as wealth.

    Skeptical about skeptics.

  28. Andrew Oakley
    Alien

    Humpty Dumpty's God

    When they asked the queston "do you believe in God?" did anyone stop to ask which definition of God they meant?

    Some Anglicans will accept definitions as loose as "God is a metaphor for emergent patterns of human behaviour which benefit society as a whole". Do I, with an IQ of 175, believe in God according to that definition? Yes. Do I believe that extraterrestrial intelligence has ever been in contact with humans? No. Do I believe that a giant Europid man sporting a white beard and wearing a white robe lives in the clouds and throws thunderbolts at sinners? No.

  29. Ron Enderland
    Coat

    Yeah, you've probably heard this one

    "God is dead" -- Nietzsche

    "Nietzsche is dead" -- God

    Mine's the one with the manna in the pocket

  30. ImaGnuber

    Bun Fight

    If the University of Ulster has a theological department you might want to stay away from the cafeteria for a while.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    And scientologists are dumbest of all....

    Coat please quick, before they catch me here..

  32. Hywel Thomas

    atheism and cake ?

    Is there a causal link ?

  33. Ru
    Thumb Down

    God lowers your IQ?

    Clearly, doing weird little abstract image puzzles and word association games is an abomination in the eyes of the lord.

    Next research topic: why do people think IQs are a useful metric for anything other than doing weird little abstract image puzzles and word association games?

  34. Richard Barnes

    Correlation vs Causation (part 94)

    The Times Higher Education article states that the researcher posits a *correlation* between intelligence and belief, not a *causative* relationship.

    There's a world of difference between the two & it's surprising how often journalists from the Register and elsewhere confuse one with the other.

  35. Ashley
    Go

    Title wrong?

    Shouldn't the title be "You being stupid makes god"?

  36. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Messages from AI Seventh Heaven .... Global Communications HQ

    "Nonetheless, there is evidence from other domains that higher levels of intelligence are associated with a greater ability - or perhaps willingness - to question and overturn strongly felt intuitions."

    I imagine that to be Greater Consciousness for Enlightened and Enlightening Views/Sees.

    <Spin Run>

  37. Ben Ash
    Alien

    Dawkins

    Dawkins highlighted this relationship yonks ago - it's nothing new.

  38. James
    Boffin

    oxymorons

    "as average IQ in Western societies increased throught the 20th century"?!!

    Ah yes, that's why all the kids are getting 'A's at A-level & going to university these days. Unfortunately they had to sacrifice the part of the brain that deals with spelling, grammar & pronunciation to gain all that extra intelligence.

    Clearly nobody now believes in astrology, crystals, homeopathy or bad-things-that-happen-living-next-to-mobile-phone-masts.

    When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing; they believe in anything.

    BTW man does not get fat by cake alone. But it sure helps!

  39. Jaster
    Paris Hilton

    High Intelligence makes you question

    People with High intelligence tend to question things ... including religion, the existence of God etc ... some of them conclude that God exists many don't ....

    Most people believe because they were brought up to believe and have never questioned it...

  40. Frank
    Joke

    @ Olivre re. angles

    "because we all know angles don't exist."

    The world is full of angles, of all sizes. For some reason my house has lots of right angles in it. I can send you pictures to prove it if you like.

  41. Steve

    Decline in number of pirates causes world population to increase

    "Similarly, as average IQ in Western societies increased throughout the 20th century, so did rates of atheism, he said."

    Two trends (the number of pirates and global population, or IQ and religious believe) doesn't necessarily imply any link at all, never mind causation.

    He might have a point, intelligent people in my experience are less likely to believe all sorts of fairy tales, but his research methodology sounds a bit simplistic.

    PS - average IQ is adjusted to 100, but it's possible to get the unadjusted figures to compare the change in ability to perform IQ tests (not necessarily much to do with intelligence) over time.

  42. Stewart
    Coat

    I think

    Cogito ergo Deus absconditus

  43. James Whale
    Happy

    Fear and comfort

    The most pressing problem for faith is that it's all about comfort. Unquestioning belief in something one can neither know nor prove is driven by fear - fear of being alone out here in the universe - cold, unloved and worst of all, finite. Life's end terrifies us on a genetic, mechanistic level. Hard-wired to survive at almost any cost, it becomes apparent that, ironically enough, religious belief might be a purely Darwinistic response to the prospect of death.

  44. Edward Rose

    Erm, I might have to agree to a point

    The bible (to my knowledge) teaches people to believe without questioning.

    People with higher IQs are them wot like ask questions and learn you know.

    Asking questions and seeking answers does seem to go against what I was always taught in RE classes.

    So, the link would seem logical, not based on how intelligent a person is, but how likely they are to seek answers as to how why, etc. (Obviously from this, the wanting knowledge leads to both intelligence, and a lack of acceptance based on faith).

    Mind you, that's just my opinion, sure there will be many contradicting it, all worth considering.

  45. Sooty

    Direct causal link?

    Even if every person who believed in god had a worse IQ than a glass of water, you still couldn't infer that believeing in God caused their low IQ, only that people with a low IQ are more likely to believe in God! (G W Bush anyone?)

  46. James Anderson Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Nonsense.

    Thety are trying to insuate that only stupid people would have thier whole lives governed by books of dubious authorship written over a thousand years ago.

    I think religiosity is the mark of a superior, more intellegent sort of person. If you agree (and I am sure a highly moral and superiour being like yourself would) then please pledge one tenth of you income to the Reformed Orthodox Church of the Bretheren of the Latter Day Sons of Khan and help us spread truth and rightiousness throughout the world.

    Please send an email for details or visit our headquarters at "Paddy's Pub", 13 HochStrasse, Lichentstien and join us in the sacred ritual of Red Bull and Absolute slammers (may it always be your round!).

  47. Jim T

    I still like the integral model

    And other models, like spiral dynamics, that see individual people developing through stages. As people develop, God takes on different forms, a personal God that's out there and looking down is actually one of the lower levels, but the higher levels aren't too well populated yet ...

    Higher levels require higher intelligence (well, cognition, almost but not quite the same), but higher intelligence alone isn't enough.

    Not sure how much there is to it, but it sounds good.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Amen that.

    People who truly believe in God are no more childish or stupid than people who truly believe in Santa Claus. The (apparent) fact that a majority of people around the world are still believing in some gods is a good indicator of how "intelligent" the human race is. Fortunately, however, we might be getting better as atheism and freethinking are slowly but surely gaining popularity.

  49. Yogi
    Go

    No link here between IQ and belief in God...no matter how hard you try!

    1st Corinthians 1:23

    "but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles"

    The good book said it first - no link between human intelligence and belief in the Almighty. And in fact, the harder to try to find God by your own ideas, the more likely you are to fail.

    No qualifications are required for entry to Hell..

  50. Funky Dennis
    Stop

    Correlation does not imply causation

    Across European countries there is a correlation between the number of abortions performed and the number of condoms sold.

    Across European countries there is a correlation between the number of abortions performed and the number of lollipops sold.

    The hidden variable is population size -- bigger countries have bigger populations, a higher number of abortions and higher lollipop sales.

    I haven't read the original research article, so I did know if he really did assert a _causal_ relationship (which way?) or just a correlation.

    Either way I don't like people who aren't willing to question their beliefs, religious or otherwise.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Being a boffin results in lack of common sesne

    I've dealt with some highly qualified (up to and including Professors) who lack comon sense so I'd rather be a semi thick, god bothering geek thanks.

  52. Lee Whitfield

    Interesting theory...

    As a religious man I have seen my fair share of persecution from those people that obviously have higher IQs than myself.

    While I sit being tolerable of other people's beliefs (or no belief) I am consistently scorned by others and their 'higher thinking'.

    What a pity it is that more people don't take more interest in pure religion - this being practicing what you believe.

    I might also point out the following statement from the article:

    "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."

    Seems as if he's calling everyone stupid here. I personally went to university but don't really consider myself an academic in the sense that this man means, but I do have an IQ of 143. I believe in God and I am not ashamed to admit it.

    I am reminded of a quote I once heard... "If your mind is not open, please ensure your mouth stays the same way."

  53. Alan Fisher

    Logic.....

    Douglas Adams puts it best;

    "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing". "But," says man "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

  54. Carl
    Thumb Up

    God made me stupid

    So, as your intelligence increases, your understanding (or ability to understand) of science means that you are more likely to spot the gaping 'holes' in creationism I guess.

    I always thought that the reason that there were less stupid comments on El Reg articles on a Sunday was because IT pros don't work weekends - now I know it's because they're all at church...

    Intelligent Person: My god man, you are the stupidest fool I ever met

    Religious Person: It's not my fault, it's this blasted book I found in a drawer in my hotel room

    Intelligent Person: Oh, I'm soooo sorry for you...

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Seems true statement in case of G Dubya Bush...

    ...God told him to attack Iraq and Dubya did.

  56. Rich

    Obvious

    Sounds pretty obvious to me.

    I am stupid. Therefore I don't really understand much and I'll latch on to what beliefs (however irrational and nonsensical) other people have.

    I am intelligent. Therefore, I have a mind of my own and can see right-through the loony irrational beliefs that are proclaimed by other (less intelligent) people.

    The whole idea of God is just plain silly. It's a figment of (some) human's imagination and has no place whatsoever in the modern world.

  57. Jamie

    religion

    religion is just an institutionalized way of social control

  58. Colonel Panic

    Second-order correlation

    AKA, the skeptics mantra - "correlation does not prove causation".

    The poorer you are, the less percieved control you have over your life (google "internal locus of control" and "social status"). You are more likely to attribute your bad job, bad housing, bad health to external forces (star sign, evil spirits or bearded supernatural white guys with divine status)

    The poorer you are, the lower you will tend to score in IQ tests (google "underfunded schools").

    Not suprisingly therefore the two tend to co-occur.

    Likely too that IQ will correlate with driving Bentleys - for the simialr reasons (with some statistical outliers for footballers)

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    IQ idiots

    Anyone who thinks that the complex socio-cultural phenomenon of "intelligence" can be reduced to a number is an idiot. Particularly if it involves interpreting squiggly lines and boxes in a 30 minute quiz.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...Lynn pointed out that most children do believe in God..."

    Actually, children are not born believing in God.

    They are dragged along to church/temple services, encouraged to pray with family and brain-washed as much as possible before they have the ability to resist and learn for themselves, so as to perpetuate the myth.

    www.venganza.org

  61. Angus Wood
    Boffin

    Correlation != Causation

    Two variables being positively or negatively correlated does not necessarily mean that there is a cause and effect relationship between them. They may be varying in response to another independent variable.

    If you drive a Ferrari then you're highly likely to have a very nice house. These variables are correlated but there is no causation.

    That the more intelligent a person is the less likey to belive in Yaweh/Allah/Zeus etc, is not in any doubt, many many studies have confimed this both in specific territories (yes, including the USA) and in global surveys. Of course there are exceptions to this, dumb atheists and smart god botherers but they are outliers.

    I would personally advance the opinion that there IS a third variable, and that variable is the external pressure of society in the form of "one does what is most conformist in the society you are in because that uses the least energy" which critically, has a feedback effect. Atheism breeds atheism, religiosity breeds religiosity.

  62. George Johnson
    Thumb Up

    Want the truth and the way?

    Get some copies of Andy Hamiltons hilarious radio comedy Old Harry's Game, that's the truth my friends.

    If it all fails and I'm wrong and doomed to spend eternity with my arse on fire, then I'll certainly have plenty of company, what with the Slashdot, El Reg readers and all people with whom I share my "heavy" musical taste!

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Average IQ

    IQ tests were originally designed to average at 100, but that's not accurate anymore.

    First, the IQ of the population has shifted over time, with a general upward trend. You can't shift the test baseline, otherwise an IQ of 100 measured ten years ago would be lower than an IQ of 100 today (think of the controversy there is over A levels getting easier, then imagine it from a million self-important Mensa members worldwide - ugly).

    Second, the original tests were calibrated against white folk, who, according to the test results, are thicker than asians as a group. So they don't represent an average over the population as a whole.

    Mainly though, IQ is a real world, measured figure not a mathematical abstract. Saying "it can't shift' is bollocks, it just does, like magnetic north or the length of a year. The measured average of a small sample group surveyed some 80 years ago is not an indicator of a measured average of the whole population today, and if that brings measurements of something as poorly defined as "intelligence" off the pedestal and into the mud with the rest of sociology, that's a good thing in my book.

    For the amusing antics of those who stake too much on these figures, check the history of some of the "high IQ" groups at http://www.eskimo.com/~miyaguch/history.html. My personal favourite is the Giga Society, who alllow only the cleverest 1 in a billion (limiting their membership to about 6 and a bit).

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Spelling

    I think all this argument proves is that Reg readers have terrible spelling.

    Devine?

    Nonsence?

  65. sally marshall

    Case proven

    Dark wrote "What complete Bollocks! Most of the erudite people the world has known have beleived in some form of Devine Entity."

    If an inability to spell is related to intelligence I think the point has been well and truly proven for this person anyway.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heh... but what about...

    Ok, but what about people that believe there likely ARE "non-obvious type creatures"... (i.e. there's more than just these 3 dimensions we can see)... but that they're *not* automatically our friends, and that any plan(s) they have are *definitely* not in our best interest.

    i.e. think of the farmer looking after the sheep. "Sure, I *do* have a plan. But you wouldn't understand it. Don't worry though, I love you and it's in your best interest to follow my instructions".

    Er.... No Mr Farmer. Fuck off. :)

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Oh Really???

    I would say that this reports smacks of bias looking for evidence and not worth the paper it is printed on. And as for faith, even if you are an athiest, you still have faith, a faith that, despite the evidence for contrary, says that you are here by complete chance and accountable to no one.

  68. ImaGnuber

    Yikes!

    So higher number of non-believers among the highly intelligent so that would indicate that most of the nasty weapons, man-made carcinogenic chemicals blah-blah-blah are produced by those who don't believe in (any) God?

    Yikes! Not nice people.

    (non-believer here)

  69. Tom Hobbs
    IT Angle

    Does it work the other way?

    Not very interesting research.

    Being a believer (and leaving the question of my intelligence as an exercise for the reader) I can't say I buy into it much. Not really a suprise, I suppose.

    If the research says that the more intelligent you are the less likely you are to believe in God, it surely follow that the less intelligent you are the more likely it is that you believe in God.

    Now, go into your local town center and find a decent sample of the most stupid people you can find (measured in a way separate from their religious beliefs) and count how many are devout followers of one religion or another. I don't know, but I'm fairly confident in my guess, that there won't be a high percentage of believers.

    Maybe belief isn't linked to IQ after all.

    No IT angle, no science-y angle and no Paris angle. Is my disappointment in relation to my intelligence also?

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hope springs eternal

    "average IQ is an excellent predictor of what proportion of the population are true believers, across 137 countries"

    If that is true, then the average Australian must be considerably more intelligent than the average American, as we are a great deal less religious.

    Much as I admire the finer qualities of my fellow Aussies, however, I can't say that I have observed in them any evidence of superior intelligence.

    It is a defining characteristic of the human mind that we can both believe the unbelieveable and deny the undeniable. I suspect that this is a survival characteristic, without which we would all be terminally depressed.

    As such, I doubt that it is greatly affected by intelligence.

  71. Steve
    Joke

    Re: Einstein

    "Didn't Einstein say God does not play dice with the universe? I wonder what he would say about this research. "

    He is reported to have said that as an attempt to argue against the theory of quantum mechanics. Fortunately he was wrong, if he hadn't been we wouldn't have an internet on which to talk about silly statistics.

    There is a certain obviousness to the result though, you're more likely to pick up on the inherent contradictions in the common definitions of god if you are more intelligent. You are also more likely to recognise a logical paradox if you have been formally trained in logical analysis.

    @John Hartmann

    "Then why is that every atheist I have ever met has been a very low IQ prat that pretends to know everything?"

    Because God hates you and he's smart enough not to send his own people to annoy you. Or maybe the intelligent atheists leave when they see you coming.

  72. Kenneth Ross

    Isaac Newton?

    Might not have been exactly orthodox, but no doubt that he believed in God.

  73. fred
    Happy

    oops

    Manhatten part 2. lol. I'm with this practical joke http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Islam (since the thread is going this way)

  74. Guy Herbert
    Thumb Down

    Decline in pirates...

    It might have done, you know: Fewer pirates > more shipping > increase in global wealth and health through trade and spread of technology > more population. Pity for the theory that piracy is on the rise.

    That said, even though a correlation between religiosity and stupidity sounds plausible, the research as presented sounds awfully feeble. Why pick on FRSs and not, say, Bishops - or history dons - as a group representative of intelligence?

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Cause and effect

    I don't think religion makes you stupid; but its not very conducive to actually USING your intelligence.

    I've met a lot of very smart, but uneducated, people in my life; this leads me to believe that most people have reasonable intelligence, but they haven't always made good use of it.

    Religion tends to suppress learning by claiming all answers are already known (you just have to read The Book very carefully), with the extreme case being denial of facts like "the Earth goes round the Sun" despite the evidence and use of violence to discourage real learning.

    What this survey shows is that academics (people with enquiring minds) tend not to be religious; although it seems obvious, this is worth pointing out as it may encourage those who feel that their talents are being wasted in a religious culture to break free and actually use their natural abilities.

    Religion is happy to waste peoples' talents and have them chanting in ignorence, billions of them, while the few who break free of the restraints move on and discover the real universe.

    The irony is that religious fanatics are happy to make use of scientific learning and the resulting technology, but only to tighten their grip on the uneducated masses. I wonder if Iran would be able to develop nuclear technology if it hadn't already been done by others? I seems to me that this is just a cynical adoption of science and technology to ensure that their brand of religious intollerance can't be easily overthrown.

    Man's understanding of the physical world, and the wider universe, is being increased by a small percentage of mostly non-religious people who have made full use of their intelligence, imagine how much could have been done without the shackles of religion.

    Please note that I'm not saying that individual people with a religious belief haven't made a contribution to science and technology, but the overall effect of religious institutions has been to supress learning.

    Anon because I'm sure that this will wind a few people up...

  76. Eric Olson
    Coat

    Err

    A couple of things. First, any test of intelligence, be it the much maligned IQ test, or the SAT and ACT for American college candidates, or the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc for graduate studies in various fields in the US, is adjusted occasionally to make the 100, or whatever the numerical scale is, to be the median of the bell curve. This is either done by altering the test to make it more difficult (or easier if the sample is consistently scoring lower than the old median) or by changing the scoring scale. So it is quite possible that through revisions of the testing procedures and scoring that the median today would have been 1 or even 2 Standard Deviations above the median in the past. Plus, while we might think otherwise due to things like Darwin Awards and news stories, I think that the general intelligence of the population have increased from what it was 100 years ago.

    As to the IQ test in and of itself. People consistently rail against it, hating the idea that some words and figures on paper foretell how smart or dumb you are. Couple that with the other pop psychology out there and the focus on "other" intelligences, whether as a way to get grant money or to really try to make those who are "average" or "below average" feel better, and you have the confusion that is present.

    However, there is a vast body of research and test results that indicate that IQ is positively correlated (as one goes up, so does the other) with job performance, school performance, GRE, SAT, and GCSE scores, longevity, income, and emotional health, while negatively correlated with crime, juvenile offenses, depression, smoking, being obese, and traumatic injury.

    Now, these all range from correlations of +/- 0.81 (technically accounting for 66% of the variablity seen) to as little as +/-0.19. However, they are statistically significant, even if the effect size can be anywhere from large to small. Again, this is correlation, not causation. It's very difficult to ascertain causation when you can't set up multiple groups and introduce variables and controls. There are ways, but they are math-intensive. Without reading the actual paper by this researcher, I can't say what conclusions were drawn and why, and if the press (even the Reg) is misreading, misstating, or distorting the research... or if there was a poorly written press release by the researcher or journal.

  77. Mark

    Lesson 2

    Don't listen to the talking snake. That goes double for the women...

  78. Dan
    Boffin

    @AC

    "My point since 1985, now how do you get it into their thick skulls?"

    You don't, you accept that the purpose of religion was to ensure law and order in ancient societies - i.e. pork meat is unclean (because we haven't worked out how to cure meat or invented fridges yet) so just trust us, don't eat it. Stupid person: "ok".

    Note: NOT denigrating a particular religion above, merely making the point that religious beliefs provide guidelines for life, ensuring that less intelligent people are protected.

    Scientist because, well if you have to ask, you're probably religious...

  79. Mark

    "The average IQ is by definition 100."

    Unfortunately for you, that isn't the definition.

    Not that the definition of IQ is much to talk about, either. Nor is the utility of IQ.

  80. Adair
    Dead Vulture

    15 minutes of fame

    ...some people really are gagging for their fifteen minutes.

    This puts me in mind of a wonderful treatise proving that tomato juice is the most poisonous substance on the planet. One piece of evidence cited for this 'fact' was that fish die when put into a bowl of tomato juice.

    Now, if I can just interest you in this bottle of snake oil I happen to have...

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I Gess Smart Peepoll Kant Spel

    Mine's the one with "Ownlee Tecknikill Ejookation Mattirz" on the back.

  82. Jonathan

    Average IQ...

    I remember hearing that the average IQ is 100 because individual IQ is expressed as difference from the norm.

    Now I dont know how IQ tests are scored, but surely one would have to adjust each test to get a mark out of (or over) 100? And that would mean you need to already know what the actual average is. For example, if there were a simple test where the maximum mark is 200, and the average for the population is 133, and you wanted to make it centred around 100, wouldnt you have to divide by 133 and multiply by 100?

    I remember hearing about the use of a bell curve, but how would you know much to adjust each score to make them all average 100?

    Personally though, I'm not surprised at all. Look at the US - its full of people who vote for Bush and think evolution is a lie. Coincidentally, most of those are Christian.

  83. Mark

    @combatwombat

    Try this little bit of statistics.

    Group A: God Botherers. Average intelligence 98. Standard Deviaton: 40

    Group B: Rationalists. Average intelligence 102. Standard Deviation: 42

    Group C: Me. Average intelligence +Inf. Standard Deviation: All of them.

  84. Chika
    Coat

    As for me...

    I'm just waiting for the inevitable FoTW...

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ James 11:46 GMT

    @ James - Didn't Einstein say God does not play dice with the universe?

    This part of your comment seems to be apropos of nothing, however, yes he did say that. But as I remember it was because he didn't want to accept the possibility of probability (Quantum theory).

    Since experimental proofs of quantum physics now exist it just goes to show that even Einstein can be wrong about some things, (and suffer from a tendency to superstion).

  86. Chris Hunt

    @James

    "Didn't Einstein say God does not play dice with the universe?"

    That's because there are so many of us in the universe to play dice with, and He can't be everywhere at once. Oh, hang on...

  87. Liam

    hmmm

    finally :)

    shock new in... people who believe in santa also not as clever :)

    @ Panos

    "Maybe they do, but they are also some of the most socially inept people as well. So how is that linked to religion then?" - thats just due to most academics being shunned by society, they often specialise so heavily in a specific area that they fail to grasp such basics as a sense of humour and social skills. a lot of academics (from experience) also have little or no common sense...

    i think the thing is now that we can actually have a good stab at how it all started... rather than like in days or yore when our ancient cousins thought things like volcanoes were gods to be feared etc...

    when arguing with a god botherer they still often fail to believe that evolution exists (we can PROVE it ffs lol) are seem blinkered into this religeous brainwashing

    @ By JonB

    "Announcing a paper that demonstrates that Muslim fundamentalists are stupid.." - erm, arent these the same 'brainboxes' that seem to think the way to win a war is to let one of your side kill themselves and hopefully take out 1 or 2 of the enemy. yeah - proper clever them lot eh? :) they also go heavily against their own religion (murder/suicide) to try and tell us how bad we are...

    now all we need to do is rid our government of this foreign religeous nutter eh? :)

    @ han Hartman - "Then why is that every atheist I have ever met has been a very low IQ prat that pretends to know everything?" i think in this day and age MOST of english society is athiest (im not talking of the immigrants here as we know many come from religious backgrounds). i know of very few people now that would call themselves religious. many people will say they are unsure, mainly i guess to hedge their bets.

    @ By Hywel Thomas - "atheism and cake ?" - IM AN ATHIEST (since i was about 5!) and i love cake... hmmmm maybe you are onto something :)

  88. Mike

    IQ is not Intelugunce [sic]

    The IQ "test" is flawed as, if you do two IQ tests (close to each other) you will normally score more on the second one, this is because you learn how to solve the problems, you're not magically smarter.

    I had an officially tested IQ of 155 (genius) when I was in my early 20's, it's likely that it's dropped now due to the shift in knowlege, but I also scored as low as 120 about the same time. This measures logic and the ability to solve puzzles based on facts, the existence or otherwise of god can't be based on facts, because facts (truth) deny faith, and god "exists" only because of faith (see Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy).

    Faith does not stand up to logic, and if you define intelligence as logic then yes, people of faith are stupid, but if you define intelligence as the ability to make an argument, breath of knowlege and ability to conjecture, then people of faith are not stupid.

    Let's face it, Hitler (a man of faith) was very clever, and George Bush (a man of faith) isn't.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Religion teaches a lack of critical thinking.

    To Chris: If you're going to use a quote, at least check your references:

    You said "Lesson 1: don't eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge."

    And the actual quote is "...you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge OF GOOD AND EVIL, for when you eat of it you will certainly die." (Gen. 2:17 - NIV. Emphasis mine)

    In short - the knowledge implied here isn't about the ability to discern between good and evil. It's about the ability for Adam and Eve to make that decision for themselves, effectively ignoring God completely, for which God (if you believe the message of the book containing this quote) made his beings mortal.

    Question: You're driving down an open road one night, and suddenly you see a moose in road: Do you A, swerve and/or stop to avoid it? Or do you B, ignore it completely and insist on driving through it anyway?

    Which did you choose? Doesn't matter - that you've accepted the moose is (or perhaps might be) there and made a decision on that factor demonstrates some intelligence. Which is the right choice? Depends on whether you're willing to take the time out to see it from the Moose's perspective, really!

    Conclusion:

    More meaningful research please - Being clever, or even having a high IQ doesn't mean or imply wisdom, or just plain being right. Statistics in subjects like this are meaningless when one cannot control the subjects of study and record (and recreate) the response. Until that point, they are observations - not scientific facts.

    [/sermon]

  90. Graham Dawson
    Boffin

    @Stewart

    "Cogito ergo Deus absconditus"

    I think, therefore god buggered off?

    Speaking as a man holding religious views, I have to say I found this whole idea very silly. Of course I would say that, wouldn't I? I'm just a stoopid christian...

    I would have hoped that the creators of the report read up on European history, though. It was syncretism (which my spell checker apparently doesn't recognise) between Greek philosophical thought and early Judeo-christian belief in a rational God that allowed the creation of our society. The idea within christianity for most of the last 2000 years is that God, being rational, would create a universe of rational rules that could be studied and discovered. The scientific principle eventually grew out of this belief in the rationality of the universe as expressed within the nicene creed and other christian get-togethers, which is why subsequent dips into irrationality and anti-scientism from the church were never able to last long. In one sense the very concept of the trinity is an odd mathematical problem that has promoted a very sharp mind. The arguments over that concept alone forced the great thinkers of the past to actually think. The idea of critical thinking is central to christian syncretism.

    On top of which, by banning polygamy and banning concubinage, christian society removed one of the most potent disincentives to progress by giving the majority of men a chance to have their wife without the big man coming along and taking it away. On top of this, the removal of the power-plays and constant questing for favour from the male in polygamous marriages increased the rights of women incredibly. It also prevented inbreeding to a great extent, by reducing the ability of certain powerful men to dominate the gene pool, and consequently allowed a much greater genetic mixing to occur, and allowed smart people, who otherwise wouldn't have had the chance, to propagate. That was a side-effect of course; I doubt a bunch of priests got together and said "Lets increase our genetic viability!"

    Then again, with priests, who knows?

    All of these things are rational ideas. It was Christianity that propagated them across its sphere of influence. I freely admit that these ideas could have propagated in as many other ways as you can imagine but, it was a religion that actually *did* it and it was often the most fervent believers in that religion that were also, generally, the smartest, because christianity, for much of its life, encouraged rationality and education and provided an incentive for the ordinary man to improve himself. It's gone downhill a bit recently but that's just one of those things...

    If you want another example then lets go to India. There, mathematicians were working with complex trigonometry and algebraic equations that would make your eyes water when the Arabs were still worshipping their pantheon and the Greeks still wondering what to call themselves while they hacked each other to pieces. They did it because they were inspired by their beliefs to seek out the rules that governed their lives, rules they believed were put in place by their gods to run the universe. I imagine some of it involved working out angles for the kama sutra as well but that's by the by, the main point is that their religious life encouraged this sort of highly critical thinking.

    Whilst it's quite likely that critical thinking tends to lead to a rejection of religious ideas, I would doubt that the lack of a religious experience is a necessity for critical thinking. The idea that religion prevents critical thinking is false, as I hope I've demonstrated; what actually prevents critical thinking is a lack of critical thinking, and that can afflict even the most accomplished scientist if they've got their own little idea they don't want to give up. Just look at the whole AGW debate.

    I do find it fascinating that the increase in atheism can actually be matched up to a general decrease in educational standards. It all depends how you draw the graph really. :)

  91. Law
    Gates Horns

    how long before...

    ... the religious nut jobs (as opposed to the nice ones) start proclaiming the researcher a tool of the devil, Satan's lapdog, and for people to start asking for their dismissal for blasphemy or something....

    Anybody who's been watching Reaper recently know's how cool the devil can be though - he's a hoot!! :)

    Demon-gates - just because.

  92. Damien Holley

    odd

    Odd conclusions (although not unexpected from the psychological establishment)

    two points:

    1. IQ is probably the worst method of measuring intelligence given the majority of questions are not based around learning aptitude or reasoning, but already learned knowledge.

    2. In my experience of the scientific community in general, (not just academics) my friends cover quantum physics, biology, chemistry, Rural science, Entomology, computer science, mathematics, . These range from full-blown PHD's down to Masters levels, most are published. Amongst these people, the proportion of people who believe in a God or something of that nature, is substationally higher than the rest of the population.

    In fact if you look at major innovators and scientists of times past, you will find the majority who made major breakthroughs actually believed (or at least stated they did) in a god.

    3. A problem with surveys is that often only those who feel strongly about something will fill them out. if a survey system was used here the results are already skewed.

  93. Jonny F
    Coat

    Average IQ *can* increase over time

    Average IQ can increase or decrease over time.

    In year N you have the average test score, and define that test score as IQ 100.

    In year n+1, you can find the average test score is higher. You define the average test score that year to have an IQ of 100, AND the average IQ went up.

    What IQ or belief system do you need to understand that?

  94. Rob Pomeroy
    Thumb Down

    Ah good, more pointless expensive research

    Surely all this "proves" is that those who are wealthy and better educated (let's call them 'Westerners') are more likely to be arrogantly self-sufficient? In some populous places such as India, average levels of education are very low and average levels of theistic belief (of varying kinds) are very high. But surely there are many more logicial inferences to be drawn than that there is a causal connection?

    I wonder how much money was spent on this research...

    For the record: way above average IQ. And way above average, rationalistic belief in God. Yes you did read that correctly.

  95. david wilson

    @Panos

    >>"Academics have higher IQ - Maybe they do, but they are also some of the most socially inept people as well. So how is that linked to religion then?"

    Maybe being socially ept is correlated with being able to confidently make statements one doesn't *really* believe in deep down -

    "There is one God and His name is YHWH/Kevin/whatever"

    "[deity] just happens to agree with all my personal prejudices"

    "[deity] is merciful and loving. That's why [deity] just killed your child!"

    "Yes, you *do* look nice in that"

    "Wow, I'm *really* interested in your favourite football team or new car".

    Maybe, for some, organised religion is good practice for lying with a straight face?

  96. breakfast
    IT Angle

    Taking questions seriously

    I wonder whether more academic types might spend a little more time thinking on the question "do you believe in god" than others, partly because they belong to a culture of questioning things in depth. People from other parts of society are perhaps more likely to answer without really thinking about it in the same way- if you were to examine the beliefs in both groups in more depth you may find people with similar beliefs giving different answers.

  97. This post has been deleted by its author

  98. The Power Of Greyskull

    High IQ?

    Disappointingly, I notice that only 20% of those sampled were in the top fifth.

    This is terrible - what can be done to improve matters?

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE:Cause and effect

    Sir, you speak nonsense...

    1)"Religion tends to suppress learning by claiming all answers are already known ... with the extreme case being denial of facts like "the Earth goes round the Sun" despite the evidence...

    This was actually a widely held scientific belief in the middle ages. The church chose the wrong side, but it was not about control, but poor maths (Science...)

    2) "Religion is happy to waste peoples' talents and have them chanting in ignorance, billions of them, while the few who break free of the restraints move on and discover the real universe."

    For example the many worlds theory, a belief biased in little more than an easy answered to the uncertainty principle.

    3)"I seems to me that this is just a cynical adoption of science and technology to ensure that their brand of religious intolerance can't be easily overthrown."

    The US claim this, Iran claims it wants nuclear power, surely an enlightened way forward given the problems the world has. The problem the US seems to have is that Iran wants to control its own power, and not buy their reactors, which would presumably come with the same tie ins and problems as US war teck the UK buys.

    4)"Man's understanding of the physical world, and the wider universe, is being increased by a small percentage of mostly non-religious people who have made full use of their intelligence, imagine how much could have been done without the shackles of religion.

    Please note that I'm not saying that individual people with a religious belief haven't made a contribution to science and technology, but the overall effect of religious institutions has been to suppress learning."

    The start of genetics, astronomy, chemistry botany and mathematics was all laid down by Christians, mostly monks. Anatomy, medice, pharmacology by notable Muslims (who also had a big part in early maths and astronomy).

    I find it strange how many evangelical atheists are happy to believe so many lies yet claim they are free from dogma.

  100. Old Fart
    Linux

    Think For Yourself

    The theism argument transcends time! No proponent/opponent will ever be able to convince the other side. The belief in a "supreme being" is a personal issue. Religion, on the other hand "poisons everything." Whether you are a card-carrying member of an organized religion or not, do yourself a favor and read Christopher Hitchens' "god Is Not Great." For you commuters, it's also available on a six-CD set.

  101. Jason The Saj
    Alien

    When we understand the entire universe, we'll know the answer

    Hmm...

    "This would be like saying living in states with a warmer more southernly climate is likely to make one more racist. "

    When the fact that the indoctrination and mindset of racism, white supremism tends to be stronger in the south. These were after all the slave states. So while most southerners may not be racist, there is likely to be a higher percentage of racist people found in the southern states. This does not mean the climate is the cause of racism.

    "Similarly, as average IQ in Western societies increased throught the 20th century, so did rates of atheism, he said."

    Clearly, food and health lead to atheism. As said IQ increases are often attributed to a better nourished society. So eat better, believe in God less.

    "Lynn pointed out that most children do believe in God, but as their intelligence develops they tend to have doubts or reject religion."

    Children find it easier to accept new concepts and to be open. However, as I recall. A child's IQ is usually pretty set. While there can be some fluxuation. A 75 IQ person doesn't grow up to be a 150 IQ person.

    ***

    So apparently, poor academic scholarship can be applied to acclaim oneself smarter than others - while it simultaneously proves you ain't so bright.

    Or it might also be the fact that there is strong anti-sentiment in Academia to both religious beliefs, conservatives, and capitalism. Let's be honest - most of our colleges are filled with liberal atheist socialists. (Perhaps because few ever succeeded in the real world of business so the came and taught others their mistakes.)

    ***

    "Lesson 1: don't eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge."

    No, it said of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It did not say of just knowledge. Wasn't an Apple either btw.

    ***

    Ironically, I find scientists to often be equally as uncritical. I was introduced to some conjectural physics theories almost 20 yrs ago. Most every atheist and supposedly scientifically minded individual was mocking the concepts. (Like our understanding of light's behavior, speed, etc might not be what we think it is.) Oh, guess what, now these same concepts are being lauded as new revelations. Who was more open-minded.

    ***

    Of course, I'm just one of those dumb religious people with a meager IQ of 144. Questioning a report that is clearly a poor attempt at the utilization of the scientific method.

    ***

    "First, the IQ of the population has shifted over time, with a general upward trend. "

    I sometimes wonder if this is a true shift? Or a promotional shift. For example: SAT scores have increased substantially over the years. And each shift corresponds with a major new release of the SAT exam. Obviously, people are getting smarter based on an analysis of SAT scores. Or so the media and government try to tell us, so that we don't see how poorly our public school systems are doing at educating our children.

    ***

    "I would personally advance the opinion that there IS a third variable, and that variable is the external pressure of society in the form of "one does what is most conformist in the society you are in because that uses the least energy" which critically, has a feedback effect. Atheism breeds atheism, religiosity breeds religiosity." - Angus Wood

    Very interesting...

    This would lead me to believe that the most "intelligent" individuals are neither atheist nor religious. But rather those who grew up in one or the other and chose another of their own choosing.

    The one who grows up atheist because his parents and professors around him are atheist. And the one who grows up religious cause they were dragged by their parents to church every week. Both of which, should have their intelligence questioned.

    Scripture says "to every man an answer". Sadly, many if not most christians do not have enough understanding of either their own scriptures or the world around them to give such. Likewise, I find most "atheists" to be quite stupid as well. I have very little respect for atheists because they always seem to be egotistical. Where as I have high asteem for the modern agnostic. The one who says, I have not seen any proof of God, so I shall not proclaim God myself. However, I do not have fullness of understanding and knowledge. So I will not dismiss a possibility lies outside of my understanding. This is probably the truest critical thinker of all.

    The one who postulates but realizes he is not smart enough to have the answer - is the smartest of us all.

  102. Garth
    Stop

    Many a dubious thing has been said in these comments.

    Which I suppose goes further to illustrate the point of the original research.

    But several have asked what Einstein would have said. Well... here's the link to what he did say. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/13/peopleinscience.religion

    I would imagine he would have sympathized quite strongly with the conclusion of the paper. I wonder if in a hundred years from now there won't be people 'of faith' speaking about Dawkins trying to demonstrate to the heathen fellows what a believer he was.

  103. ben
    Alien

    God is an multidimensional Alien

    We are all information.

  104. Tom Mason
    IT Angle

    Intelligence make you arrogant

    My experience would lead me to believe that people who consider themselves intelligent (which often, but not always, correlates with actual intelligence) have to swallow that pride in their intelligence in order to accept that God may exists. Clearly, there are no conclusive, objective reasons to believe God exists. It is scientifically unprovable. However that's not the same thing as saying it's not true. Where Dawkins et al have been very successful is in teaching people that only objective repeatable evidence can be considered, even as an individual. Very often it can be people fear of being called irrational, which stings more if you believe yourself to be intelligent, which will cause people to ignore even quite powerful subjective evidence. The well known psychological experiment in which people standing in a lift (elevator) will face the same way as everyone else shows that people will act irrationally denying their own experiences to avoid looking stupid. In essence they question their own sanity and go with the flow.

    Where intelligent people are faced with subjective spiritual experiences they will tend to ignore or discount them as they are too invested and proud to risk being seen as irrational.

    There is also the "intelligence trap", where intelligent people become so good at arguing their case that they can successfully defend an incorrect position. Unfortunately because they get such a buzz from winning the arguement the search for the truth becomes secondary to winning. Essentially pride in ones intelligence can lead people to becoming entrenched in incorrect positions, and atheism appeals to intelligent people' sense of superiority.

  105. redjupiter
    Heart

    So how come ....

    So let me see,

    i came from a poor family.

    I go to church every Sunday.

    Struggled through university fees

    bought an apartment

    has 2 cars and a motorbike

    two children and my wife is 17 years younger than me.

    Earn more than 50000/year and I work from home

    I play on-line games.

    Takes 2 holidays a year

    God and Jesus is the centre of our lives and they call me stupid ....

  106. Luther Blissett

    The argument passed away at Vulture Central on 12 June 2008 at 12.04

    Reg readers identified several life-threatening flaws, but a logical autopsy suggests that the patient had a predisposing congenital condition to failure.

    This was an inherent inability to distinguish between the common English words - belief and faith. For while even the intellectually challenged can go about their daily business regardless of whether the Earth is flat or not, the question of whether someone has religious faith is not only difficult to establish by observation (requiring a DHS size budget and technology), but has to deal with awkward conceptual matters like hypocrisy.

    So tell me again what Professors profess? Faith in reason - or merely belief in the Everlasting Goodness of the Public Teat?

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    god? stupidity? repubelicans?

    if its true the usa bible belt is in trouble and it would explain a lot of repubelicans and george bush!

    on personal observation and expiriance it does appear to me that religious nut jobs seem to be abit odd and really hate reality as it is. all in all they are not really stupid per say but indoctrination they had been exposed to in their environment had pretty much disabled their ability to deal with reality as is and not as they wish it is and as result they try to push theirt views by force on every one else. what is really scary about them is they can actualy function and damadge the people around them.

    on the other hand had any one really thought why these people belive in god?

    one of my pet theories is that they belive that god gives them an excuse to act and be an asshole and murderous if they diagree with your version of belif in god because god said so its ok and they are forgiven.

    btw who is this god person anyway?

  108. P. Lee Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Shock Story!

    Those who, by definition, are only concerned with the non-supernatural say everything outside of their field of expertise is rubbish.

    Ah, good job we're intelligent and not bigoted like them religious peasants!

    If life started as an accident and death is certain, then all your above-average intelligence is a brief, random association of electrons and molecules, "Life's ... a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." We definitely need our children to understand this at an earlier age, for the good of society.

    The God vs Science debate is fake - you can't prove or disprove God with science because science doesn't deal with the supernatural. The question is, what are your presuppositions? Do you approach the natural world with the view "God doesn't exist - I need a theory which explains all this without him," or "the God who ordered all this gave me a mind so I should be able to understand at least some of this."

    To those who believe that organised religion is designed to control the masses, you're probably right - Jesus himself was condemned to death by the organised religion of his day for blasphemy and sedition. He was offered temporal power but he turned it down as it wasn't his way of doing things. Beware of those who do otherwise.

    This we believe: We weren't there when life started, we don't know how it works but we're absolutely certain it wasn't designed by someone who knows more than we do.

    Paris, because we all like to display our ignorance.

  109. Mark

    "Pity for the theory that piracy is on the rise"

    Not PROPER pirates. Ones with a peg leg, saying "Yaarrgh!" and "Me Hearties!".

  110. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    Not sure what the point is supopsed to be.

    So if you lack intelligence you are probably more likely to accept belief, without thinking too deeply about it. And this is one of a number of things that will skew the figures when comparing belief and intelligence.

    It has no effect on whether there is a spiritual element to existence, or not. It just gives non-believers the opportunity to take the piss out of the rest. Have fun.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Actually, I do exist - OK?

    All this debating has made me manifest myself, which I have avoided for thousands of years. That has made me quite annoyed and frankly a bit tetchy.

    Anyway:

    - I *will* play dice with the universe if I want to.

    - Would everybody please stop wanking? You know I don't like it.

    - Dawkins has got it coming when I get hold of him, I can tell you.

    - Where's my special Reg icon? Don't make me smite you...

    Thank you and good afternoon.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    IQ tests don't really mean much

    Most religion is about control. Sorry am I for folks who are brainwashed and feel they have no choice in what they can or cannot believe. Oh, Great Dread Cthulhu, your minions await you.

  113. Popofla
    Alert

    Bad Science Alert!

    As with most of these so-called social "science" studies we see a total lack of the multi-variable nature of human interaction and thinking. This is quite obviously a study creating a hypothesis and examining a limited number of variables to prove the hypothesis. Most readers of the Reg can see through this shabby research.

    Maybe what would be a better experiment would question the "peer pressure effect on people with higher IQ" and it's effect on their beliefs. ("God", global warming- that is sure to get a rise) Most of these people don't want to be called "stupid". So what impact does their own self esteem have on beliefs in areas that they are non-specialist?

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Re: Boffins prove boffinry does not improve statistical ability.

    Hmm, someone has read a 2 page article on statistics and think they have a degree in the subject. Let's take apart your arguments one by one:

    > "Similarly, as average IQ in Western societies increased throught the 20th

    > century, so did rates of atheism, he said."

    >

    > The average IQ is by definition 100.

    >

    > How did they manage to measure an increase in 100?

    There are various ways that this could be the case, the most obvious is that they were holding the world average at 100, and comparing intelligence in western countries with other countries, at which point the average could very well have risen. Of course, we can't be sure this is the case without reading the actual scientific article, rather than some El-Reg polemic.

    > Regardless, their statistical correlation between the rise in average

    > *intelligence* (not IQ) and in western Europe suffers under the same

    > problems as climate modelling: our sample set is one. One world, one

    > climate; one Europe, one population. Do they have any data showing the

    > converse of this, ie that increasing religiousness in Western Europe

    > correlates with decreasing intelligence?

    >

    > This is not statistically significant data!

    Ok, you clearly don't understand the differences between what is being studied here and climate modelling, and also the concept of in sample and out of sample. I'll try and keep it short. In climate modelling we are taking a set of input data and trying to come up with a complex model which predicts a set of output variables. In this type of model, overfitting is a big issue. What overfitting means is that your model is so complex that it exactly predicts what is currently happening, but this is an artifact of the model, and when you test it on other data you find the model doesn't work. This means you build a model on "in-sample" data and test it on "out-of-sample" data. If you do too much testing on the out-of-sample data then you begin to use the structure of that data to construct your model, and are likely to overfit. An example of this type of overfitting is simple to construct. Let's say you are building a model trying to predict the number of people who die in a given year using the different types of munitions expended as your input parameters. You try fitting that model using 1900-1918 as your in-sample period, and manage to get an extremely good fit. Then you take it out of sample in 1919 and discover your model is rubbish (due to avian flu killing more people than the whole first world war).

    In this case, the scientists have stated that there is a correlation between intelligence and belief in a supreme being. The fact that a correlation exists is just that, a fact, not a model. Now they have also proposed a basic model that says that intelligence can predict belief. Because they have tested this model on a number of data sets (US Academy of Science and UK Royal Academy studies; average IQ in western societies; likelihood to become unbeliever as children mature), they have ample argument to say that they have created a model and tested it out of sample - something which climate researchers are more reluctant to do.

    > It is pretty obvious that human beings will show more intelligence as human

    > knowledge and schooling increase and improve. Anything that occurs at the

    > same time as this may be a) related or b) coincidental. We do not have

    > anywhere near enough data to prove either of these.

    This is why you look at such things as relative levels of religious belief as different countries improve at different rates. Or at specific parts of society, like children, or academics. I haven't read the study, so I can't argue whether the researchers have done this or not, but it is relatively easy in cases like this to compare the level of correlation you get testing your hypothesis, with the level of correlation you would get in various test scenarios. There are plenty of standard statistical tests for this sort of thing. We actually probably have plenty of data to prove beyond a level of statistical certainty that there is a link.

    > Statistics for Dummies is available in all good bookshops on the High Street

    > and on-line.

    >

    > (And they say it's religion that makes people stupid.)

    Statistics for Dummies is not a good starting point for understanding modelling and prediction in statistics which is one of the trickier parts of the subject.

  115. Hedley Phillips

    I knew it

    My wife is thick as shit and heavily into Catholicism

  116. Khaptain Silver badge

    God as we know it.

    If I understand correctly, God in his current context only exists from the writing of the bible, or the Torah for those that want to go a little further back.

    What this basically boils down to is that the common troglodyte has always had some belief in some form of Deity or other. These beliefs were almost certainly defined( read manipulated) by his more Intelligent counterparts, who knew wholeheartedly that they could achieve domination over the Troglodytes by using their "apparently" superior knowledge of the God/Deity character....

    The intelligent people have always understood that the notion off God/Religion is a means of control. ( Strike the Fear Factor into the populace, Hell, Plagues, Miseries etc...... ).

    Due to the fact the even the most basic Westerner has access to endless amounts of documentation their lack of knowledge must be slowly subsiding. Hence, less ignorance, hence less believers due to the increased awareness of Religion as a instrument of control.

    Therefore the theory is probably correct, people are in general becoming less ignorant.. Although this is not often noticeable by their acts.

  117. amanfromMars Silver badge

    If you were a GOD, would you be a Devil? :-) or something QuITe Alien?

    "When you put your finger in the flame, as all children do, you burnt your finger. That knowledge had gone from recieved to percieved." ...By Paul Smith Posted Thursday 12th June 2008 11:39 GMT

    Actually it is surely more reinforced as perception is Semantic and has no tangible presence/physical effect.

    "The more intelligent person is also more likely to answer a question in a way that reduces potential embaressment." ... because there are only questions with answers being Temporal Aberrations/Present Conveniences.

    "Most of the erudite people the world has known have beleived in some form of Devine Entity." .... By Dark Posted Thursday 12th June 2008 11:42 GMT

    Some of them even hear their voices, Dark. :-)

    "Didn't Einstein say God does not play dice with the universe?" .... By James Posted Thursday 12th June 2008 11:46 GMT

    Because they're always onto a dead cert, James? Or are we to assume there is only One? Animal, Vegetable, Mineral or Imaginative?

    "Do I believe that extraterrestrial intelligence has ever been in contact with humans? No." ..... By Andrew Oakley Posted Thursday 12th June 2008 11:49 GMT

    You must be new to El Reg, Andrew. Welcome.

  118. D
    Coat

    There's quite a few claiming high IQs who don't even seem to have a grasp of basic maths

    .... you may be a very smart person with a high IQ. However, as this study is making claims about trends within a population rather than individual absolute rules, the fact that you worship god/mohammed/sky pixies or whatever ridiculous bronze age superstition that you've latched onto because you can't cope with reality/your own mortality has no bearing on this other than to remind us that people can have a high IQ and still be gullible.

    Mines the one with "heretic" on the back.

  119. Lee Whitfield

    @ Jonathan

    "Personally though, I'm not surprised at all. Look at the US - its full of people who vote for Bush and think evolution is a lie. Coincidentally, most of those are Christian."

    Glad to see that ignorance is not limited to just us religious types - what a comment to make. People like you make me ashamed to be British.

  120. Hunter Barrington
    Linux

    What about all the intelligent religious people?

    I readily admit up front that this comes from a Christian perspective so if any bias is suggested i would agree that bias is possible.

    It has been my experience that the more intelligent you are the better you can appreciate religion. For instance I know a few chemists (who work for DuPont), lawyers (Skadden Arps), molecular biologists, etc. who all appreciate God in a very real way because they attribute the universe and everything in their field of study to Him and after seeing how extremely complex and amazing it is they can't help but be wowed that there is something intelligent enough to envision all of that let alone create it.

    and what about all the great leaders, intellects, and world changers who were religious. I would argue that the non-religious are in the minority in this category (leaders, intellects, etc.) and that it was only in the last century or two that this paradigm has shifted at all.

    The article stated that many children believe in God but as they get older they start to doubt. This could be attributed to an increase in intelligence, but it could also be attributed to an elevation of pride, self-consciousness, and decrease in child-like trust (faith). In todays world where it is becoming more and more intellectually chic to be atheist there are fewer and fewer adults teaching children how religion can be very intellectually stimulating in my opinion.

    anyways... just my 2 cents

  121. Steven Goddard
    Thumb Down

    North Korea - the land of innovation

    This theory proves that North Korea is the smartest country in the world. Millions of poor, starving, uneducated atheists. Cuba can't be far behind. The average income in Cuba is $20 per month.

    On the other hand, 50% of the worlds' Nobel Prizes come out of the US - the land of ignorant, right-wing, Christian fundamentalists.

  122. Tom

    @combatwombat

    148 eh? Still can't use the correct tense of 'Their' though can you... Maybe go back and do some more online quotation testing.

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Idiocracy

    Anybody ever see the movie?

    It was a bit obscure, but quite good, in an appalling sort of way.

    The dummies in that movie weren't religious at all. I suspect that the producers deliberately avoided mentioning it because of the flame potential.

    However, if they had, the movie would have been a great deal less obscure. The Golden Compass was a crappy movie, but the Pope panned it, so everyone went to see it.

    Kind of like this study and this article.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    scammers

    Why do you think scam artists so frequently target church congregations.

    Those suckers have already been through quality pre-screening.

  125. Matt Clary
    Stop

    It's education, not IQ

    Education is a primary influence on religious beliefs, not IQ. Most people in academia have more EDUCATION than the general populace, it is questionable that in general they have higher IQs.

    The statement about how "intelligence has risen in the 20th century" seems to reinforce my point. Makes me question the researcher's abilities. Do they really think IQ has increased in the 20th century? Do they attribute this to better nutrition or to evolution?

  126. Keith Doyle
    Alien

    Well, it proves one thing...

    That there are likely as many (percentage-wise) atheists willing to open their mouth and insert-foot making bogus claims as there are in religious communities.

    For years, I've racked my brain trying to comprehend just what it is about religious believers that (apparently) makes them unable to countenance the glaring inconsistencies about it that I find all too obvious. But I've come to realize that people believe in supernatural things for a wide variety of reasons and in a wide variety of circumstances, and the idea that it can be strictly tied to a single factor like intelligence or education is a totally naive one.

    On the other hand, I still can't help hoping that some day, a simple, factual, and completely incontrovertable statement can be identified that is both undeniably true and totally at odds with religious belief such that its usage would cause a complete cognitive meltdown in believers minds. A statement that would give everyone the same feeling I had in 1st grade when a teacher told the class that Santa Claus didn't exist and it was all your parents doings (my feeling was simply, "oh, yeah, of course, now that you point it out, it's obvious!"). A tantalizing idea, but I have little hope for it-- compartmentalization has long been known to trump cognition, an explanation that believers probably similarly apply to skeptics.

    It's just the "brave new world" we live in. I do wish there were outspoken atheists that behaved more like Carl Sagan and less like Richard Dawkins, showing more quiet confidence in their ideas and less of axes to grind.

  127. Mark

    Re: So how come ....

    Yes, you ARE stupid. How?

    TWO cars *and* a motorbike???

    Dump at least one car.

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @redjupiter - It's a jolly good smiting for you

    Unfortunately you have committed the 7th deadly sin - "pride".

    Schoolboy error I know, but I am quite a vengeful sort of God and I'm afraid I can't let it slide. Sorry about that, but if I show leniency once then they all expect it.

  129. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prompts a far more interesting question

    Now I'm interested to know if stupidity is linked to how likely people are to believe in psychology.

  130. Garth
    Stop

    RE: Various Can't disprove God comments

    Many have made the claim that one cannot disprove God. This is untrue. God is certainly examinable once one has am interpretation to explore. The Christian God is manifestly provable or disprovable by examining the traits 'He' is supposed to possess and whether they A) necessary in operate the universe or B) evidenced in its operation. As this has generally not been the case since we're still arguing about it, and since Epicurus logically dismantled the primary omni-benevolent/omnipotent/omniscient God we can satisfactorily say that the Christian God is highly unlikely to exist.

    What Christians turn to when they claim you cannot disprove God is a bait and switch approach, you cannot disprove a God is inherently vague and without definition, thus their God exists. False. That God has no more meaning than saying, "Prove that I do not possess Hooglesnacks in my pocket." As Hooglesnacks doesn't have a real definition, that is, of course, an impossible task. But it is a meaningless request as well.

    While I consider myself a agnostic on the grounds that the liberal use of the word god is without adequate definition and is thus, unknowable, I take offense at the fact that some people who are without intellectual integrity claim some superiority because they call themselves similarly. Giving agnosticism a bad name by essentially being the fence sitters as others accuse. Even the religious recognize that some interpretations of God are plain silly.

    In the end it is all for naught I realize. But it makes me feel a little better. People will continue to contribute their cribbed half truths in defense ridiculous stances. Like the IDers who, when confronted with the falsity of their particular argument, do not end the use of broken conjecture, but instead save it for a time when it may persuade with less sophisticated understanding.

    Like trotting out Einstein believed in God, when at most, before you could have said he was a deist and now he was obviously significantly less religious than even that.

  131. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And agnostics are smarter than atheists...

    Atheists claim they know, **know**, that God doesn't exist. What these supposedly "higher IQ" people ignore is that a belief in God is not the same as a belief in, say, unicorns. A belief in unicorns is merely a belief in an object among other objects.

    A belief in God isn't a simple statement about the existence of an object, it is a philosophically ontological theory of being itself...and that includes all things such as objects, energy, the laws of science, and the range and limits to our very ability to understand and know.

    As such the posited God would be immune to human demands regarding rules of evidence, falsifiable hypotheses, and all the typical expectations we are comfortable with when considering the contingent physical world.

    Athiests claim to *know* something they can't possibly know...at least not by typical human means. Because whatever those means are they are, by definition, contingent on God and not the other way around.

    (This is different than the so-called "ontological proof" of God's existence. It is an ontological observation about our inability to prove the posited God's existence either way.)

    Some may object that this means we can't consider God's existence in the same rational way we think about the rest of the universe. They may find such a thing unacceptable. But that, itself, is an irrational emotional reaction. Limits to our ability to know (and prove) may be uncomfortable for some, but the wise man recognizes his limitations rather than trying to bluster his way past them.

    As the proposed ground of all being, God can't be held to account by human expectations about existence proofs. God, *by definition*, would be the author of rationality, not the other way around.

    Atheists are just people who haven't thought this problem through enough to become agnostics.

  132. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ other AC

    "The start of genetics, astronomy, chemistry botany and mathematics was all laid down by Christians, mostly monks. Anatomy, medice, pharmacology by notable Muslims (who also had a big part in early maths and astronomy)."

    This is true, but to some extent the Christians, Muslims etc. didn't have much of a choice about atheism in the past; you either joined the congregation or got persecuted. So they were religious because that was the culture in which they lived.

    Galileo was a Christian, but his work was not exactly sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church.

    I suspect that if many of the great scientists of the past had had a real choice about the matter, many of them would have become atheist.

    My point was that while an individual may be religious and a scientist, the religious institutions have not encouraged the pursuit of science.

  133. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    As an agnostic..

    It seems to me that most of the people who profess religion on here are explaining why they have a right to believe what they believe without being called stupid.

    It also seems that allot (but not all) of the atheists as spewing hate filled bile about how people with any view different to there’s wrong. Add a few death threats and it would be a good text for a terrorist video.

    The next thing I have noticed is that many of the atheists, who claimed to be intelligent people, seem to be unable to separate "religious" terrorists and extremists from the everyone else who holds religious views.

    The final thing I see is lots of atheists quoting atheist dogma biased on lies and half truths.

    All I know is that I don't know, but right now I'd rather know a Christian than an Atheist.

  134. Chris
    Pirate

    Religion teaches a lack of critical thinking.

    @anon coward "In short - the knowledge implied here isn't about the ability to discern between good and evil. It's about the ability for Adam and Eve to make that decision for themselves, effectively ignoring God completely, for which God (if you believe the message of the book containing this quote) made his beings mortal."

    Yep, like I said, religion teaches a lack of critical thinking. Here's what you should know, don't question it. Questioning is wrong. Do what you are told and don't think about why.

    @Jason The Saj, nobody had mentioned apples until you did. Out of interest, what fruit was it? How do you know it wasn't an apple?

  135. Jesse
    Thumb Up

    Irony

    The pure irony of this article is all the commenters that have expressed that they "knew this" or "isn't it obvious" without even questioning the article!

    As usual the comments both intelligent and ignorant are often better than the article being discussed. Good times.

  136. Christopher E. Stith
    Thumb Down

    Too narrow of a definition of religion

    Albert Einstein was religious in his own way, but was not a pansy to an organized church. Science and theology are two entirely different branches of the same practice -- philosophy. One is mechanistic and built on observation and the other is teleological and built on faith. One is pragmatic, dealing with the world with which we directly interact. The other is hopeful and concerns itself specifically with the unknown. Science may be more useful practically, but that doesn't mean it's any more logically valid.

    These "researchers" have obviously played numbers towards their conclusion, using statistics to prove a cause they believe without strictly controlling anything. That's teleology at its finest -- to fit numbers to a cause rather than to follow cause and effect through the chain of events. Atheism isn't their rejection of religion. It is their religion. They have faith in themselves as superior, but they are anti-scientific hypocrites and heretics against true research. Their conclusion doesn't even seem to mention cultural effects within universities and research labs, where often science is deemed to be good and faith of any sort quaint.

    Theology can never disprove science (in this world at least). Science can never disprove theology. The two work from different philosophical bases towards different ends using different methods. It was thought that mechanistic scientific research and teleological theology were separated in Greece around the time that Moorish alchemy replaced the four elements. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell these guys.

  137. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Professor Richard Lynn

    <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=richard%20lynn%20nazi&meta=">Say no more</a>. This clown used to be a psychology lecturer at my alma mater, University of Ulster at Coleraine; he pops up with some publicity-whore nonsense, usually to do with IQ, every few years. Don't feed the troll.

    Paris Hilton because she knows about as much about psychology as Dick does.

  138. Dick Emery
    Paris Hilton

    Hang on...

    ...wasn't this already discussed in the HGTTG? They proved God did not exist and thus he vanished in a puff of his own logic from what I recall.

    Anyhow. Most God(s) fearing humans are a product of their own social background and upbringing. The family is religious therefore it's more likely that their progeny will be religious too, and so forth. They often form larger social groups and communities which enhances their belief. My bet is you will find that there are many more loners out there with high IQ's and thus non-believers.

    The hicks will breed like rabbits, stick together, have their 'faith' in their 'God' and ultimately will overpower the less well organised boffins. Logic be damned!

    Paris knows all about logic.

  139. James Silver badge

    Doh

    Sometimes I forget that people can't read my minds. When I was quoting Einstein I wasn't saying his ideas on quantum mechanics are right, I was just trying to point out that one of the most brilliant people who has lived for the last two centuries believed in God. That’s an outliner who’s pretty far out there and hands up who has written papers which revolutionise mankind’s understanding of the universe?

  140. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this reminds me

    of "Bigger than Hitler, Better than Christ" by Rik Mayall, a damn good read

  141. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Probably the best Reg article ever

    As a transplant from the UK to the US, I've seen plenty of evidence to know this is true.

    The southern US is known as the "Bible Belt", and the state of Mississippi (which is in the heart of it) is known as both the poorest state and devoid of any real tech/scientific business. Coincidence?

    It's bad enough just trying to have a conversation with them before my mind goes numb. Maybe my Yorkshire upbringing, and accent that drops useless letters, makes it difficult to converse with someone who has a hard time putting out more than two syllables a second.

    And having first hand experience with the crazy Scientologists, don't get me started.

    Still doesn't make sense that CNN came from Atlanta... hand me my coat before they track me down.

  142. Steve Martins

    IQ not an accurate measure?

    Well maybe not, but a relative measure nonetheless. This is old news, I came across information a few years back detailing over 50 separate studies by religious groups and non-religious alike, stretching back 100 years or so. Whether the studies were done by a religious group, or a non-religious group there was a strong trend that people of a higher intelligence (however measured, not just IQ) are less likely to hold religious beliefs. Now any intelligent person would tell you that this doesn't in any way denigrate religion, merely that intelligent people tend not to be religious (unless being intelligent somehow makes an 'opinion' on something that cannot [yet?] be proven or disproven more valid!). I was brought up with religion, spent a long time in contemplation of it, and am now a nonbeliever (fwiw IQ143 on a given day in a random and not necessarily scientific test). treat this article for what it is - evidence that higher intelligence means a lower likelihood of belief. If you feel threatened by it, perhaps its because you don't have a strong foundation to your beliefs, and can be shaken so easily!!

    p.s. have you got nothing better to do that read 150 odd posts??!? no? me neither :-p

  143. john bullock
    Happy

    Define intelligence

    This discussion spins aimlessly in the zero gravity of a world of words of changed meaning in a universe of relativism. I submit that the researchers' use of the word "intelligence" is meaningful only to them and those who live in their reality.

    For those of us who live and move in awareness of the reality of the spiritual realm it is not surprising that those who are deluded into accepting intelligence to include the advent of so many technologies that are destroying the planet and killing it's inhabitants also perceive the Creator of the universe they abuse as unintelligent.

  144. DJ

    Paraphrasing Mozart in Amadeus...

    "I didn't know research like that was possible."

    If Western IQs are increasing, how do you explain American Idol?

    Please excuse me while I thank God I don't believe in researchers.

  145. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you can't see the error in this, you must be religious...

    "And as for faith, even if you are an athiest, you still have faith..."

    Erm, no. Faith requires belief in something. Atheism has no such requirement. You take the hypothesis that God does not exist. No one has provided any evidence whatsoever to gainsay that hypothesis, and there is plenty of evidence the other way. You're simply mistaken in this assertion. While it is difficult to prove a negative, you god-botherers should, by now, have come up with *something* that could possibly prove that God exists... It's not like you haven't had a few thousand years, but you keep coming back to the original arguments that have been eroded and not substantiated over that same time.

    Just because you believers-in-sky-fairies can't understand a rational worldview, please don't tar us atheists with the same deficient thought processes.

  146. Steve Carter

    He does wear red...

    "most children do believe in God, but as their intelligence develops they tend to have doubts or reject religion"

    hmm, they have a good cause to doubt. Their folks also told them Santa or Father Christmas existed, and turned out to be just a way to try to bribe them into being good all year.

    ... wait a minute (thinks 9 year old), friendly Father figure, white beard, capable of withholding presents from naughty children, never actually see him, urges me to do what my parents ask me ...

    Come to think of it, it does rather seem that the whole Satna thing has been contrived just to undermine Faith, don'tchathink? Ooo, and look what it's an anagram of...

    Christ Fears Math

  147. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Not wanting to be offensive...

    Actually the conversation would go something like:

    Person of Religeous Belief (PRB) : "But I belive in God"

    Athiest Acedemic of Intellegence (AAI) : "Yes, thats because you are too stupid"

    PRB : "Indeed? Why do you think that?"

    AAI : "Research shows so. If you were less stupid you would have less faith"

    PRB : "OH, well that is terrible, why would someone be so petty and insecure as to invest time and energy in trying to prove that religious people, which would include Einstein and Newton as a minimum, are more stupid than none-religious people? It must be really nice to know and understand absolutely everything"

    AAI : " Shut up you stupid religious twat!!!!"

    PRB : "I forgive you."

    AAI : "Fuck you!!" *froths at mouth a bit*

    PRB : "I will pray for you as well."

    AAI : "Fuck you...Fuck you.. Fu.......aaarghh............" *falls over in a fit of fitting*

    Oh, I am not religious, but I think people who insult religion in general or religious people in general are really, really bad people. Teh sooner Dawkins shuts teh fuck up and goes away the better, IMHO.

  148. kalqlate
    Paris Hilton

    Nothing to do with intelligence...

    Belief of any kind has very little to do with intelligence, but everything to do with the timing and kinds of exposure one has throughout their life.

    The frequency and duration of exposure to particular messages during formative years, particularly from mentors and authority figures, and the lateness of exposure to plausible alternatives is the true benchmark for susceptibility for belief in something. Add to that the way a person chooses to tune their mind via their personal pursuits and you have the answer.

    Paris... because, compared to me and most of the posters on this thread, she's a social genius.

  149. Mike

    Calling all Athiests.....

    Who of you *knows* god does not exist?

    Very few I suspect, that's because in my experience an Atheist is someone who believes that god almost certainly does not exist and isn't prepared to live their life as if there is a god.

    Some stupid people (and I use the term deliberately) think that it has to be black, white (or one specific shade of grey), i.e. that there can either be believers, agnostics or disbelievers, this is the old "Atheiests don't exist" argument.

    Dawkins described this perfectly using a scale of 1-7, 1 being "knows god exists" and 7 being "knows god does not exist" 4 being exactly agnostic, you're more likely to find 1's out there than 7's because a person of faith needs no proof to "know" whereas even the most ardent of athiests will say "it's very unlikely that god exists" rather than "I know god does not exist", the trouble is many dictionaries are still using a 17th century definition of "Athiest" and it will take a while before the definition catches up with reality, see the next version of the DSM, theism will be in there as a mental disorder (and, no I ain't joking, not only are god believers stupid, but they are clinically insane :-)

  150. ElFatbob

    What i'd like to know is...

    who funds this shite?

  151. Mike

    Einstein was not a theist

    Even if you don't believe in the term Atheist, he didn't believe in god in the traditional* sense, but he did understand it.

    He said:

    "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

    Smart bloke.

    *Jewish, Islamic or Christian (Abrahamic, biblical god)

  152. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Do something Constructive ...... with Time in Space.

    If we cannot decide on the Nature of Our Old Gods why not decide on the Nature of Future Gods. You may discover they will Lead U2 .......Promised Lands.

  153. Ronald
    Flame

    God doesn't put much stock in our IQ....

    1 Corinthians 3:19

    For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness"

    Got your fire insurance.....???

  154. This post has been deleted by its author

  155. Unkle Al

    @Einstein was not a theist

    You beat me to it. Einstein was definitely not a theist.

    "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being." - AE

  156. Brock Linahan

    Doesn't surprise me, but...

    ...wouldn't it make more sense that it's a greater level of education that results in one being less likely to be religious, rather than in higher IQ? And in this case I think it would be education in the sciences, the scientific method, critical thinking. I'm an atheist, but if I was never educated at all, it seems quite possible that I wouldn't be. That would have nothing to do with IQ, just education.

  157. Dave Oldham
    Flame

    Think for Yourself?

    Most athiests have their thinking done for them by the likes of Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones, Sam Harris, Philip Pullman and Christopher Hitchens. (The list goes on.) The sad fact is that none of them have proved their point at all, but after all, how could they?

    The atheist position is quite simple; you live, you die, you decompose, the end. They claim that they "KNOW THIS FOR A FACT." They build easily knock-down able straw man arguments and think that they are clever. They use arguments against theories that have been rejected by creationists and have the gall to claim that creationists are stupid for believing them.

    But why do atheists persist in knocking down the Christians? The answer is in the bible. Ephesians 6:12 states “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

    If God did not exist, then neither would the principalities, powers, or the rulers of the darkness of this world. We wouldn’t even be having this discussion; we would all be atheists, with our feet up, enjoying the sunshine. Instead, we have the New Atheist spitting venom at believers all over the world, and state sponsored persecution in most countries, from mild ridicule, as this article is so blatantly demonstrates, to torture.

    If the persecution of Christians throughout the world was to stop over night, in all forms, I may well even question my own faith, for Ephesians 6:12 would then all of a sudden, be wrong.

    It is debates like this that offer further proof to me that God does indeed exist, and will one day judge this unbelieving world.

  158. Mark
    Stop

    Re: Calling all Athiests.....

    I know God doesn't exist. May he strike me down if I'm wrong. He did it before. Quite often, if you believe the Old Testament. I wank too. So I should be well overdue a smiting...

    Come on, people, the Reg headline was trolling and you've swallowed it.

    Think about it. The religious texts are confusing and contradcitory within themselves. When you read several texts, you read some similar stories but all saying THEY are the right one.

    If you're smart, you want to find things out.

    So you're more likely to see how these religious texts are NOT the word of God. Then you stop believing in THAT text.

    Now you may turn to something else, but you may not.

    And that, my friends, is how there can be a difference.

    Not because the belief in God makes you stupid, or that you must be stupid to believe in god. However, you can't be intelligent and not notice how the TEXTS are silly.

  159. Mark
    Stop

    Re: As an agnostic..

    Hmmm. Don't disguise yourself. You're a god-botherer. Why else would you characterise the condescention as "hate filled"? That's not hate. Unless you have a persecution complex.

    Condescention, maybe.

    Don't you know it's a sin to lie?

  160. Michael Carter

    God? what a joke

    OK, once upon a time everyone had multiple gods, fine, your brain needs something , fine.

    OK, this Egyptian king, Aken Aten, tutenkhamun's dad built a new city and decreed that there was only one god.,...... the sun god. At this time, this person named Moses took the israeli peoples away and decreed 'one god' ring a bell Eh? OK this so called one god is the egyptian god. think about it.

  161. Brock Linahan
    Thumb Up

    So true.

    Paul Buxton wrote:

    > Isn't this obvious? You've only got to look at the slogan on a US dollar > to prove this.

    Yeah. And at the saying "God save the Queen."

  162. Graham Marsden
    Joke

    They should get a Darwin Award...

    ... because they're risking a lightning bolt from the Heavens...!

    Erm...

  163. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    I really want to see some double-blind trials of this

    and I would like to raise one point in regard to "Lynn pointed out that most children do believe in God". Presumably this is "children how have grown up within a religious social context": I grew up in a completely non-religious family, and had absolutely no conception of what God was supposed to be until I reached school age, which lead to some very confusing conversations.

    None of my subsequent readings and investigations have caused me to believe in God (although, of course, seeing as God's existence can never be disproved, I find myself having to assume the uncomfortable, if scientifically robust, position of agnosticism. Damn those black swans, damn them to hell).

    I don't believe in aliens neither.

  164. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I can't believe you've gotten this far

    What's the difference between a religion and a cult ?

    The number of members.

  165. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @Dave Oldham - D'oh!

    Dave -

    I was really rooting for you mate - all that churchgoing hasn't gone unnoticed and I'm very grateful etc.

    But your argument fell apart. You can't have a go at atheists for getting all their arguments out of a book and then defend yourself by quoting the Bible...

    Tut tut. Anyway, see you next Sunday.

  166. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    God makes you stupid, researchers claim

    I have a simple solution for bridging the divide between believers and non believers of God. It really is quite simple.

    When people ask me if I believe in God I respond:

    "My experience of God is not based on faith or belief"

    How can that be? Simple. "God is, what is".

    God didn't make this world. God *is* this world. Where by "world" I mean all that is.

    Does God love you? Just as much as everyone loves you. Does God hate you? Just as much as everyone hates you? Is God neutral? Yes! In fact God is mostly neutral. In fact the amount of love and hate is 1 part in 10 to the 70th. The rest is neutral.

    So don't lie about God. He/She/It never spoke to you, except with the blue of the sky, the wind on your face, the babbling brook, the trees and grass, the animals in the daily activity.

    God is what is.

  167. Josh

    Logic-agram!

    Atheists = Smart

    Atheists reject God

    Christians = Stupid

    Christians accept God

    [Some] Atheists say that the Big Bang created the universe out of two forms of matter that somehow existed in nothingness.

    Christians say God created the universe from nothingness.

    [Some] Atheists say that Evolution somehow formed from the somehow Big Bang and somehow created sentient life.

    Christians say God created sentient life.

    Have you Atheists *seriously* considered those theories beyond "Well it's not God, therefore it works"?

  168. Hans Katan

    Define faith vs define intelligence

    If intelligence is measured ,then Belief or Faith should be measured too .Or is it enough being a believer or having Faith in some sort of Deity enough to be categorized as being less intelligent

    And what about agnostics where do they fit in.

    Being religious has nothing to do with intelligence ,as intelligence has nothing to with ethics . You can not add up two different things if you do not define either of them .

  169. Mike Silver badge

    I'd be better able to believe this...

    if I had never met Don Knuth. His is smarter and nicer than I will ever be, and is devout where I am an atheist.

    I understand that it is foolish to argue from such a small sample size, but it is also foolish to believe that statistics can be applied to individuals. I am taller than the average adult Chinese male, but Yao Ming is a bit taller yet. :-)

  170. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: As an agnostic..

    I characterise the condescention as "hate filled" because of the clear venow and anger with which it is deliverd. If all you can do is pick fault in sermatics, the please don't say anything.

    My point was that the athists seem to have nothing for contempt for the religious.Perhaps the phraise I should have used was ignorant, or ill infomed, or Dogmatic. The very things they trash religion for.

  171. Tom Silver badge

    People need to learn the definitions of an agnostic and an atheist

    An atheist is someone who believes/has faith that there is no god.

    An agnostic is someone who thinks religion is full of shit.

    The fellow moaning at people calling themselves agnostics when his definition of agnosticism differs from theres is probably an ignostic. He wants a definition of what God is before starting to think about whether it exists.

  172. Benjamin Johnson

    Study 2000 years too late...

    What I think is ironic is that the Bible already said as much thousands of years ago -- "science" is just now figuring it out:

    1 Corinthians 1:20-31

    Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

    Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

    -Benjamin

  173. Hans Katan

    how to measure someone's belief

    How could you measure someone's belief , if you use numbers on intelligence than you also have to measure the amount of faith .

  174. Alex McKenna

    Fairy Tales

    You can understand them telling kids to believe in god, fairies and so on, because it's a lot easier than telling them that we don't know the original of the universe, life and everything.

    Admitting we just don't know, and never will, is not that positive, so:

    The Fairies made us all! And designed the slime on every vile slug.

    There! Wasn't that easy.

    Or is the meaning of life = 42 ??

    Atheist, Denton, Manchester

  175. John Savard Silver badge

    Intelligence Not Always Beneficial

    I remember reading about an article in the Skeptical Inquirer about a study of the correlation between intelligence and education and belief in ghosts, UFOs, and things like that. Surprisingly, they found that as intelligence went up, belief in those things went up too, at first, although as intelligence increased further, belief in ghosts and UFOs went down.

    It turned out that traditional religious belief went away from the beginning as intelligence went up, but it got replaced by belief in astrology, tarot cards or whatever first, and intelligence had to go up even further before people accepted the word of science on these things.

  176. greg

    God is an onion

    And since none can prove God isn't an onion, nor can prove it's an orange, then it has to be an onion.

    Well, now less seriously : if a believer dies and there's nothing after, he won't even notice he was wrong; while if a non-believer dies and then start his other life, he'll (or she'll, let's not be sexist!) notice he was wrong.

    So, believers are people who refuse to take the risk to notice they were wrong, even if they may well be !

  177. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Well.

    That explains America then.

    And Dave Oldham - you are also an atheist. Unless you believe in Allah, Kali, Odin, Thor, Santa Claus et al. Perhaps you should think for yourself.

  178. Kenneth

    Jaws is in the bible (so i am told)

    The very fact that religious people believe that a character in the bible known as Jonah actually lived inside a fishes stomach for 3 days shows how much common sense they actually have. Also religious people dont admit that in dueteronomy it says every women who isnt a virgin when they get married has to be put to death! According to the bible also it says god is going to send everyone to hell nomatter what you have done...so whats the point in going to church to worship this guy anyway?

  179. Taskis
    Stop

    Same Old, Same Old...

    The article that triggered all these comments isn't as interesting (in a really grim sort of a way) as the comments themselves. The article itself isn't really worth much: it's just another anti-religionist having a pop at people who don't conform to the beliefs (or lack thereof) that he stipulates.

    But the comments... I think it's the total predictability of it that I find most depressing. There're some reasonable people in here who've spoken real wisdom, so I'm not slating *everyone* here. But mention 'religion' anywhere where there's a have-your-say facility, and the same argument will fire up, every single time, and it will eventually peter out having achieved precisely diddly squat. It always achieves diddly squat. But we keep on having it all the same. Why? The sole purpose of these 'debates' (and I'm being charitable there, because that implies a level most of them never reach) is for Group A to indulge their desire to insult and mock Group B, who don't believe what Group A think they should believe.

    It's so *monotonous*. Every argument has been tried and retried over and over and over again - there are whole websites devoted to nothing other than the endless repetition of pointless nitpicking, each side trying to find a way to prove the other wrong; each side consistently failing to do so.

    Truth is, yeah, you can pick holes in any religious belief if you want to. Doesn't make a blind bit of difference to the believer, though, so the only point in doing it really is self-indulgence. Oh, I know the arguments of the antis: they attack religion in some supposed retaliation for the evils of religion, because Religion Causes All The Wars, and Religious People Kill In The Name Of God, and all that guff. Well, yeah, as long as you're looking for the simplest and most convenient explanation, that's true enough to do the job. It gives you something easy to blame, rather than making you face up to the fact that humans kill each other because too many of them are still vicious and amoral little bastards, prone to anger and hatred and all too keen to indulge both. There's always something *behind* the religion, if you're willing to look for it, but the religion bit's a great scapegoat because it makes Them fundamentally different from Us, and we don't like to think we have things in common with our enemies.

    By the way, while we're on the subject, contrary to popular atheistic mockery, religion isn't always about easing the fear of death. I'm religious, and I firmly believe that I haven't got the first clue what happens after death, if anything (without knowing precisely what time or space or consciousness actually *are*, as far as I'm concerned the 'oblivion' hypothesis is just as much an assumption as any other, but I don't assume there's an afterlife either).

    When push comes to shove, no-one actually knows shit about where we are, who we are, what the point of life might be, or what the universe, or life, or consciousness, actually is. So if someone tells me that they've got reason to believe in some divine authority guiding their lives, well, that's no skin off my nose. Maybe they've got a reason to believe that. Maybe they've seen something I haven't. We've all got to find our own meaning in life. Too many people seem to think they've got the answer sheet for that question and that they're entitled to mark other people's work.

  180. Dave
    Happy

    Proof, not Faith

    I don't disbelieve the notion of a supreme being, given how hard it is to prove a negative, but until it provides me with proof of its existence I'll carry on assuming it's not there due to lack of evidence.

    I'll refer everyone to Heinlein's "Job - A Comedy of Justice" for a suggestion as to what it's really like Up There.

  181. David
    Joke

    Who is really the fool?

    So one is more intelligent if they believe a singularity with less intelligence than a dog (i.e, no intelligence) came up with infinitely better and infinitely more designs than NASA and supercomputers who are very intelligent.

    Perhaps those who profess to be the intelligent of the world are really fools because they can't see the obvious.

  182. Adrian Esdaile
    Coat

    What about pirates, hmmm?

    That research would also tend to show that the decline of pirates is also due to high IQs, and that not excess CO2 emission, but high-IQ is actually the cause of global warming!

    In the name of the Invisible Pink Unicorn, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Tooth Fairy and the Great Green Arkleseizure, Amen!

    Anyway, everyone knows they are all just engrams planted by Xenu! Hail Xenu!

    Mine's the Pope Hat with the pentagrams and goat-horns, heathen infidel!

  183. Martin Lyne
    Stop

    For all the comments on intelligence..

    ..the spelling in most of the comments is bloody atrocious. Freedom to question (i.e., without being burnt as a heretic) is surely a factor? Admittedly, increased intelligence might have been the cause of the releasing of constrictions and inquisitions.

    But then we all know religion is a power-tool, so perhaps intelligent people just don't want to be manipulated so they do what you can when given new inquisitive freedoms and destroyed the control mechanism (albeit, personally).

    If you think "God" put fossils in the ground to "make us question" then, I'm afraid, you are massively deluded. Occam's razor.

  184. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    I've always felt that the jury's still out on this one

    I think there is a creator, or perhaps to put it better, intelligence beyond this universe. However, I don't think that if there's a god, that he or it takes an active hand. More like setting a program or simulation up to run, kicking it off, and letting it do what it may. Oddly enough, I do believe in life after death and reincarnation. "Do it over and over until you get it right, and then you can move on" makes a lot of sense to me, and I think there is ample, if circumstantial evidence to support this. I hope that if I'm wrong, that my rants when driving or dealing with a particularly recalcitrant piece of equipment haven't consigned me to a rather hot, miserable realm, even worse than my normal life. Of course, if there's no god or purpose, perhaps I should just kill my amply deserving neighbors.

    Currently if I see a Christian symbol or 'Jesus fish' on a business, I'll do my best to avoid it, as I always expect them to be the most swindling, self-serving, unctuous wastes of DNA around.

    I've always thought of myself as at least somewhat moral, and perhaps the fact that most of us that DON'T necessarily believe in god still manage to be somewhat more honorable people overall (in my experience) than the religious folks, makes us actually more "godly", since we're really doing our best from a true kind of faith, and not from fear of being banned from the cosmic field trip, like so many kiss-ass fools trying to wow the vice president to get a promotion.

  185. Stomfi
    Happy

    High IQ is not a prerequisite for leaders

    Obviously our academic leaders need a higher IQ to get the job.

    If leaders in all walks of life had to pass an IQ test to get the job, we would have more free thinkers being educated and employed in decision making. This in turn would lead to more free thinking, higher IQs and less reliance on using God as an excuse for policies.

    The average IQ voters would be better off, as their representatives would only be able to come from a pool of intelligent persons, not those that put on a popular act like today's reps.

    The average IQ consumer would be better off, as business leaders would have to compete more intelligently as their competition would be more intelligent, which would result in better products and services.

    The average IQ religious follower would be better off, as leaders would have to make life on earth better for their believers.

    All in all, even if high IQ persons did not believe in God or even have to say they did like our secular leader have to in today's world, life for the rest of us would be markedly better as a larger pool of higher IQs would increase the average to the point where all forms of advertising and propaganda would have to appeal more to a person's intellect and less to their emotion.

  186. John Armstrong-Millar

    Marvelous waste of time

    Wow. so much on this one. Some of the replies are really great . but you are ALL missing the point..

  187. Rod Weston
    Linux

    I can't disagree more

    First that academics have higher IQs than other people - IQ tests are custom-fitted to academics by academics, therefore academics perform well. It's comparable to defining your superiority to a person for whom English is a second language in terms of your (English) language skills. Academics fail to impress me as superior in any respect in comparison to any other group.

    Second that you must be stupid to believe in God. Many of the greatest minds in history professed belief in God and sought wisdom in the Bible and other religious writings. Indeed, there has never been a time when so many have possessed rudimentary literary skills yet wasted them on such trivial and purposeless pursuits. We have become wise in our own eyes, but have become fools in truth.

  188. Evan Jones

    Judgement Day

    I am an atheist.

    But I doubt I'd ever vote for one.

  189. Mark
    Alien

    @Taskis

    Why is it the god botherers keep putting up someone for the "hey, look, I'm being reasonable here" spiel who then fuck it up by saying "and all atheists are hateful meanies" in there?

    There are people who HATE that people don't believe what they do. They are the god-botherers. No atheist HATES the god botherers because of what THEY believe in but they do hate what they try to make everyone else believe. The god-botherers have some people who have a MASSIVE amount of vitriol for people who don't believe in god.

    They keep trying to point out how silly the deep science is.

    So? We know. At the moment, things like The Big Bang is a tentative theory. It does explain things but we don't know yet whether it's true.

    When we point out how silly the bible (or torah/whatever) is, you defend it with "yeah, it's still ESSENTIALLY true".

    See the difference? Science allows it can be wrong. Religion doesn't.

  190. Josh

    RE: Jaws is in the bible (so i am told)

    Skipping over to the NEW TESTAMENT, where JESUS HIMSELF is changing the way things are played...

    * Saved people (i.e. All people that have accepted Jesus into their hearts) go to Heaven, despite what they have done.

    ** If you read things like Deuteronomy, then you've probably read the New Testament where Jesus rescues to prostitute and totally outsmarts the Pharisees and Sadducees.

    * I don't see what's so hard to believe about being inside a whale for three days. It would be completely possible if it didn't swallow you either.

  191. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Kenneth - just you wait!

    "According to the bible also it says god is going to send everyone to hell nomatter what you have done"

    I'm not sending everyone Kenneth, but I'm definitely sending you. You are going to spend eternity being tortured with a giant apostrophe, as a punishment for not using them in your posts.

  192. James Anderson Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @GOD

    Piss off you don't exist!

    Go on bugger off or I will set amanfrommars on you!

    Unbelievable.

  193. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Thinking Out of the Box ....

    "OK, this Egyptian king, Aken Aten, tutenkhamun's dad built a new city and decreed that there was only one god.,...... the sun god." .... By Michael Carter Posted Thursday 12th June 2008 19:34 GMT

    Take away the Sun and all Life dies, Frozen in Darkness at Absolute Zero in an Instant? No wonder they worshipped its Life Giving Power. And Sharing such Thoughts in IT can easily alter the Balance of Power to IT Controllers ....... and Virtual Great Games Players on ARGonautical Quests/ESPecial Operations.

    "It always achieves diddly squat. But we keep on having it all the same. Why? The sole purpose of these 'debates' (and I'm being charitable there, because that implies a level most of them never reach) is for Group A to indulge their desire to insult and mock Group B, who don't believe what Group A think they should believe." ... By Taskis Posted Friday 13th June 2008 01:06 GMT

    And Boldly going in Group C, Taskis, would presumably have one discussing something QuITe Different, if one dismisses A and B Arguments and Contrary Positions as Simply Complex Red Herrings which serve the Past Order of things rather than Servering to Future Needs with New Original Feeds/NeuReal Novel Source.

  194. Rob Pomeroy
    IT Angle

    Not enough evidence for God?

    Nah, you really aren't looking hard enough are you... (The very same evidence the non-theistic scientists use to posit God's non-existence, the theist uses to posit the opposite. There's plenty of evidence - the difference is in how we choose to interpret it.)

    Bravo Taskis. (Well for paragraphs 1 to 5 anyway.)

    So a hefty chunk of the comments above can be summarised as: "I am intelligent. You don't believe what I believe therefore you are stupid and [insert insult of choice here]." Such "logic" speaks for itself, doesn't it?

    It's nice to see all the old favourites being trotted out here anyway, such as:

    "The bible is full of contradictions. (It must be, I heard it somewhere. Haven't really read it myself though because it is obviously bunkum. At least that what they told me in [school/college/the pub])."

    "Religion is all about control." (Ah, so atheistic communism is about what, exactly? And remind me what Hitler, Stalin and all the other Nietzsche disciples were up to?)

    "Religion is responsible for all evils." (See previous paragraph.)

    "Science has proven God doesn't exist and the sooner the theists get this into their thick skulls, the better it'll be for everyone." (An amusingly faith-based statement of belief.)

    "Look at George Bush. He believes in God and he is obviously stupid." (*cough* One of the most powerful men in the world? Is that jealousy I detect?)

    Disappointingly I haven't spotted the "If there's a God, why all the suffering" classic yet, but give it time.

    The only suprising thing is that no one seems to have brought homosexuality or abortion into the debate yet. ;-)

    I.T. angle? Well Reg, this gets the page hits up, doesn't it!

  195. grant@laurenson.org
    Happy

    Sir Isaac Newton Said...

    "Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done." and apparently wrote more on religion than science What he wrot en science was pretty good ...

  196. Ferry Boat

    I believe now

    I didn't believe until I saw the comments from God. He seems to know what's the score so I'm convinced. Go God go.

  197. Ascylto

    Cruisers

    "God makes you stupid"

    Tom Crews (avoidance of alien law suit) believes in the works of ELRon Cupboard (avoidance of alien law suit).

    Case proven.

  198. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dave Oldham

    "If God did not exist, then neither would the principalities, powers, or the rulers of the darkness of this world."

    So say you. I say God isn't required. If God made us, what made God. How come *It* was first? Maybe the Bible just doesn't mention it.

    The things that drive peoples' faith/belief in God are so riddled with inconsistencies that get handwaved away, that it is non-rational to believe.

    There are gaping holes in the understanding that Science provides, but they're not just signed off as "unknowable". And anyway, Science doesn't claim anything about God, since, as has been said, it's a more philosphical subject than physical, but the philopsophy of Science can be applied.

  199. Alan Fisher
    Coat

    Let the people choose

    I've stayed off posting and just sat and read the debate and found I agree with Taskis...I'm an agnostic but, as long as no religous person attempts to shove their beliefs down my throat (I have an issue with those on the street who constantly tell me I'm going to Hell and so forth, then try to make me believe I am wrong in my own belief)..I have my own personal belief and do not deny the existance of some Intelligence higher than our own who may or may not have had a hand in creating lots of things; I cannot accept pure randomicity of creation, too many things are too perfectly conceived. Therefore everyone else is entitled to their own beliefs, whether they square with mine or not. It is arrogance in the extreme to be of the mindset that you are unquestionably right on such weighty topics as the purpose and meaning of life, the Infinate and the universe.

    I do not despise religion per se, I do dispise arrogance though

  200. David
    IT Angle

    @oliver Stieber

    Angles most certainly do exist, I've seen them. Angel's on the other hand...

  201. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No longer cool to be an atheist

    agnostics still hanging in there, though.

    How about; Writing Psychology Reports Makes you a Moron.

    Same premise, but slightly more insulting.

  202. nassim
    Paris Hilton

    How about a study that measures anti-conformism and IQ?

    and pleasure-inclination and -religious for example- conformism?

    IMO The problem doesn't seem about any god(s) (a thing, an idol), but rather about believing (an individual's personality characteristic).

    I don't see any difference between "scientists" believing in a theory (which is a very sophisticated and relatively robust hypothesis, absolutely not designed to be believed in) and "religious" believing in anything officially declared religion (which is a naive, superficial and low quality hypothesis absolutely designed to be believed in).

    Both are about believing, which lower you Central Brain Processor occupation and allow your Brain to go to power-saving mode ..ZZzzz...errr which is of course very pleasant...and could be dangerous.

    Perhaps belief in all its form is just our brains HALT instruction...

    BTW my first post in TheReg :)

    And Paris cause sheez my Godess...

    From Morocco with love :P

  203. Alan Fisher

    @Rob Pomeroy

    I have read the bible from cover to cover mate; just because I don't beleive does not mean I belittle and don't bother to inform myself...I could go on for some time about how the Gospels argue with one another, disagree and never quite add up but I'm not getting into that kind of debate now

    (have a look at Genesis then, God makes Woman TWICE..why would He do that then?)

    the book is not the belief, surely one can believe in God while accepting monks may have made a mistake or two while copying the bible out? Why get angry when people criticse the Dogma...surely the Belief is what matters?

  204. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Josh, @Ferry Boat @James Anderson

    @Josh -

    "* I don't see what's so hard to believe about being inside a whale for three days. It would be completely possible if it didn't swallow you either."

    Look, I don't want to be critical of "one of my own", so to speak, but this is exactly why we have so much trouble persuading people that I exist. You see, it *is* hard to believe - if you are a normal rational person who knows full well that a whale isn't constructed internally like a Japanese micro-hotel and that a man probably couldn't survive more than 3 seconds in there, let alone 3 days.

    Of course, we both know that I made up a special magic whale, because I'm like a sort of large-scale David Copperfield, but that doesn't make it easy to believe. So I would suggest easing back a bit - you don't want to look too gullible or else people will think you're a nutter.

    @Ferry Boat - cheers, nice one. I've reserved a spot for you on my right hand (no, not in that way, I'm not like Frankie Howerd).

    @James - two words for you mate: "Sodom" and "Gomorrah". You can't tell God to piss off without consequences, know what I'm saying?

    PS - I'm using this flame icon because it looks rather like a burning bush. However, I'm sure it won't be too long before the Reg gives me a proper icon, worthy of my deity-style position.

  205. Steen Hive
    Coat

    @Religious people

    Centuries of burning women at the stake in misogynist orgies isn't really paid back by a little withering scorn, now is it?

  206. Donkey
    Jobs Halo

    God has left the building

    It was necessary to invent God(s) because people were afraid of the unknown. As countries become more civilised we don't need gods any more.

    Any one who seriously believes that the so called creator of the universe (if such a creature existed) would be interested in the activities on this tiny insignificant planet, any one who thinks that such a being would require people to meet in groups and sing songs to it or kneel down and talk to it (let alone prostrate themselves on some sort of rug 3 times a day) has serious mental problems and in my opinion should not be allowed to vote or hold any form of high office.

    In fact they should all be held in contempt for their stupidity. If God Botherers are offended by that then tough titty! I am offended by the credence given to their risible antics and the effect it has on my every day life. However none of us has the right not to be offended. So I say keep ridiculing these morons and eventually the whole stupid concept will degenerate and disappear.

    BTW God told me to say that.

  207. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not compatible

    Losing belief in God = God not compatible with a person's desires

    Being an academic (or, more generally, an adult striving for recognition and success) is a cut-throat business and it can make a person very uncomfortable behaving in certain ways if they believe in God. They can think that belied in God is limiting them and stopping them from reaching their true potential. Which is true. I prefer the constant introspection, empathy and thought about my own behaviour that maintaining belief in God demands.

  208. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

    Is it that belief in God makes you stupid? Or do stupid people believe in God? Who funds this type of research? I suppose if you're stupid and watch an apple fall to the ground, you might be temped to say, "It was God's will" rather than "Gravity made the apple fall." Everyone needs a security blanket to explain the unknown. In algebra, we call that an unknown variable.

  209. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    @Donkey

    I haven't left the building, I'm still here.

    Actually, I'm still *everywhere* - that's one of my best tricks IMHO.

    I'm quite enjoying this thread and I'm wondering if it holds the Reg record for most comments yet?

    PS - I didn't tell you to say anything. Those voices in your head are just delusions.

    Tux, because I made penguins as well.

  210. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doubts

    From the article: "but as their intelligence develops they tend to have doubts or reject religion".

    This suggests that intelligence demands that a person reject anything they have doubts about... which makes me think that perhaps trust is something that intelligent people find harder than others (are divorce rates higher for people with higher IQ?). Another thing many, many "intelligent" people seem to have a problem with is looking stupid, or the thought that someone thinks they're stupid. "How dare you!", they'll say furiously, "I've got a first class honours degree in Mathematics and an IQ of 148". I think that stems from a doubt in oneself. Doubt oneself and you start to doubt your beliefs and trust becomes difficult.

    Intelligent people have it hard. I'm glad I'm a thicko.

  211. Mike

    @Rob Pomeroy (Not enough evidence for god?)

    Biblical contradictions:

    Start here, it's a long read, but there are lots of contradictions in the damn bible.

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

    "And remind me what Hitler, Stalin and all the other Nietzsche disciples were up to"

    How about, Hitler was a christian (it was well documented in Mein Kampf and in many of his speeches) , and even if you want to argue the point and say he was trying to claim to be Aryan and just using the christian faith for his own ends then you must accept that his anti semitic views and worship of god(s) were perhaps a little theistic?

    Stalin was almost certainly an Atheist, but was that the reason he did bad things to people? what bad things in this world are done in the name of not beliving in god compared to all the bad things done in this world because of believing in god?

    Theism make people do bad things to other people, Atheism doesn't

  212. Steven Goddard
    Thumb Down

    North Korea must be the most moral country on earth

    Now that we understand that "religion is the root of all evil," we are enlightened to realize that the genocide of 90 million people by atheists Stalin and Mao, were acts of kindness and intelligence. Kim Jung Il is no doubt a moral giant

    Some quotes from a man of above slightly average intelligence - Albert Einstein

    "Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble."

    "The scientists' religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."

  213. Doug Lynn

    People who believe in God are stupidier, yes in an athesist opinion only...

    Hi, this is a crock of crap, i had an IQ of 155 in high school and I had already come to Christ and was born again at 12. I read the Bible, saw its message as a whole and believed in the Jewish Messiah Jesus Christ. My SAT showed only 3% of kids my age above me, they were my friends and they believed too. Also God more intelligent than any man, for the wisest man's knowledge is but foolishness to God. I am that I am.

  214. Mike

    Re: North Korea must be the most moral country on earth

    >genocide of 90 million people by atheists Stalin and Mao, were acts of kindness and intelligence

    Nope, but they were clever people who did bad things, more importantly they didn't do it in the name of Atheism, Atheism wasn't a factor i what they did, whereas it's a little bit easier to find people who do bad things in the name of their god (they're just a stones throw away ;-)

    p.s. stop trying to imply Einstein was a theist, he was smarter than that.

  215. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    If there IS a god, It's the SUN. And he has a bet with his star buddies:

    Who can make the doofiest life form.

    I think he is winning

  216. Yogesh
    Heart

    God and Religion too are based on some scientific fact

    May be the conclusion is right for a majority of people. Commonly people don't want to trouble themselves with details of the fact and researching. But it doesn't mean that God and religion are responsible for this.

    Even God is a scientific fact, after all what is god, a super natural force and it stands for every things that goes into this universe, things that govern these universal truths, laws of science all stand for god.

  217. Steve

    Curiosity killed the cat?

    A biblically-based Christian cannot argue against this principle in my opinion. Jesus even taught that the wisdom of this world, quite possibly measured by IQ and/or intelligence tests, was foolishness to God (and his followers) and visa versa. Maybe this is one case where ‘ignorance’ is either a benefit or a curse... depending on where the truth lies.

  218. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    the Darren Gallagher Marketing Campaign For Intelligent Design

    Because even god likes Science!!

    * Tag under a poster of Buddy Christ wearing a T-shirt with Einstien Poking his togue out*.

    Science says if it doesn't work crack on with something else. religion says if it doesn't work , lets just bend the story a little and all will be well.

    Christ on a Bike, although a very well designed bike by Raliegh. Lets look at Scientology for this one, please. Darth Vader scooping up souls and making the world a bad place. A bastard five year old athiest would tell you to piss off. Adn yet still believe in Santa. Bizarre that huh? May be the gift aspect!

    Mines the Red one with the Fur collar and the bike for Jesus in the pocket.

  219. Philip Galanter

    What "agnostic" and "atheist" mean

    Much of the disagreement here is due to ambiguity and lack of precision in the language being used.

    Atheist simply refers to anyone who doesn't believe that God exists. Some problems turn on the word "believe." Some atheists deny they are saying they *know* God doesn't exist, they simply believe God doesn't exist. Others don't like it when others point out that atheism is also a faith based belief.

    In fact both have a point, but what an atheist can't claim is both formulations. If an atheist wants to claim rationality leads them to *know* God doesn't exist, then they are obliged to provide rational proof. If they merely want to say they *believe* God doesn't exist but can't prove it, then they have to acknowledge that there is some degree of faith beyond pure rationality involved.

    In other words every atheist has a choice. They can either offer a proof or admit that their atheism is to some extent an article of faith. What they can't say is "I can't prove God doesn't exist, but I nevertheless know for sure he doesn't."

    When it comes to agnostics there are two kinds, sometimes called hard-boiled and soft-boiled.

    The hard-boiled agnostic says that not only do they not know whether God exists, they don't believe anyone else can know either.

    The soft-boiled agnostic says that they don't know whether God exists, nor do they know whether it is even possible to know one way or the other.

    I embrace soft-boiled agnosticism. It seems to me that if God as posited did exist, that God by definition could see to it that individuals *know* that he exists. In other words, if God exists then divine revelation must be a possibility.

    I don't think the hard-boiled agnostic has a reasonable response to the observation that if they don't know whether God exists or not, they also can't know whether divine revelation is possible or not.

  220. archie lukas
    Flame

    God likes war, death, pain and sufferring - personal experience

    I've been in war Zones where two opposing forces kill each other claiming God is on their side.

    When fails they try to kill women and children.

    Medics from one religion help the other wounded.

    Men swearing allegiance to their own God then kill the medics.

    People cry for food, children die - starving

    but there's always money for guns and bullets -always

    yet no-one ever asks how?

    Why not?

    Nations maim and injure each other singing the praises of their Gods, some even induct them into the army as chaplains - holy soldiers if you like.

    In peace time these various priests hurt, maim and rape children

    or simply for not toeing the religious path or love-line.

    This happens in ALL the Major religions -so don't try to get prissy and clever

    Ignorance decrees that we ignore these obvious truths because we don't like them

    Ignorance is Humankinds enemy and ignorant men with guns are the Devil incarnate

    Religion = Ignorance?

    Scientists design weapons - does that make them ignorant?

    [Insert extreme expletives of your choice here to the contributors of this misery]

    Personally - I have nothing whatsoever to do with any of them anymore.......

    Medic

  221. Philip

    Doesn't Matter

    It is all good debating whether god(s) exists or not, if one does a risk analysis, then you should believe in god. If one takes risk to mean probability of occurrence multiplied by consequences, then, if there is say only a one in a billionth chance that god does indeed exist and that the consequences for not believing in him is eternity in hell.

    Thus, 0.000..(add arbitrary finite amount of zeros)..0001 x eternity in hell = very big risk. So, one should believe in god, if one is willing to admit that there is a non-zero possibility that he exists. The problem is, that believing in a god for fear of eternity in hell, might not necessarily pass as believing in god, in which case you are doomed.

    I have resigned myself to the fact that regardless of what any religious person says, I shall doubt whether god exists, and conclude that if he does, he is very uninterested and uninvolved in my life. If god created me, he created me to question his existence for I cannot do otherwise. All I can do is hope, that if he does exist, he won't hold the fact that he created me this way against me.

    Perhaps, in a way, it could be said that I have a great deal of faith in the grace of God (if he happens to exist).

  222. Steven Goddard
    Thumb Down

    Re: Mike

    You seem to be having difficulty interpreting Einstein's words, yet he is extremely clear. Perhaps some further quotes will help.

    "There are people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views."

    Albert Einstein

    "God is clever, but not dishonest." Albert Einstein

    "When the solution is simple, God is answering" Albert Einstein

    "God does not play dice with the universe." Albert Einstein

    "What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos" Albert Einstein

    "The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who--in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses'-- cannot hear the music of the spheres.

    " Albert Einstein

  223. Taskis

    @ Mark

    << Why is it the god botherers keep putting up someone for the "hey, look, I'm being reasonable here" spiel who then fuck it up by saying "and all atheists are hateful meanies" in there? >>

    I didn't say that. I don't believe that. I said 'anti-religious' people, which means people who're anti-religion, not just those who happen not to believe.

    The simple truth is that both sides have their reasonable people and a comparative handful of 'hateful meanies'. The problem is that too many people don't want to bother making a distinction between the two. It's easier, and more comfortable, to hate a preconceived idea of someone than to take time to find out who they really are.

    << There are people who HATE that people don't believe what they do. They are the god-botherers. No atheist HATES the god botherers because of what THEY believe in but they do hate what they try to make everyone else believe. >>

    That's the common enough defence, sure. "We only do it because of what they do". But the fact is it's gone on too long now. No-one knows who fired the first shot, and furthermore it doesn't make any real difference at this point. Yeah, sure, there are fanatical religious idiots who want the world to bow before them (in the name of their god/s, of course). There are equally fanatical anti-religious idiots who assume all religion is one religion and that every religious person is the same.

    The fact is that religion isn't the root of all evil. Neither is atheism. Neither is money, for that matter; or sex. *Human nature* is the root of all evil, and everything else is just excuses.

    << The god-botherers have some people who have a MASSIVE amount of vitriol for people who don't believe in god. >>

    There's more than enough vitriol on both sides: all of it worthless.

    << They keep trying to point out how silly the deep science is. >>

    Some, maybe. Not most, and certainly not all. I'll offer my religious belief as an example: as a God-botherer myself, I consider science a way to find out about the universe, and trying to separate the universe from divinity is a pointless exercise akin to trying to separate salt from sodium chloride. The earlier question about whether an apple falls because of gravity or the will of God misses the point that they are, in effect, the very same thing.

    << At the moment, things like The Big Bang is a tentative theory. It does explain things but we don't know yet whether it's true. >>

    We're pretty sure. It's not as tentative as you suggest. Theories generally aren't. But if you want tentative, there is plenty of it around. Consider the Copenhagen-versus-Many-Worlds question; or more interestingly still, the question of whether particles (and by extension reality itself) have any objective qualities while they're not being measured. *Those* are tentative we-don't-knows, and fascinating for it.

    << See the difference? Science allows it can be wrong. Religion doesn't. >>

    And do you see where *you've* gone wrong? You've assumed that all religion must conform to your preconception of it.

    Many of those acting as champions for, or opponents of, science labour under the misapprehension that science and religion are fundamentally (pardon me) opposed. They're not. They're not competing for the same prize. Science is a matter of the objective, the empirical, and the material. Religion is matter of feeling; of the soul (whatever you consider that to be). The one does not require or deny the other.

    Still, at 200-odd comments and climbing, it's still worth bearing in mind that this discussion will probably change no-one's mind about anything, or serve any constructive purpose.

  224. ratfox Silver badge

    Belief and science

    It's debatable whether you have to be stupid to believe in God...

    But you do have to be stupid to believe such a scientist^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H statistician.

    (for some reason, Firefox did not want to load this page... what is Firefox's IQ?)

  225. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Notice how stupid the god-botherers are here?

    .....they seem to have trouble with their spelling. Poor shrill dears...

    Also notice they are prone to lie in support of their irrational beliefs?

    Albert Einstein was not in any way a god-botherer:

    "I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)".

    It is an intellectual impossibility to be in possession of an advanced intellect and to maintain irrational beliefs, unless you have a mental illness.

    Personally, I am a non-practising atheist, but I must say it drives me nuts spending that hour a week at church listening to all that utter baloney.

    To the poster who says there is an inverse relationship between "intelligence and bigotry": rubbish. I have a massive IQ and also have an intense loathing for backward cultures and their idiotic religions.

  226. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irrationality hiding behind fake "reasonableness"

    "there are fanatical religious idiots who want the world to bow before them (in the name of their god/s, of course). There are equally fanatical anti-religious idiots"

    EQUALLY FANATICAL????

    Absolute balls, rubbish, crap, nonsense.

    Religious idiots go around persecuting people and murdering them with bombs and guns in the name of their irrational beliefs.

    Non-religious people do nothing of the sort.

    Religious idiots gather together in groups and commit mass suicide/polygamy+child molesting/female genital mutilation/etc... in the name of their idiotic religions.

    Non-religious people do nothing of the sort.

    Non-religious people go about their business using reason and intellect - usually trying to make the world a better place.

    That there is a clear observable link between intelligence and atheism is hardly suprising - we all know that dumber people have dumber ideas, and religion is a pretty big dumb irrational idea, up there with Astrology, Homeopathy, Aliens, etc...(which are observably all ideas that the dumbest among us cling to.

    Oh, and those of you who can't even spell - PLEASE go back to school before imposing on us any more of your atrociously mis-spelled and brainless contributions.

  227. archie lukas
    Flame

    To debate or not to debate?

    Quote: "Still, at 200-odd comments and climbing, it's still worth bearing in mind that this discussion will probably change no-one's mind about anything, or serve any constructive purpose."

    But surely debate is a good thing?

    Or should it only be allowed when it re-inforces ones tightly held viewpoint?

    Religious characters - this means YOU AND the unwashed characters

  228. Jon Harvey
    Happy

    WOW! The Bible is proven right again!

    Errr. Sorry but Paul the Apostle beat you to the punch! He said in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 that God has chosen the foolish things of this world. The things that are not (stupid people) to bring to nothing the things that are (Intellegent people) . That no flesh should glory in His presence.

    Oh the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgements and His ways past finding out.

    HeadScrewedOnRight

  229. Bruce Sinton
    Paris Hilton

    IQ - out of date

    I read some time ago that this IQ idea had been rejected as , well a bit of bullshit,

    unscientific and all that.

    Actually I have no idea what I would register on the IQ scale, or even how it is obtained , or who does it.

    Is there a standard test?

    My favourite icon, good girl.

    ,

  230. John Angelico
    Paris Hilton

    Must be Friday...

    Even Paris would know that...

  231. Dave
    Alert

    visualisation could help settle it

    without playmobil we'll never have a true answer.

  232. Mike

    @Steven Goddard

    >You seem to be having difficulty interpreting Einstein's words, yet he is extremely clear. Perhaps some further quotes will help.

    Many people have quoted bits of Einstein to their own ends, this made him angry (as you point out), you are continuing this and it insults his memory, he tried to clarify this because, no, a one-liner by itself is not "extremely clear";

    These are his words, written in english (24th March 1954):

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

    I think either you are ignoring his own words as they don't meet what you want to hear from him (deluding yourself) or you are (as the study finds) incapable of logic, stupid, perhaps.

  233. Steven Goddard
    Thumb Down

    Re: Mike

    Einstein was angered by people such as yourself, who used his words to claim there is not a God. He said that in no uncertain terms.

    "There are people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views." Albert Einstein

    The fact that he did not believe towards the end of his life in a "personal God" hardly negates his lifelong belief in a "vastly superior" spirit and intelligence, which manifests itself everywhere in the universe. Most people call that spirit and intelligence "God."

    "Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble." Albert Einstein

    Your attempts to deride others' intelligence belies your immaturity and lack of confidence in your position. Perhaps you are not "seriously involved in the pursuit of science?"

    Every natural culture on the planet shares the same basic concept of God. Only perverse, forced, autocratic belief systems like Communism deny it. Your belief system should make North Korea a land of geniuses - because they are not burdened by religion.

    "Science without religion is lame" Albert Einstein

  234. Kenneth

    Hey Josh #2

    The articles was called "God makes you stupid"

    I dont know you but know you must be religious. You said it was perfectly possible to live inside a fish. Obviously you know fishes live underwater? How did Jonah breathe or survive for 3 days? Please explain

    You have proven the article title as having some relevance that "God makes you stupid"

  235. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    trouble ahead for those intelligent, questioning minds

    Many wars, mass murders, etc...can be linked in some way to to one religion or another. Those killed in these conflicts are of opposing beliefs (having no belief is an opposing belief). The intelligent, questioning mind that decides god does not exist are often those same minds labeled bleeding heart liberals and highly opposed to war, harsh criminal sentences, etc..So in conclusion I would suggest that they should really get RIGHT WITH GOD cause when the war and revolution come they'll need something upon which to cling.

    Paris because she's hot baby

  236. Kenneth

    hey Josh

    * I don't see what's so hard to believe about being inside a whale for three days. It would be completely possible if it didn't swallow you either.

    In order to get inside a fishes stomach it has to swallow you first

    And supposing he did live inside a fish for 3 days - what did he do to pass the time?

  237. Taskis

    My last post on this one

    ... Assuming the mods allow it, of course.

    @ Anonymous Coward

    << EQUALLY FANATICAL???? >>

    Yes. Equally fanatical.

    The accusations you direct at 'religious idiots' are fair - to an extent - so long as they're directed at people who are idiots because they abuse religion to justify the crimes they want to commit. If, however, you then extend your assumption of idiocy to everyone religious *and assume based on that that they all commit such crimes*, then that's *not* fair. And at that point, yes, you're the sort of fanatic I'm talking about.

    As I said, there are people on both sides who're unwilling to question their own comfortable preconceptions. In the case of the non-religious fanatic, that's the sort of person who blames religion, and all the religious, for all the evils that some have done in its name. It's easy to accept the most obvious cause for these various immoralities, because it saves one having to think - and the fanatic (on either side) prefers not to bother thinking too much. But where religion is offered as justification for wickedness, you'll find - if you look - that there's always something else behind it: the desire for power, or wealth, or whatever.

    Religion does not cause people to behave shittily towards each other. People do that anyway. Religion gives them something to hide behind while they do it. Yes, abhor the killers. Abhor the abusers. Abhor the rapists and the thieves. Abhor them *whether they're religious or not*. But save your bile for those who do these things. Those who don't, whether they're religious or not, don't deserve to be treated as though they're guilty, and only a bigot would do so.

    << religion is a pretty big dumb irrational idea, up there with Astrology, Homeopathy, Aliens, etc... >>

    I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume that, by 'aliens', you mean the X-Files kind of alien, rather than the idea of extraterrestrial life. Extraterrestrial life as a possibility causes no particular problems for science, and indeed some would argue that dismissing the possibility out of hand would be irrational in such a big universe.

    @ archie lukas

    << But surely debate is a good thing? >>

    Sure, it is, if anyone involved has the slightest intention of listening to anyone else's point of view. Unfortunately, where this subject is concerned, as you can see from this comments page, that's not the usual attitude. There are some, yes, but the 'passionate' advocates for each side, safe in the knowledge that theirs is the superior position, usually feel no need to try to see things from the other's point of view. And while debate can be a good thing, endless repetitions of the same fruitless arguments and epithets demonstrably serve no useful purpose except to give the irate types on both sides a chance to indulge themselves.

    By the way, to all those quoting and counter-quoting Einstein: first, he wasn't religious in the sense of recognising a personal God. Second, and more important, Einstein's opinions about religion are *absolutely irrelevant*. Both sides clearly want to claim the genius for themselves: but just because Einstein was a genius in certain terms doesn't mean he was any better qualified than the rest of us to know the answer to this particular question. Let the poor guy rest in peace.

  238. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fanatical religious idiots

    << EQUALLY FANATICAL???? >>

    "Yes. Equally fanatical."

    Who are you trying to kid?

    Religious people all over the world are busy blowing up the "other side"'s churches/mosques/temples and killing people on account of their religious views.

    Just last week, a gang entered a mosque in Algeria during friday prayers, hauled two men out of the assembly, took them out into the courtyard and shot them dead, telling everybody "we are doing Allah's will".

    These stories happen every day of every week.

    Now, find me the equivalent story where these "fanatical" atheists you imagine to exist go around murdering anybody on account of their views about religion.

    IT DOES NOT HAPPEN.

  239. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lame attempt at rational argument by god-botherer

    "Atheist simply refers to anyone who doesn't believe that God exists. Some problems turn on the word "believe." Some atheists deny they are saying they *know* God doesn't exist, they simply believe God doesn't exist. Others don't like it when others point out that atheism is also a faith based belief.

    In fact both have a point, but what an atheist can't claim is both formulations. If an atheist wants to claim rationality leads them to *know* God doesn't exist, then they are obliged to provide rational proof."

    Thanks for the classic exposition of the sort of intellectually-challenged mish-mash spouted by those whose lack of brains puts them in danger of being religious.

    The above utter nonsense has no basis in logic or rational thought. Atheists don't "believe" anything about god, they simply "don't believe". There is nothing to "know" about something which is a complete fantasy.

    If you have proof to back up your fantasy about god, we'll be delighted to see it - if not, stop wasting our time with your irrational and non-factual beliefs.

  240. Martin TURNER

    IQ

    In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.’

    Luke ch. 10 v. 21. Revised Standard Version (RSV).

  241. Roger Brown

    Douglas, where are you?

    I thought Douglas Adams sorted this out in the radio version of Hitchhiker's Guide years ago: God vanishes in a puff of logic.

    Given the current state of world behaviour, who can tell where the intelligent ones are right now anyway?

  242. Michael

    IQ attempts to measure problem solving ability

    So far as it goes, I tend to agree with the result of this kind of study, but what they are measuring is not religion per se, but acceptance of what they've been told uncritically. It is entirely possible to approach God and religion critically and the outcome is not predictable. For an intelligent, critical thinker, if you have evidence of God, then it cannot be dismissed. If you don't, that too cannot be dismissed.

    IQ: I was thoroughly examined when joining the Navy in particular as I was a candidate for the Academy and some sort of Engineering. Portions of these tests examine "learning" and portions test visual and spatial task solving capacity and are not related to learning and culture. I was even tested on my ability to perceive whether two audio tones were the same pitch or different.

    I am a very rational person. Facts are important to me; but so is friendship and happiness. These things need not be "rival". I have not yet discovered a basis for Morality that does not involve God.

    I had no conspicuous religion growing up. It is the existence of a small miracle in my teenage life that started me on the road to belief. Since then, many more such things have proven to my demanding satisfaction that there is indeed some kind of God; a being that is aware of what I am doing and can suggest alterations in what I am doing with immediate beneficial consequence, but the benefits usually are to someone else. To me, these are facts. For to you they become anecdotes, thrown in a big pot of soup along with everyone else's anecdotes. I don't need you to believe me but it would be nice if atheists would quit calling me and my kind deluded, insane, etc.

    You can review the relative merits of atheists on the newsgroup alt.atheism and judge for yourself whether this class of person represents the next stage of human evolution. They are every bit as tied to their beliefs as I am to mine.

  243. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Kenneth

    Dude,

    Before you get too over-excited and start calling people stupid, please remember that Jonah spent 3 days in a whale. Whales aren't fish. They are mammals.

    Obviously a whale isn't any easier to live in than a fish, which is why I sent him a magic one - durrr.

    Still, I thought I'd better point that out.

    By the way - I'm *always* watching you. So stop it.

  244. Richard Irvine

    I urge people to get their facts straight before saying things like "it does not happen"

    To the most recent Anonymous poster: I'm not really interested in getting bogged down in a statistical argument about whether belief makes you more bloodthirsty, but before you say "IT DOES NOT HAPPEN" you might want to look up the anticlerical purges of President Plutarco Elias Calles of Mexico. You might also want to consider the 100 martyrs canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church in August 2000, who were representative of the approximately 100,000 Orthodox killed for their beliefs by the atheistic Soviet administration.

    As I say, I am not going to make any claims about whether reading the Bible makes you more bloodthirsty than reading Dawkins ;) But I would say that blanket claims that atheists have not killed religious people for their beliefs are empirically false, and I would urge people to read up on their history before getting involved in this debate.

  245. Mike

    @Steven Goddard

    Stephen, Stephen, Stephen (tut tut, it looks like rain)

    Yet again with the misquotes, and for you own interpretation of Einstein (very presumptiuous of you), trying to say, how, after a long lifetime of believing in god, he changes his mind and that somehow diminishes what he had to say?

    Einstein clearly said (exact words) "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

    To me, it sounds like he was trying to say that he had not believed in a personal god for a long time (one who considers the fates of people), but even if I'm biased and he had come to this conclusion after years of scientific study and introspection (if the "never denied" was a recent thing), surely this conclusion has even more weight?

    I suspect that you'll always believe what you want to believe, ignore any facts that don't fit with your beliefs, use interpretations that defy logic, but you're only fooling yourself, stengthing the resolve of the willingly blind and appearing more transparrent with every keystroke, please reply again, leave out some important details, misquote, you're just like the so called christian who quotes leviticus because it says what they want it to say.

    By the way, the whole quote is "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." and you do wish to blind us all don't you Stephen.

  246. Mike

    @Taskis (My last post on this one)

    Cool, so I can say whatever I like and you won't disagree?

    Why is what Einstein thought so important in ths debate? It's actually really obvious, he is one of the greatest scientists ever, I suspect, ever will be, sure he might pale against the geniuses to come, like Aristotle and Volta have, but he'll be remembered forever, this whole article is about IQ and Theism, he was smart and not a Theist (and the Theists won't accept this).

    Is debate pointless? will the ardent (non)believers change their minds? nope, but this is not a private discussion and it will promote other readers to think about things, either deepen their delusions or open their minds.

  247. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Predictable nonsense

    Ah, these people are the self-proclaimed "Brights"... Well, this "research" is totally predictable and completely wrong. There are many thousands of academics who are "religious", as the "researcher" almost certainly knows.

    Debbie Kean

  248. Ign R. Amis
    Paris Hilton

    @Debbie Kean

    Thousands of academics means nothing when schools have departments devoted to theology - the study of a bunch of made up fairy tales, lent weight by virtue of the fact that millions of people profess belief in them.

    Even Paris is smart enough to know there's no such thing as god.

  249. Onionman
    Heart

    @Dave Oldham

    You say: "The atheist position is quite simple; you live, you die, you decompose, the end. They claim that they "KNOW THIS FOR A FACT." They build easily knock-down able straw man arguments and think that they are clever. "

    Well, not really so.

    I suggest most atheists (and probably most scientists) would say something more like:

    You live you die, you decompose, then end. At the moment, and given the currently available evidence, this is a hypothesis that is viable, as there is no evidence to disprove it. However, if evidence were to appear that there is more than this, we would be forced to review the hypothesis.

    I really think you'd find few of them saying they "KNOW THIS FOR A FACT" as that would be blind faith, something I'd probably be surprised to find in an atheist.

    Talk about putting up straw men...

    V

    PS, Is this "spitting venom" or a rational argument? I'm confused.

  250. Ronny Cook

    Definition of atheism...

    Most professing Christians with whom I have discussed this in the past counted atheists as those who affirmatively state that there is no God (or deity of any sort). Agnosticism was regarded as the "I dunno" position.

    Most people who regard themselves as atheists would put their position more as "In the absence of evidence to positively confirm the existence of a deity, I work on the assumption that no divinity exists." Agnosticism is less positive - "I dunno, and you dunno either."

    If you are ever arguing with a theist on the existence of God, keep the distinction in mind. You may think (s)he's missing a brick or two because there's no evidence affirming their position. They think that *you* are missing a brick or two because they think there is a *lot* of evidence (most notably the Bible) and there's no evidence proving that they're wrong.

    The Bible is taken (assumed) to be true because it *says* it is. "All scripture is inspired by God..." and if you can't trust the Bible in such things, who CAN you trust? The circular logic is missed by a lot of people.

    Personally I gave up on the literal truth of the Bible about six pages into a book that professed to explain every single noted inconsistency, then used such a lot of sophistry and weasel-wording that I couldn't stand to side with the author.

    If arguing this stuff with a theist, keep in mind that they may just be working on a different set of base assumptions. Automatically assuming that any theist is stupid is likely to be a mistake. There are a lot of stupid theists, but there are also a lot of stupid atheists - intelligence and atheism are correlated, but the causal relationship hasn't been demonstrated. You'll never convince anyone by making step one an assumption that your axioms are true and theirs are false.

    ...Ronny

  251. Ign R. Amis
    Thumb Down

    @Richard Irvine

    "I would say that blanket claims that atheists have not killed religious people for their beliefs are empirically false"

    Really? Are you sure they were killed for their religious beliefs, and not because their beliefs prompted them to behave in ways contrary to the whims of the bloodthirsty dictators who headed those governments?

    It's pretty stupid the way pro-god types routinely trot out Stalin and Mao as evidence for the evil of atheism. There should be some equivalent of Godwin's Law for this particular bit of nonsense.

    It's a stillborn argument, because their behavior had nothing to do with the belief or lack thereof in a magical man in the clouds. One need look no further than the Spanish Inquisition, or the insane actions of any given group of Islamists. These are allegedly religious people, so persuaded they have the truth they're willing to slaughter anyone who disbelieves.

    No matter how reprehensible the behavior of someone who happens to be atheist, that is not an affirmative argument for the existence of a god.

  252. Richard Irvine

    pro-god? pro-reading some history actually

    @Ign R. Amis

    I now see that the use of "stupid" in this debate (on both sides) is pretty much a catch all term for people who disagree with what you say. That disagreement is pretty galling when you haven't bothered to read what I say. Just to clarify, I have never claimed that atheists being bad people makes theism true, just as I would not claim that theists being bad people makes theism false. I'd argue that whether or not god exists is independent of these factors. So I never trotted out Stalin and Mao (I didn't even mention Mao!) as evidence for the evil of atheism. I just said that we should consider that bloodthirstiness is not restricted to those among us who are religious, and that people have been killed for their religion by those who were not religious.

    You make an assumption that I am pro-god. Really I'm just pro reading some history books, which make it quite clear that in the 2 specific cases I stated, religious practice (i.e. continuing to state a belief in god and to perform rituals in accordance with those beliefs) led to a leader putting them to death for their faith.

    That is not an argument 'pro-god', just an argument against some of the garbled thinking that connects religion to violence without thinking about whether the factors that lead to violence would exist with or without any god-concept.

  253. John

    Is this a record?

    A bit off topic here, but I'd like to register what I'd like to believe is a world record - the maximum difference between two genuine consecutive IQ test scores. 180 versus 90.

    Yes, I was genuinely trying on both of them, and no distractions.

    Yes, 90 was the second score.

    Yes, I concluded that IQ tests were b**ks and never wasted my time again.

    A high IQ score denotes an ability to fit in with the crowd, by thinking the same way as the question-setter. For obvious reasons, that correlates with success in modern society, and hence easy-to-measure achievement metrics. But intelligence? I think not.

  254. Rob Pomeroy
    IT Angle

    Whale tales

    Just a footnoot really: There have been a couple of references here to the story of Jonah which is understandably treated with some scepticism. I seemed to recall an old tale about a guy in modern times who had encountered a similar fishy situation. Turns out it's one of those urban myths which has been somewhat debunked. A pity really because it's one of those things that some Christians rely upon to shore up their faith.

    In my brief online research, I found an apologetic for the story of Jonah though which is worth a read by anyone irrespective of religious persuasion, if you're interested in testing the veracity of the tale. You can catch it here: http://www.gotquestions.org/Jonah-whale.html but to save you some time, the (for me) salient paragraph reads:

    "Skeptics scoff at the miracles described in the book of Jonah as if there were no mechanism by which such events could ever occur. That is their bias. We are inclined however to believe that there is One who is capable of manipulating natural phenomena in such supernatural ways. We believe that He is the Creator of the natural realm and is not therefore circumscribed by it. We call Him God and we believe that He sent Jonah to Nineveh to coerce their repentance."

    Quite. No point in an atheist (or any other kind of -theist) saying "miracles can't happen". Because that's exactly the point. A miracle by definition is something that "can't happen". And yet they do seem to happen and whether we like it or not, there are masses of evidence (by which I mean first hand eye-witness accounts) that they do. If you just say that those first-handers were mistaken, mad or liars, you are simply revealing your preconceptions (in much the same way that the pre-Galileo church did).

    PS @"God" I wonder why you forgot to specify what kind of aquatic creature it was, in the original texts?

  255. Rob Pomeroy
    Paris Hilton

    Argh.

    And now the spelling nazis will get me. 'Footnoot'!

    Paris, for obvious reasons.

  256. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    To offend stupid people

    I just announced the title in my office and got some a few shocked gasps (from the stupid people) as well as many stifled laughs (from the intelligent ones). What fun!

    I may have to get my jacket and leave. Thank you Reg.

  257. Bob. Hitchen

    Atheists are thick

    Anybody that thinks the Universe and all it contains is just 'happen chance' really is short of brain cells. I don't have a religion but my personal experiences have demonstrated numerous times the existence of powers infinitely greater than puny vanity driven humans. Scientists and their ilk suffer excessively from vanity pretending they can explain everything yet know very little.

  258. Alan Fisher
    Gates Horns

    @ Michael

    My mate, i grew up with no religious background at all and have never gained one. I grew up in Northern Ireland and know all about the evils of religion. This started me on the road to eschewing organised religion; if people of the same religion can't get on...well....

    I'm incredibly moral and humanist *without* any threats, yes threats, from a diety who may or may not exist. I do what is considered good and moral because that's the right thing to do, not because should I not, i will be sent for enternity to some hot place where horned ones will poke my buttocks with pitchforks! Is doing right out of fear doing right at all? Is doing right because one is told one must the same? I'm a good person but don't get santimonious about it and tell others I'm going to Heaven for it....it's just right, that simple.

    Not to say I've haven't done wrong but at least I admit that my mistakes were simply that; fault of circumstances, stupidity, naivete or whatever; not some evil spiritual being who seeks to tempt me and lead me astray!

    Also, at someone else, I forget who now, belief in intelligent aliens, of whom there is a great deal of documented evidence and published books, is to me, the same as belief in a deity. Lots of published evidence, faith and belief but no hard factual evidence. I do not, however, entirely dismiss the idea or possible existence of either.

    To me, the above is the difference between athiest/agnostic and religious person; most of the former are prepared to accept the validity of the latter's view. The majority of the latter do no extend the same courtesy and are therefore close minded

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