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-   -   Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers (https://forums.utopiatemple.com/showthread.php?t=76101)

Californication 05-May-2008 02:14

Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers
 
Quote:

Statistically, atheists have a higher intelligence than people with a strong religious faith. The difference is 5.8 points, according to a new study by the Danish professor of developmental psychology, Helmuth Nyborg.
http://danish.newsvine.com/_news/200...than-believers


In an earlier thread M1 brought up the point that (among other things) atheists generally have a more bleak perspective of the world around them than religious folks. Could this be due to atheists being generally more intelligent? Intelligence would give atheists a greater capability to see reality as it is, rather than through "rose-colored" glasses.

Discuss.

Mandraque 05-May-2008 02:33

reminds me of marvin from the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. I guess not having a faith can make you question reality more, but this is just my guess.

Necal 05-May-2008 02:59

I dont think its so much being atheist makes you smarter, but being smarter makes you more likely to be atheist. Also, many of the examples of the extremely intelligent are far more out of touch with reality than the unintelligent.

Mandraque 05-May-2008 03:05

ok, so what i said can be rephrased as, being smart you question reality and therefore you will more probably reject the established faith.

but i do think than having a freethinking mind can increase your intelligence to, which is what i meant to say. But i guess the other case is more prevalent and mine more inclined towards me.

hussein 05-May-2008 04:59

It's rubbish. What about Muslims like Abdullah al-Khwarizimi, Christians like Isaac Newton and Hindus like Ayrabhatta? This is just another ill-informed and malicious attack on religious people by a vindictive atheist. Religion does not preclude intelligence. I know plenty of stupid atheists as well as very intelligent atheists. Atheism in itself is not an indicator of your capacity for intelligent thought.

Spectre19 05-May-2008 06:16

Quote:

It's rubbish. What about Muslims like Abdullah al-Khwarizimi, Christians like Isaac Newton and Hindus like Ayrabhatta? This is just another ill-informed and malicious attack on religious people by a vindictive atheist. Religion does not preclude intelligence. I know plenty of stupid atheists as well as very intelligent atheists. Atheism in itself is not an indicator of your capacity for intelligent thought.
:rolleyes:

it's a statistical analysis. obviously there will be many many anecdotal exceptions

as a statistical analysis it makes sense - a person of lower intelligence would TEND to "follow the leader", and not employ critical thought. it is only after applying critical thought that anybody would decide that they dont believe in god

Bernel 05-May-2008 06:51

Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hussein (Post 1638416)
It's rubbish. What about Muslims like Abdullah al-Khwarizimi, Christians like Isaac Newton and Hindus like Ayrabhatta?

Not only is it a statistical study, talking about averages not extremes, but it is also a study about beliefs today. Historically there were much less alternatives to religion. Science hadn't progressed as far, which meant there were a lot more mysteries that seemed to require a creator. If nothing else, being an atheist was a crime in many places, ensuring that intelligent people would at least pretend to believe in God.

hussein 05-May-2008 06:56

Spectre19, do you know the sample the professor used, the methodology he used to gauge intelligence and the means by which he measured the intelligence of those involved? No, you don't know the exact details and neither do I. You of all people should know how difficult it is to measure intelligence, given it is such a subjective thing and particularly since there are many different types of intelligence.

Attributing intelligence/non-intelligence to belief in God/non-belief in God is just silly. Plenty of atheists are atheists not because of deep philosophical contemplation but simply because they can't be bothered with religion.

Moreover, if there are 'many many' anecdotal examples of adherents of a religion who were also intelligent, I think this exposes the lie of the professor's conclusion.

If you want more than such single examples of people who are intelligent and not atheists, just look at Malek Fahd Islamic High School. In the Higher School Certificate for 2007, it came in the top 10 schools. How do you explain this? Or are these just "anecdotal examples" as well?

DHoffryn 05-May-2008 07:20

Quote:

Attributing intelligence/non-intelligence to belief in God/non-belief in God is just silly.
No to a strong belief in religion as mentioned here. But i generally agree with you.Attributing intelligence solely to one factor is as silly as attributing morality solely to belief in God/non-belief in God

Quote:

Statistically, atheists have a higher intelligence than people with a strong religious faith.
I imagine this is not about your average believer who is pretty much the same as the athetists but about the more fanatical ones. And if this is the case i can completly believe this(well not his study since let's face it it's probably bull since a tryue study of this is nigh impossible but as a general fact of life). I have seen very few intelligent religous fanatics
But then again he probably used everyday athetists rather then those fiery 16 year old ones who are just as extreme and stupid as the relgious nutjobs

Quote:

If you want more than such single examples of people who are intelligent and not atheists, just look at Malek Fahd Islamic High School. In the Higher School Certificate for 2007, it came in the top 10 schools. How do you explain this?
Easy enough. In fact i'll let you explain it yourself. How do you explain that strongly secular western countries chok full of athetists have a far far higher education then some poor islamic country from Africa or the middle east? Or to make it a more diverse example how come kids from random elite schools in say N.Y quite a few of which are either athetists or don't give a crap about religion either way score far better then some deeply religous school from a redneck town in the south?

hussein 05-May-2008 08:06

Social, economic and political factors contribute to these poor educational outcomes, not religion. Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) exhorted Muslims to go to China, if necessary, for the sake of education.

Bernel 05-May-2008 08:21

Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hussein (Post 1638430)
Social, economic and political factors contribute to these poor educational outcomes, not religion.

Maybe so, but then you have to explain why strongly religious areas tend to be poorer.

Syke 05-May-2008 08:34

Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hussein (Post 1638422)
Attributing intelligence/non-intelligence to belief in God/non-belief in God is just silly. Plenty of atheists are atheists not because of deep philosophical contemplation but simply because they can't be bothered with religion.

Someone who simply can't be bothered with religion is going to trend towards agnosticism, not atheism. Also, it isn't silly, it actually ought to be common sense. I think part of the issue is that you aren't quite grasping the statement the study makes. It isn't operating on an individual basis. It does not mean that I am smarter than you by 5.8 points simply by way of my being an atheist and you being a believer. It means that on average, if you took all religious people and pitted them against all atheists, on average, the atheists would show themselves to be significantly more intelligent on standardized tests. This can be explained by the simple fact that on average atheists tend to draw their ranks from the educated classes much more heavily than do religious bodies. Again, this does not translate into all educated people being atheists, or no uneducated individuals being atheists. It is simple statistics describing this particular demographic make-up.

Quote:

Originally Posted by hussein (Post 1638422)
Moreover, if there are 'many many' anecdotal examples of adherents of a religion who were also intelligent, I think this exposes the lie of the professor's conclusion.

No, it exposes your inability to grasp the definition of 'average'. If Billy has an IQ of 168, Susie has one of 90, Greg 117, Alice 140, and Tom 112, on average their IQ is 125.4. Their IQs clearly aren't all 125.4, in fact, none of theirs is, it's just their average over all IQ. Now let's say Alice and Greg are atheists, then the average IQ of all atheists in this group is 128.5. Everyone else is religious, and their average IQ is 123.3. On average in this particular sample, the atheists were on average +5.2 points 'smarter,' even though as it turns out the smartest of all of them happens to be religious. My example of course is erroneous and the numbers completely arbitrary, but hopefully it clears things up a little bit for you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by hussein (Post 1638422)
If you want more than such single examples of people who are intelligent and not atheists, just look at Malek Fahd Islamic High School. In the Higher School Certificate for 2007, it came in the top 10 schools. How do you explain this? Or are these just "anecdotal examples" as well?

*sigh*

DHoffryn 05-May-2008 08:51

Quote:

Social, economic and political factors contribute to these poor educational outcomes, not religion. Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) exhorted Muslims to go to China, if necessary, for the sake of education.
Exactly. Now do you understand the problem with your highschool example?

Caelis666 05-May-2008 10:06

Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hussein (Post 1638422)
Spectre19, do you know the sample the professor used, the methodology he used to gauge intelligence and the means by which he measured the intelligence of those involved? No, you don't know the exact details and neither do I. You of all people should know how difficult it is to measure intelligence, given it is such a subjective thing and particularly since there are many different types of intelligence.

Next time you might want to read an article before commenting. The intelligence that they tested is the brain's ability to process complex information. This is the intelligence that's most directly connected to the ability to achieve academically. This is the way in which the word intelligence is generally used in conversation, otherwise we would not be able to say that university students are generally more intelligent then highschool drop-outs.

Neither is this study saying that people are less intelligent because they are religious or that only non-intelligent people are religious. Obviously there are many many religious people who are extremely intelligent. This does not exclude however that non-intelligent people could be more likely to be religious.

This would even be a reasonable prediction in my opinion. Because people with a low IQ are not as good at processing complex information they are unlikely to understand highly complex scientific theories. Why then would it not be safe to say that they are likelier to accept God as a cause for the things that they do not understand?

Again, I'm not saying that intelligent people can't do that, but they at least have the opportunity to compare science and religion and make their choice.

Pollock 05-May-2008 10:09

Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Californication (Post 1638395)
http://danish.newsvine.com/_news/200...than-believers

In an earlier thread M1 brought up the point that (among other things) atheists generally have a more bleak perspective of the world around them than religious folks. Could this be due to atheists being generally more intelligent? Intelligence would give atheists a greater capability to see reality as it is, rather than through "rose-colored" glasses.

Discuss.

Because Atheists in general have a higher education and higher skill in logical intellegence.

Not surprising for me.But I want to see the study before I trust the result Statistics is very easily manipulated.

That someone scores better on a standardised IQ test doesnt show you are more intellegent than me it shows you solve a math problem better. Intellegens is a lot more than just IQ.

Also IQ is easy to raise with some training and mentoring so in general it shows very little about how well you will manage in life. Every other aspect being the same.

Dusk Illz 05-May-2008 11:38

This is really old news, i'm surprised people are still arguing against it or mistakenly criticizing it based on anecdotal evidence. It's statistics, meaning generalizing among larger populations. All your counter-examples fit perfectly well within these findings, they just illustrate the extremes on both sides of the spectrum that underlie the average. Study Syke's post if you don't get it.

On that note, here's another fact that's equally true:

Statistically, vegetarians have a higher intelligence than non-vegetarians.

Cobra2002 05-May-2008 12:53

It's not that atheists are more intelligent because they are atheists. That's confusing the cause with the effect I think. It's just that more intelligent people can't have a blind faith in an imaginary God, since they are intelligent, which leads to them being atheists.

So to sum it up... atheists aren't more intelligent, it's just that most intelligent people are atheists. That's the way I see it.

Michael1 05-May-2008 14:54

Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Californication (Post 1638395)
http://danish.newsvine.com/_news/200...than-believers


In an earlier thread M1 brought up the point that (among other things) atheists generally have a more bleak perspective of the world around them than religious folks. Could this be due to atheists being generally more intelligent?

:D

Actually I think it's due to atheists being generally more cocky than the rest of us. It's harder to be happy when you're obsessed with your own perceived intellectual superiority. That type of conceit and arrogance usually means you have fewer friends. When you're generally not liked you tend to get depressed.

:b

Quote:

Intelligence would give atheists a greater capability to see reality as it is, rather than through "rose-colored" glasses.
Intelligence can be a real downer when it turns out you were wrong all along. Can you imagine being an atheist all your life and dying, only to find out there is indeed an afterlife and creator? It sure would make me feel pretty stupid, but that's why I'm a devout agnostic. I'm pretty sure that if there is a God he's not obsessed with whether or not I got dressed up every Sunday and did a buch of ceremonial bullshit. If he is, chances are I don't want to hang with him anyhow.

Bernel 05-May-2008 15:51

Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Michael1 (Post 1638451)
Intelligence can be a real downer when it turns out you were wrong all along. Can you imagine being an atheist all your life and dying, only to find out there is indeed an afterlife and creator?

So? It would turn out you were wrong. I'm sure finding you were wrong has happened to you too. Assuming said creator isn't the type who throw unbelievers in hell I assume most atheists would be rather happy to still exist.
Quote:

It sure would make me feel pretty stupid, but that's why I'm a devout agnostic.
So, how would you feel if said creator had decided that only those who had true faith go to heaven? Agnostics, atheists and those with the wrong faith all go to hell. Wouldn't that make you feel just as stupid as the atheist? Or even more annoying, what if there is a God who has deliberately hidden his existence, and who dislikes everyone who believed he exists so that it's the believers and agnostics who go to hell while the Atheists go to heaven? Unless you have any any idea of what God is like, being agnostic is totally pointless.
Quote:

I'm pretty sure that if there is a God he's not obsessed with whether or not I got dressed up every Sunday and did a buch of ceremonial bullshit. If he is, chances are I don't want to hang with him anyhow.
Since you discount all established religions, what reason do you have to even suspect there might be a God giving you an afterlife?

DHoffryn 05-May-2008 15:57

Re: Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Michael1 (Post 1638451)
:D

Actually I think it's due to atheists being generally more cocky than the rest of us. It's harder to be happy when you're obsessed with your own perceived intellectual superiority. That type of conceit and arrogance usually means you have fewer friends. When you're generally not liked you tend to get depressed.

:


Not really. Not from what i've seen. Both the arrogant christians or _insert other religions_ and the arogant atheists seem to like bonding with others of their kind over how stupid non believers/beliefers are and how much better they are then the rest because they believe/don't believe


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