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Religious People Are Less Intelligent Than Atheists, Concludes New Study


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#81 pstall

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 12:20 AM

the main bias here is selection bias. somebody go chew on that for awhile.



#82 mav1234

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 12:21 AM

the main bias here is selection bias. somebody go chew on that for awhile.

 

Please explain.  Since I don't have access to the 63 studies that were used, I can't be sure, but from the description in the paper I don't think that is the case.



#83 Proudiddy

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 01:01 AM

Man, I can't quote or multi-quote all of that from my phone, so this will probably be a very poor counter on my behalf mav.

BUT, first, as far as me saying I was presenting a counter argument, I was not referring to my initial post.I was referring to the one you first quoted where I asked cat what was ironic about it. In that post, I referred to the paradigm that is spirituality versus academia on a very surface level. I mentioned that it was assumed a person of faith questioning the validity of this study was just blindly writing it off as many non-believers feel thst we blindly accept our religious beliefs whereas I felt questioning, analyzing, and/or interpreting the study was doing the exact thing the study infers most believers are less likely to do.

And surely you did not take the brain jokes seriously. It was hyperbole my good man. I was saying it to add to the effect. I know YOU did not say that and I wouldn't expect you to. I was referring to the ease in which non-believers fall back on "well, you blindly accept your faith, so you lack intelligence." As though it is so commonly accepted that we can just assume all believers are modern day cavemen.

Furthermore, I should clarify two things... I wasn't going on some angry tangent towards academics. I was specifically referring to those who tske great pride in stirring up these arguments with no intention of gaining any insight from them. I ran into many in academia that take great pride in stirring up these heated debates just for the joy of insulting people with religious beliefs because they viewed them as lesser intellectually because of their beliefs. I also ran into many agnostic and most likely atheist professors who respected others beliefs and didn't find any joy or take pride in insulting others views they didn't agree with. So, to be clear, I wasn't rsllying against academics, I loved my experience of college and everyone and anyone I encountered from all types of different belief systems and backgrounds. My rant was geared towards those thst aren't doing this from an objective academic background, but rather view it more as an epic way to troll.

Point two I needed to clarify, I incorrectly used IQ and intelligence interchangeably. What I meant, you actually addressed in your last post. IQ is a measure of intelligence but intelligence, NOT IQ, is virtually immeasurable. I misspoke. I was saying that if the study is saying religious peolple are "less intelligent," and IQ is all they tested, thrn how can they come to that conclusion. I've read a recent study that showed the other aspects of measuring intelligence have just recently come to light and that they could in fact outweigh the measure of IQ alone. That's what I was getting at.

And furthermore, I don't have a problem with any one specific group of people as you inferred. Nor do I have a persecution complex (another go-to argument used against people of faith). What I do have a problem with are people who take joy in creating division versus productive, insightful, meaningful conversation.

I was rallying against the same principle behind this awfully shaky study... Essentially, someone can publish a study saying believers are less intelligent than non-believers, but this makes it virtually impossible for a believer to enter into the discussion and be respected because they're automatically discounted for their faith. It's just as when a believer talks about their faith with other believers and then a non-believer tries to enter the discussion and gets "you don't understand heathen." As someone mentioned earlier it's like a battle of condescension versus self-righteousness and neither club is admitting anymore members with no middle ground in between. It's b.s. It eliminates progress and there is never a resolution aside from peolple getting pissed and clamming up.

I despise it anytime someone uses their platform for dissension. And with a study that sounds questionable at best, I assume that this is a device of that.

#84 Proudiddy

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 01:08 AM

Also, way too many typos in my last post thanks to this awesome phone and its lack of ability to replace "s" with an "a" to form an actual word from the English language.

#85 mav1234

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 01:23 AM

As if me taking up this entire page already wasn't enough, here we go with another.  I read through the paper, and yeah.  So, here's my attempt at making this easier to understand for people:
 
First, this is a meta-review.  It takes the results of a bunch of other studies, and tries to combine them in a meaningful manner.  It is made up of 63 studies (though less than that ended up included in the analysis, I think they had 53 at the end).
 
Second, the conclusions have nothing to do explicitly with Atheism.  They did not test, for instance, whether the average self-described Atheist was more intelligent than the average self-described religious person.  This is a subtle difference from what I'll get to that they did test in a minute, but it's something to keep in mind here.
 
Studies they looked at overwhelmingly used either IQ tests or close approximations of IQ tests.  These are legitimate and typical methods of measuring intelligence, though obviously they are not the be all, end all of determining intelligence.  They did include a couple studies that had GPA as a measure, and their analyses did exclude those groups in certain cases. For religiosity, they included both studies that actually attempted to measure certainty of belief in religion - either in terms of belief in God or the importance of the church and studies that used participation/membership in religious organizations or denominations.  They included some 63 studies.  Studies included three age groups: Precollege (12-18 years), college students (undergraduates), and non-college (typically older individuals outside of academic contexts).
 
From the results of the studies, they collected the effect size, Pearson's r, also known as a correlation coefficient.  These are generated by plotting numerical data on a scatter plot, one on the x axis, one on the y axis, and drawing the best line to fit all data points.  Roughly speaking, Pearson's r describes how well the line fits the relationship between X and Y, and it's direction.  A correlation coefficient ranges from -1 to 1.  When the value of the coefficient is 1, ALL data points fall directly on the line, and as X increases, Y increases.  When the value is 0, there is no discernible linear relationship between the points.  Between 0 and 1 and 0 and -1, Pearson's r values suggest that there is some kind of relationship, but likely other factors are involved.  When the value is -1, all the data points fall on a line, but Y decreases as X increases. Remember, correlation is not causation.
 
So, what'd they find?
 
Well, they found that as religiosity increased, intelligence decreased over the entire data set - 53 studies showed negative correlations, while 10 showed positive correlations.  One interesting finding was that for young people, there was a negative  correlation between religiosity and intelligence, but it was nearly zero.  For studies where religiosity was measured using a subject's personal religious beliefs, and not behaviors, the college uncorrected, unweighted r was -.16, while corrected it was -.24.  For non-college, it was -.25.
 
So how do they explain it?
 
From the abstract:  First, intelligent people are less likely to conform and, thus, are morelikely to resist religious dogma. Second, intelligent people tend to adopt an analytic (as opposed to intuitive) thinking style,which has been shown to undermine religious beliefs. Third, several functions of religiosity, including compensatory control,self-regulation, self-enhancement, and secure attachment, are also conferred by intelligence. Intelligent people may there fore have less need for religious beliefs and practices. Of these, I think #1 is bullshit though the researchers in the field disagree with me and they actually have evidence, #2 is likely the big reason, and #3 relates to #2 anyway.
 
Here's what I get out of it:
 
There is a slight negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity, unrelated to number of years spend in education.
 
Does this mean all religious people are dumb?
 
No.  Not at fuging all.  Pearson's r being as low as -.2 tells you basically nothing without some context, but essentially, it's a negative correlation with a poo ton of other factors going on.  What it probably does mean, though, is that IQ is a good measure of analytic thinking, which is actually bias towards non-believers in a way.  However, at the time of publication of this paper, IQ was basically the best measure they had - because even though it "just came out", the studies they used have been out for much, much longer.  IQ is also generally accepted as a decent measure of intelligence.  It's not perfect, but it does generally reflect intelligence.  It is not, however, the only measure, and maybe there are other measures where religious individuals excel, I don't know.  


#86 Big A

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 01:34 AM

Wow, still going at this. This thread made me think of this:




#87 mav1234

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 01:36 AM

BUT, first, as far as me saying I was presenting a counter argument, I was not referring to my initial post.I was referring to the one you first quoted where I asked cat what was ironic about it. In that post, I referred to the paradigm that is spirituality versus academia on a very surface level. I mentioned that it was assumed a person of faith questioning the validity of this study was just blindly writing it off as many non-believers feel thst we blindly accept our religious beliefs whereas I felt questioning, analyzing, and/or interpreting the study was doing the exact thing the study infers most believers are less likely to do.

 

It does, but you didn't do that.  You said "This study is bias."  That is dismissing, not questioning... That's why I got angry.  If your first post or second post said, "I think this is bias because it uses IQ as a measure and IQ isn't an exact measure of intelligence," I'd have responded TOTALLY differently. 

 

 

Furthermore, I should clarify two things... I wasn't going on some angry tangent towards academics. I was specifically referring to those who tske great pride in stirring up these arguments with no intention of gaining any insight from them. I ran into many in academia that take great pride in stirring up these heated debates just for the joy of insulting people with religious beliefs because they viewed them as lesser intellectually because of their beliefs. I also ran into many agnostic and most likely atheist professors who respected others beliefs and didn't find any joy or take pride in insulting others views they didn't agree with. So, to be clear, I wasn't rsllying against academics, I loved my experience of college and everyone and anyone I encountered from all types of different belief systems and backgrounds. My rant was geared towards those thst aren't doing this from an objective academic background, but rather view it more as an epic way to troll.

 

I know such people exist, but do you have evidence the authors are part of that group?  The fact they included papers where there was a positive correlation between religiosity and intelligence, rather than dismissing them, suggests to me they may not have been bias.  I don't know why you think they weren't doing this from an objective academic background.

 

What I get most annoyed with is when people make statements about how some researcher is bias just because "that's how they are."  So, I got pissed, because I see no evidence of bias in the study (they actually account for bias in the studies they look at...).

 

 

And furthermore, I don't have a problem with any one specific group of people as you inferred. Nor do I have a persecution complex (another go-to argument used against people of faith). What I do have a problem with are people who take joy in creating division versus productive, insightful, meaningful conversation.

 

I said it because you seemed to be assuming that these people had some axe to grind against religious people and there's really no evidence I can see of that.  But, it was uncalled for, and I apologize.

 

 

Point two I needed to clarify, I incorrectly used IQ and intelligence interchangeably. What I meant, you actually addressed in your last post. IQ is a measure of intelligence but intelligence, NOT IQ, is virtually immeasurable. I misspoke. I was saying that if the study is saying religious peolple are "less intelligent," and IQ is all they tested, thrn how can they come to that conclusion. I've read a recent study that showed the other aspects of measuring intelligence have just recently come to light and that they could in fact outweigh the measure of IQ alone. That's what I was getting at.

 

IQ is used as a proxy for intelligence in a whole slew of studies... It's limited, but it's what is done, at least right now.  That will improve.

 

 

I was rallying against the same principle behind this awfully shaky study... Essentially, someone can publish a study saying believers are less intelligent than non-believers, but this makes it virtually impossible for a believer to enter into the discussion and be respected because they're automatically discounted for their faith. It's just as when a believer talks about their faith with other believers and then a non-believer tries to enter the discussion and gets "you don't understand heathen." As someone mentioned earlier it's like a battle of condescension versus self-righteousness and neither club is admitting anymore members with no middle ground in between. It's b.s. It eliminates progress and there is never a resolution aside from peolple getting pissed and clamming up.

I despise it anytime someone uses their platform for dissension. And with a study that sounds questionable at best, I assume that this is a device of that.

 

The "Shakiest" part to me is the fact they used IQ to measure intelligence.  But that's all they really had... and honestly, I'm not positive using IQ to measure intelligence biases the study against people with high religiosity, unless you grant that religions are irrational and untestable... In which case, if IQ is a measure of analytic thinking, then yeah, IQ wouldn't really be the best thing to use.  Unless analytic thinking ends up correlated with whatever the "actual measure" of intelligence is.

 

Anyway, to your point: It sounds like you're saying "Let's just not have this discussion at all and not do research like this at all because we can't really measure intelligence anyway."  Is that what you mean?  I think that's a fair point to try to make, I just disagree.

 

edit: holy poo, bed time.  Sorry for writing so much. :P

 



#88 Proudiddy

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 01:50 AM

Here was the study I was referring to earlier:

http://www.dailymail...esearchers.html

IQ tests are 'meaningless and too simplistic' claim researchers

Researchers say findings are a 'wake up call' for anyone using current testsComes after biggest ever study of intelligenceBy NICHOLAS MCDERMOTTPUBLISHED: 13:12 EST, 19 December 2012 | UPDATED: 03:38 EST, 20 December 2012   152View commentsIt will come as a relief to those who failed to shine when taking an IQ test.After conducting the largest ever study of intelligence, researchers have found that far from indicating how clever you are, IQ testing is actually rather ‘meaningless’.In a bid to investigate the value of IQ, scientists asked more than 100,000 participants to complete 12 tests that required planning, reasoning, memory and attention. Researchers say that traditional IQ tests simply do not work as they cannot measure every aspect of intelligence - and said their findings are a 'wake up call' for schools, universities and others that use the testsThey also filled in a survey on their background.They discovered that far from being down to one single factor, what is commonly regarded as intelligence is influenced by three different elements - short-term memory, reasoning, and verbal ability.But being good at one of these factors does not mean you are going to be equally gifted at the other two.


Can't quote the whole thing from my phone b/c the formatting gets all jacked up, but it's an awesome read.

#89 PhillyB

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 01:56 AM

i'm not sure how this study is any kind of a surprise to anyone. no one's saying "christians r retarded lol" (which is the strawman being attacked here by super duper defensive people) but rather establishing the fact that there's a correlation between intelligence and belief. why is it a shocker that an unintelligent person would be more likely than an intelligent person to believe that a man was literally raised from the dead after dying so that we could all go to heaven in the sky if we recite the magic incantation because it says so (according to some people) in this ancient divined infallible text?

 

this seems like common sense to me.



#90 Big A

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 02:06 AM

Here was the study I was referring to earlier:

http://www.dailymail...esearchers.html

Can't quote the whole thing from my phone b/c the formatting gets all jacked up, but it's an awesome read.

First off this is a Canadian study on a specific IQ test consisting of 6 sections each lasting 8 to 18 minutes

They use the Cattell III B test, which consists of six batches of multiple choice questions aimed at testing mental agility, with each section lasting between eight and 18 minutes.
The new study, published in the journal Neuron, suggests that intelligence is too complex to be represented by a single number.
Study leader Dr Adrian Owen, a British neuroscientists based at Western University in Canada, said an ‘astonishing’ number of people had contributed to the research.


Read more: http://www.dailymail...l#ixzz2c1DLGKJA
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There are different types of IQ tests. My college required me to take a test since I asked to not have to attend classes that required attendance since I had gone through gifted program most of my schooling and wasn't use to sitting hours in a class nonstop. The Test I was given, Wechsler Adult Intelligence test last 3 days and included fully psychiatric evaluation, many traditional written parts, but also visual parts conducted in person with blocks, colored flash cards and a bunch of other tests. This tests all the various types of intelligences and is pretty accurate according to scientific community.

http://en.wikipedia....elligence_Scale


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