Monday, May 23, 2022

Anonymous Asks (198)

“Are atheists more intelligent than believers?”

Here’s a short list of statistical data about atheists compiled by Pew Research Center:

94% approve of LGBTQ lifestyles
91% believe in evolution
87% approve of abortion
83% believe ethics are situational
78% are white
78% have no children
69% vote Democrat
68% are men
43% have a college degree (vs. 27% general public)
40% are ages 18-29
40% have never married
  9% proselytize

There’s nothing about intelligence anywhere on that list, but the large number of atheists promoting LGBTQ lifestyles, abortion and childlessness, taken together with the vanishingly small number troubling to promote atheism, certainly suggest a trend toward self-cancelation, compounded by the fact that voting Democrat is a vote for white male irrelevance.

So if self-perpetuation is a valid metric by which to judge intelligence, well … it doesn’t seem atheists are overly effective at making more atheists.

Smarter Than the Average Rube

Still, many atheists remain convinced they are more intelligent than religious people. Bill Maher comments:

“We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking ... I think religion is a neurological disorder ... I am just embarrassed that it has been taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in science and rationality.”

Richard Dawkins agrees:

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.”

The atheists network calls itself “the Brights”, presumably in contrast to those who are not. So let’s assume that fairly represents the views of the average atheist about his own intelligence.

Believing Genius

Meanwhile, along comes Steve J. Williams of The Honolulu Church & State Examiner with an attempt to quantify the relationship between atheism and intelligence in his article entitled “Of 10 highest IQs on earth, at least 8 are Theists, at least 6 are Christians”. Williams starts this way:

“Have you ever heard the claim ‘all smart people are atheists’, or maybe its inverse: ‘people who believe in God are dumb’? It’s quite a pervasive urban legend, and one which I’ve known is false for a long time, but I didn’t realize just how false until the other day. I recently decided to do a quick cataloging of the ten highest IQ’s on earth, and discovered that it’s nearly the exact opposite of the truth!”

Admittedly Williams’ non-scientific method isn’t definitive, but this more in-depth statistical analysis suggests that the ratio of theists to atheists with +128 IQs may actually be greater than 11:1.

A Few Accurate Assumptions

Still, I’m not sure spiritual discernment is directly related to IQ in any way that matters. After all, “the world did not know God through wisdom”, and consequently “it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe”. And the psalmist can say without embarrassment, “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.” Compared to that sort of spiritual knowledge, a person’s cognitive ability in relation to the population at large doesn’t seem all that significant. The man who possesses a set of accurate starting assumptions about the nature of the universe in relative simplicity is way ahead of the man who holds a false-but-popular cosmology at the post-graduate level and beyond, though the latter will certainly be more impressive to the world at large.

In that case, who really cares which side can legitimately brag about having the most smart people? I sure don’t. If it turns out that in addition to appealing to the poor, the “poor in spirit”, “those who mourn”, publicans, sinners and those “in need of a doctor”, the gospel message also appeals to the dull, the semi-sensate and the intellectually sub-standard, I will happily take my place with the latter.

The important point is that there is a lot of evidence out there that doesn’t merely falsify what we are persistently told in the media, it suggests the precise opposite.

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