Kemo's Church

Religion and Intelligence

 

Good morning and thanks for joining me! The historical battles between religious institutions and science, such as those in physics, astronomy and biology, indicate there is something wrong with the religious approach to the study of reality.

 

If you think you have the answers, you are less likely to search for the truth. So, if you are an engineer in ancient Greece who thinks that the microscope has proven that neurones work through hydraulic pressure, you are not likely to question this truth without very convincing evidence: Your search has largely ended. 

Your background belief (as an engineer in this example) has primed you, and biased you towards accepting the hydraulic neurone theory.

 

Those who believe that "God works in mysterious ways" and believe in miracles, magic (such as prayer), and that God makes the planets orbit the sun, are less likely to have enquiring minds about how such things work.

 

“Scientists had to suffer torture, silencing, imprisonment and death at the hands of Christians who didn't agree with newly discovered facts about the world. Christianity lost the first battle with astronomers who realized that, contrary to what Christians asserted, the Sun did not orbit the Earth, and that the Universe doesn't seem to be designed specifically for humankind.

 

Copernicus (1473-1543), Kepler (1571-1630), Galileo (1564-1642), Newton (1643-1727) and Laplace (1749-1827) all fought battles against the Church when they published scientific papers challenging religious orthodoxy.

 

Bible verses were all the theories Christians needed; and Joshua 10:12-13, 2 Kings 20:11, Isaiah 38:8 and Isaiah 30:26 all contradicted astronomers. [...Eventually] the Church retreated... only to go on to fight similar ignorant battles, and violently impose dogmatic errors, in the arenas of physics, biology and philosophy.”

 

"Christianity Versus Astronomy" by Vexen Crabtree 2006.

 

 

Not only did their religion prevent them from thinking in the correct terms about basic physics, biology and astronomy, and not only did their atheist counterparts continue to search for truth while they did not, but their beliefs gave them a false confidence to actively punish those that disagreed.

 

The whole series of battles between religion and science (which science has always won) shows us empirically and historically that religion suppresses science for the same internal reasons that it suppresses the intelligence in science.

 

Richard Dawkins (2006) summarizes on the religious beliefs of Nobel-Prize winners, the members of the top scientific organisations in the USA and the UK, and finds that only a small percent believe in a personal God, even in countries where god-belief is extensive.

 

The only website I could find that claimed to list 'Nobel Prize-winning Christians' came up with six, out of a total of several hundred scientific Nobelists. Of these six, it turned out that four were not Nobel Prize-winners at all; and at least one, to my certain knowledge, is a non-believer who attends church for purely social reasons. A more systematic study by Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi 'found that among Nobel Prize laureates in the sciences, as well as those in literature, there was a remarkable degree of irreligiosity, as compared to the populations they came from.'

 

A study in the leading journal Nature by Larson and Witham in 1998 showed that of those American scientists considered eminent enough by their peers to have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (equivalent to being a fellow of the Royal Society in Britain) only about 7 per cent believe in a personal God.

 

This overwhelming preponderance of atheists is almost the exact opposite of the profile of the American population at large, of whom more than 90 per cent are believers in some sort of super-natural being. It is completely as I would expect that American scientists are less religious than the American public generally, and that the most distinguished scientists are the least religious of all.

 

The overwhelming majority of [fellows of the Royal Society], like the overwhelming majority of US Academicians, are atheists. Only 3.3 per cent of the Fellows agreed strongly with the statement that a personal god exists while 78.8 per cent strongly disagreed. There were a massive 213 unbelievers and a mere 12 believers.

 

"The God Delusion" by Prof. Richard Dawkins, p100-103.

 

39 studies since 1927 have found that the more educated a person is, and the higher one's intelligence, the less likely someone is to hold religious beliefs. It shows that those with a degree in science are less than half as likely to believe in God as the general populace, and eminent scientists are nine times less likely.

 

The More Religious the Parents, the Less Intelligent the Children

 

There is a reason why god-believing adults rarely become scientists, and almost never become top scientists. Not only does theology and dogmatic religious assertions interfere with correct scientific thought, but, children of religious parents have on average, lower intelligence. This common-sense finding is not a one-off statistic, but part of an entire trend. The stricter the religious beliefs of the parent, the less the average intelligence of the child.

 

“Sociologist Zena Blau of the University of Houston recently conducted a study of more than a thousand children in Chicago. Blau reported that IQs were lowest among children whose mothers have overly strict religious beliefs. Children whose mothers were from a non-denominational or non-religious background had the highest average IQs - 110 for whites, 109 for blacks. Children whose mothers belonged to "fundamentalist" religious groups tended to have IQs that were 7 to 10 points lower.

 

According to Blau, these religion-IQ differences hold even when you take into account the mother's social class, current occupational status, and education.

 

"Understanding Human Behavior" by James V. McConnel, p555-6

 

It is easy to see how a cycle may emerge: If some people are prompted to adopt some religious beliefs, their children will have less IQ. They will therefore be more likely to take up religious beliefs more strictly. If they do so, their children will have even less average intelligence, and perhaps adopt even stricter religious behaviours. A cycle. This cycle would be most readily shaken by education imposed from without, on a national scale. Pubilc education is a good defence against communities cycling into la-la land.

 

Also, sometimes such as during the enlightenment, a general changing in culture can break the hold of specific forms of religious inhibition, and break the cycle. In the West, a gradual counter-cycle of individualism ended the dark ages and allowed the West's cultural ascent.

 

Religious People Have Lower IQ

 

It is apparent that there is a cycle. Religiosity, and belief in God, causes parents to have children with lower IQs. These children go on to be less interested in science, and hardly ever become top scientists. If this is true, then it must also be true that religious people in general, during their adult lives, remain less intelligent and less educated than those around them. Research has already shown that this is true.

 

“Several research studies have been published on the statistical relationship between religiosity and educational level, or religiosity and IQ. Michael Shermer, in How We Believe:

 

The Search for God in an Age of Science, describes a large survey of randomly chosen Americans that he and his colleague Frank Sulloway carried out. Religiosity is indeed negatively correlated with education (more highly educated people are less likely to be religious). Religiosity is also negatively correlated with interest in science.

 

[Paul Bell in Mensa Magazine, 2002, reviewed all studies taken of religion and IQ. He concluded:]

 

"Of 43 studies carried out since 1927 on the relationship between religious belief and one's intelligence and/or educational level, all but four found an inverse connection. That is, the higher one's intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious or hold "beliefs" of any kind."

 

"The God Delusion" by Prof. Richard Dawkins, p102-103

 

 

Conclusion

 

The historical battles between religious institutions and science, such as those in physics, astronomy and biology, indicate there is something wrong with the religious approach to the study of reality. The underlying problem extends to individual intelligence and education, and is not just limited to the actions of religious bodies. Hardly any of the several-hundred Nobel Prize winning scientists have been Christians. Only 3.3% of the Members of the Royal Society in the UK and 7% the National Academy of Sciences in the USA, believe in a personal God. The more senior and learned the scientist, the less likely they are to believe in God. This effect is not limited to scientists. The children of highly religious parents suffer diminished IQs - averaging 7 to 10 points lower compared to their non-religious counterparts in similar socio-economic groups.

 

As you would expect from these results, multiple studies have also shown that IQ is opposed to the strength of religious belief. 39 studies since 1927 (out of 43) have found that the more educated a person is, and the higher one's intelligence, the less likely someone is to hold religious beliefs.

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)
www.beyondgenes.com 
 

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