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Higher IQ ~ more atheism internationally

From: Jeff W.
Sent on: Monday, June 16, 2008 6:08 PM

Higher IQ ~ more atheism internationally  permlink

Category: Religion
Posted on: June 12,[masked]:37 PM, by Razib

God makes you stupid, researchers claim:

Lynn and his two co-authors argue that average IQ is an excellent predictor of what proportion of the population are true believers, across 137 countries. They also cite surveys of the US Academy of Sciences and UK Royal Academy showing single-digit rates of religious belief among academics.

Well, I actually blogged this relationship years ago (December 2003 actually). It jumps out at you pretty clearly if you know the two traits and their international trends. I think that the causal factors which underly the relationship need to be qualified carefully; I do not believe that it is just high IQ leading to some inevitable skepticism. I think a psychological phenomenon such as religious belief should be modeled as a quantitative trait subject to a norm of reaction. So of late I've become more interested in the correlations of these traits which vary within a culture. I'm especially interested in the ~0.50 heritability that Thomas Bouchard found among twins separated at birth in regards to religious intensity....

I've placed the three tables I found in a pre-press form of the paper that is circulating below the fold....

Table 1. Decline in percentage holding religious belief, with age (Francis,1989)

Age N Boys Girls
5-6 400 87.9 96.0
11-12 400 79.6 84.1
15-16 400 55.7 70.4

Table 2. Declining belief Correlates with Age (sd =15.6)(Turner,1980)

Age N Belief (%) R: Non-belief x IQ
12 50   69.54   0.183
13 50   66.10   0.110
14 50   59.86 -0.113
15 50   57.94 -0.354*
* significant at p<.01 

Table 3. Correlations between the National IQs and Religious Disbelief

IQs N.Countries Non-Believers Range Non-Believers R: Non-belief x IQ
64-108  137  10.69%  <1% to 81% +0.60
64-86   69   1.95%  <1% to 40%  +0.16
87-108   68   16.99%  <1% to 81%  +0.54

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