The latest study saying that liberals and atheists are smarter than conservatives and believers
at CNN, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Political Science has found that, “on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs.”
First, this is so funny. Can you imagine that if, say, hundreds of IQ studies—indeed every relevant study—indicated that on average East Asians and Caucasians had higher IQs than blacks and nonwhite Hispanics, CNN would have published that? Whoops—hundreds of IQ studies do indicate that, but somehow CNN hasn’t gotten around to publishing a story on it. Oh, well.
Second, Kanazawa’s finding repeats Richard Lynn’s finding of 2008 and reflects the same logical fallacies and secularist biases. See my collegial exchange with Professor Lynn that was posted at the time.
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Lydia S. writes:
The I. Q. tests are usually formulated by the elites who dont believe in God, so how can you compare the I.Q. of the liberal with the Christian? THey have their own I.Q. questions designed to tap in to the knowledge of the liberal. Its one sided.
God probably has his own I.Q. tests that all the liberals would fail. Christians could pass some of these I.Q. tests on various principles and facts of the Bible, or on reality or on things like how to avoid losing your daughter in a park. Liberals dont get that. They fail my IQ test.
You’re making the same kind of argument that is routinely made against tests showing racial IQ differences, that the tests are “culturally biased.” That argument has been shown, with great thoroughness, to be incorrect. IQ tests are extremely sophisticated and designed to avoid cultural biases. In fact, blacks do better on questions requiring “white cultural knowledge” than on culture-free questions.
Examples of culture free questions involve, say, comparing geometric shapes.
IQ tests really do test for something called “g,” meaning general intelligence. The best definition of this is: the ability to process information. And this ability differs very markedly among individuals and among groups.
The problem with studies showing that non-believers have higher IQ than believers is not that the results are incorrect, but that they are divorced from historical and social context. All societies will show a normal distribution of IQ shaped in a bell curve, with most people bunched in the middle, and some people higher than the middle, and some people lower than the middle. A society such as Britain or America which actively discourages expressions of religious belief in its elite classes and institutions, will inevitably end up with higher IQ people being disportionately non-believers. To report the differential in IQ for believers and non-believers as though this represented some universally valid fact, without reference to the reality that modern society essentially prohibits religious belief in its upper echelons, is to present a woefully misleading picture, as I argue in my exchange with Richard Lynn.
Lydia S. replies:
Atheists believe in comforting myths, such as that government will and ought to take care of them from cradle to grave, and that young girls can run in the park alone.
I see now. It was not the test itself. It was the group that was tested that the conclusions were based on.
Ian B. writes:
You nailed the reason that self-reported atheists will tend to show higher IQs than religious people. The fact is that atheism (of the conscious, self-reported variety) is mostly an academic phenomenon, whereas most of the population is at least somewhat religious. So when comparing the IQs of the two populations, you’re comparing a largely academic group to the population at large.
You would get the same results if you were to compare the IQs of self-identified post-modernists to people who didn’t self-identify as such. Or deconstructionists. Or Marxists. Or any number of other insane, nonsensical belief systems primarily held by academics who have managed to delude themselves into believing them. And it can’t be that their higher IQs give them greater insight into the objective truth, because those are all belief systems that deny the existence of objective truth. [LA replies: Ha ha ha ha.]
Also, note that there are people who are non-religious, and lack any real belief in anything transcendent, but are non-academic and don’t self-identify as atheists, simply because they don’t think about that sort of thing at all and are thus non-self-conscious about it. That group isn’t included in this study, but if they were it would change the results, as they tend to have lower IQs, and a higher degree of criminality, than the population at large.
Leonard D. writes:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 01, 2010 09:13 AM | Send
“A society such as Britain or America which actively discourages expressions of religious belief in its elite classes and institutions, will inevitably end up with higher IQ people being disproportionately non-believers.”
True, but that is only part of the filter effect. Another part: in a society where the entire elite power structure is of faith X, will inevitably end up with higher IQ people being disproportionately of faith X, at least to outward appearances. This is because people want power, and those of them who are ideologically flexible or uncommitted tend to conform their beliefs to their own advantage.
Also I do not think you should ignore the effect of proselytization. A society where all institutions of learning, and indeed almost all cultural institutions of any kind, are controlled by members of, and actively proselytize for, any faith X, will inevitably end up with higher IQ people being disproportionately of faith X. Our power elite do not only profess progressivism; most of them believe it heart and soul.
And finally, there is always human herd behavior, which smart people are vulnerable to, if perhaps not as much as stupid people. [LA replies: Have you ever attended a social gathering of East Coast elite class liberals?] The whole recent AGW fraud is in part of this character. When belief X is fashionable, higher IQ will tend to believe it. Of course, in this case there is a laugh-test, and higher IQ people probably do tend to pass it better, and so perhaps I should say it as, in the absence of evidence pro or con for it, when belief X is fashionable, higher IQ will tend to believe it.
Hmm, I see you touched on some of this stuff in that earlier discussion with Richard Lynn. Oh well, I send it anyway in the hopes it is interesting.