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Are Christians stupid?(16 posts)

Are Christians stupid?dr hoo
Dec 22, 2003 10:03 AM
Intelligence and religious beliefs - statistics

The following is a review of several studies of IQ and religiosity,
parts of this page are paraphrased and summarized by Jim Tims, from
Burnham Beckwith's article, "The Effect of Intelligence on Religious
Faith," Free Inquiry, Spring 1986.


1. Thomas Howells, 1927
Study of 461 students showed religiously conservative students "are, in
general, relatively inferior in intellectual ability."

2. Hilding Carlsojn, 1933
Study of 215 students showed that "there is a tendency for the more
intelligent undergraduate to be sympathetic toward... atheism."

3. Abraham Franzblau, 1934
Confirming Howells and Carlson, tested 354 Jewish children, aged 10-16.
Found a negative correlation between religiosity and IQ as measured by
the Terman intelligence test.

4. Thomas Symington, 1935
Tested 400 young people in colleges and church groups. He reported,
"There is a constant positive relation in all the groups between liberal
religious thinking and mental ability... There is also a constant
positive relation between liberal scores and intelligence..."

5. Vernon Jones, 1938
Tested 381 students, concluding "a slight tendency for intelligence and
liberal attitudes to go together."

6. A. R. Gilliland, 1940
At variance with all other studies, found "little or no relationship
between intelligence and attitude toward god."

7. Donald Gragg, 1942
Reported an inverse correlation between 100 ACE freshman test scores and
Thurstone "reality of god" scores.

8. Brown and Love, 1951
At the University of Denver, tested 613 male and female students. The
mean test scores of non-believers was 119 points, and for believers it
was 100. The non-believers ranked in the 80th percentile, and believers
in the 50th. Their findings "strongly corroborate those of Howells."

9. Michael Argyle, 1958
Concluded that "although intelligent children grasp religious concepts
earlier, they are also the first to doubt the truth of religion, and
intelligent students are much less likely to accept orthodox beliefs."

10. Jeffrey Hadden, 1963
Found no correlation between intelligence and grades. This was an
anomalous finding, since GPA corresponds closely with intelligence.
Other factors may have influenced the results at the University of

11. Young, Dustin and Holtzman, 1966
Average religiosity decreased as GPA rose.

12. James Trent, 1967
Polled 1400 college seniors. Found little difference, but high-ability
students in his sample group were over-represented.

13. C. Plant and E. Minium, 1967
The more intelligent students were less religious, both before entering
college and after 2 years of college.

14. Robert Wuthnow, 1978
Of 532 students, 37 percent of Christians, 58 percent of apostates, and
53 percent of non-religious scored above average on SATs.

15. Hastings and Hoge, 1967, 1974
Polled 200 college students and found no significant correlations.

16. Norman Poythress, 1975
Mean SATs for strongly antireligious (1148), moderately anti-religious
(1119), slightly antireligious (1108), and religious (1022).

17. Wiebe and Fleck, 1980
Studied 158 male and female Canadian university students. They reported
"nonreligious S's tended to be strongly intelligent" and "more
intelligent than religious S's."

Others :

Pratt (1937) among 3040 students at regional state college, taking
denomenational affiliation as sign of religiocity, "found that
non-affiliates recorded lower mean scores on the American council
Examination than any students affiliated to any denomenational group."

Francis (1979)(using fequency of prayer and chruch attendence) 2272
school children between 9-11,"found no relationship between school
assigned IQ's and religious behavior after controling for paternal
social class."

Francis'('86 replication
cont.dr hoo
Dec 22, 2003 10:05 AM
Francis'('86 replication) findings replicated in second study among 6955


1. Rose Goldsen, 1952
Percentage of students who believe in a divine god: Harvard 30; UCLA 32;
Dartmouth 35; Yale 36; Cornell 42; Wayne 43; Weslyan 43; Michigan 45;
Fisk 60; Texas 62; North Carolina 68.

2. National Review Study, 1970
Percentage of students who believe in a Spirit or Divine God: Reed 15;
Brandeis 25; Sarah Lawrence 28; Williams 36; Stanford 41; Boston U. 41;
Yale 42; Howard 47; Indiana 57; Davidson 59; S. Carolina 65; Marquette
[Marquette is a religious school]

3. Caplovitz and Sherrow, 1977
Apostasy rates rose continuously from 5 percent in "low" ranked schools
to 17 percent in "high" ranked schools.

4. Niemi, Ross, and Alexander, 1978
In elite schools, organized religion was judged important by only 26
percent of their students, compared with 44 percent of all students.


1. Terman, 1959
Studied group with IQ's over 140. Of men, 10 percent held strong
religious belief, of women 18 percent. Sixty-two percent of men and 57
percent of women claimed "little religious inclination" while 28 percent
of the men and 23 percent of the women claimed it was "not at all

2. Warren and Heist, 1960
Found no differences among National Merit Scholars. Results may have
been effected by the fact that NM scholars are not selected on the basis
of intelligence or grades alone, but also on "leadership" and such like.

3. Southern and Plant, 1968
Studied 42 male and 30 female members of Mensa. Mensa members were much
less religious in belief than the typical American college alumnus or


1. William S. Ament, 1927
C. C. Little, president of the University of Michigan, checked persons
listed in Who's Who in America: "Unitarians, Episcopalians,
Congregationalists, Universalists, and Presbyterians [who are less
religious] are... far more numerous in Who's Who than would be expected
on the basis of the population which they form. Baptists, Methodists,
and Catholics are distinctly less numerous."

Ament confirmed Little's conclusion. He noted that Unitarians, the least
religious, were more than 40 times as numerous in Who's Who as in the
U.S. population.

2. Lehman and Witty, 1931
Identified 1189 scientists found in both Who's Who (1927) and American
Men of Science (1927). Only 25 percent of those listed in the latter and
50 percent of those in the former reported their religious denomination,
despite the specific request to do so, under the heading of "religious
denomination (if any)." Well over 90 percent of the general population
claims religious affiliation. The figure of 25 percent suggests far less
religiosity among scientists.

Unitarians were 81.4 times as numerous among eminent scientists as

3. Kelley and Fisk, 1951
Found a negative (-.39) correlation between the strength of religious
values and research competence. [How these were measured is unknown.]

4. Ann Roe, 1953
Interviewed 64 "eminent scientists, nearly all members of the
prestigious National Academy of Sciences or the American Philosophical
Society. She reported that, while nearly all of them had religious
parents and had attended Sunday school, 'now only three of these men are
seriously active in church. A few others attend upon occasion, or even
give some financial support to a church which they do not attend... All
the others have long since dismissed religion as any guide to them, and
the church plays no part in their lives... A few are militantly
atheistic, but most are just not interested.'"

5. Francis Bello, 1954
Interviewed or questionnaired 107 nonindustrial scientists under the age
of 40 judged by senior colleagues to be outstanding. Of the 87
responses, 45 percent claimed to be "ag
cont. 2dr hoo
Dec 22, 2003 10:06 AM
5. Francis Bello, 1954
Interviewed or questionnaired 107 nonindustrial scientists under the age
of 40 judged by senior colleagues to be outstanding. Of the 87
responses, 45 percent claimed to be "agnostic or atheistic" and an
additional 22 percent claimed no religious affiliation. For 20 most
eminent, "the proportion who are now a-religious is considerably higher
than in the entire survey group."

6. Jack Chambers, 1964
Questionnaired 740 US psychologists and chemists. He reported, "The
highly creative men... significantly more often show either no
preference for a particular religion or little or no interest in
religion." Found that the most eminent psychologists showed 40 percent
no preference, 16 percent for the most eminent chemists.

7. Vaughan, Smith, and Sjoberg, 1965
Polled 850 US physicists, zoologists, chemical engineers, and geologists
listed in American Men of Science (1955) on church membership, and
attendance patterns, and belief in afterlife. Of the 642 replies, 38.5
percent did not believe in an afterlife, whereas 31.8 percent did.
Belief in immortality was less common among major university staff than
among those employed by business, government, or minor universities. The
Gallup poll taken about this time showed that two-thirds of the U.S.
population believed in an afterlife, so scientists were far less
religious than the typical adult.


The consensus here is clear: more intelligent people tend not to believe
in religion. And this observation is given added force when you consider
that the above studies span a broad range of time, subjects and
methodologies, and yet arrive at the same conclusion.

This is the result even when the researchers are Christian conservatives
themselves. One such researcher is George Gallup. Here are the results
of a Fall 1995 Gallup poll:

Percentage of respondents who agreed with the following statements:

Religion is Religion can

"very important "answer all or most

Respondents in their life" of today's problems"


Attended college 53 percent 58 percent

No college 63 65

Income over $50,000 48 56

$30,000 - $50,000 56 62

$20,000 - $30,000 56 60

Under $20,000 66 66

Why does this correlation exist? The first answer that comes to mind is
that religious beliefs tend to be more illogical or incoherent than
secular beliefs, and intelligent people tend to recognize that more
quickly. But this explanation will surely be rejected by religious
people, who will seek other explanations and rationalizations.

According to Nature 394:313, a recent survey of members of the National
Academy of Sciences showed that 72% are outright atheists, 21% are
agnostic and only 7% admit to belief in a personal God.

According to the Skeptic magazine vol.6 #2 1998, in multiple studies,
there is a negative correlation between theism and morality. By
Franzblau's 1934 study, there's a negative correlation between
religiousity and honesty. Ross 1950 shows atheists and agnostics are
more likely to express their willingness to help the poor than the
deeply religious. 1969 Hirschi and Stark found no correlation in
lawbreaking by churchgoing children and non-churchgoing children.

This same Skeptic published the results of another study that compared
professions and likelihood of believing in God. The general public was
just over 90% likely to believe in God. Scientists in general were just
under 40% likely. Mathematicians were just over 40% likely, biologists
just under 30%, and physicists were barely over 20% likely to believe in
coda:dr hoo
Dec 22, 2003 10:08 AM
Note to critmass....


All pasted from the web. Just a troll. I have no interest in discussing it. Really.

But it DOES explain a lot, right?
good academic troll even! (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 22, 2003 10:17 AM
As you are fond of pointing out.....Tri_Rich
Dec 22, 2003 10:20 AM
It depends on the questions asked, doesn't it. There seems to be a continuum between literal bible thumping through liberal religion and agnosticism to militant atheism. Where you choose to draw the line between believes and doesn't probably affects your results quite a bit.
So what are you implying?Free2Pedal
Dec 22, 2003 10:40 AM
Them sounds like fighting words. What are you hoping to accomplish by posting this, besides an attempt to inflame some of us? Personally, I doubt the intelligence of anyone who would look at things with such a narrow perspective. Academic snobs who go out searching for such statistics have a biased from the start and are rarely worth listening to. This entire post is nonsense.
I am implying that ....dr hoo
Dec 22, 2003 11:06 AM
... people around here have a pretty low standard for "trolls".

A good troll should be long and seem to have a lot behind it, but it is DESIGNED to inflame, not promote understanding or the gaining of knowledge.

My post was pretty much a swipe at critmass. Which you should know if you got to the "coda" part.

That being said, the fact that you dismiss the studies cited in the post, calling it "nonsense", shows an all too common tendency to ignore that which you do not agree with. I also like the throwing of insults like "snob". That's a good touch!

As for searching the internet, if you care to, you can find plenty of sites that try to debunk many of the studies in my post. Some are debunked well, some not so well, and some not at all.

Now that you have pigeonholed me and every bit of information in that post, you can go on with your life. Don't engage it, just dismiss it.
Are Trolls stupid? nmDougSloan
Dec 22, 2003 10:16 AM
What a RACIST question!dr hoo
Dec 22, 2003 10:22 AM
Some trolls are stupid, some are smart. Sure, we tend to think of trolls as stupid, but if you were raised in a cave and abused all your life, how smart would YOU be? It's not like there is a trollcentric IQ test, but if there were YOU would look stupid if you took it.
and this man is left alone with our children.bill105
Dec 22, 2003 10:25 AM
better him than Jacko ;) (nm)ColnagoFE
Dec 22, 2003 10:34 AM
So if Xians are stupid and atheists are smart,moneyman
Dec 22, 2003 10:28 AM
We're both anomalies, right?

Anomalies?dr hoo
Dec 22, 2003 11:16 AM
Well, I deviate from the norm in many ways. I can't argue with that. And clearly your possessing a sense of humor puts you at odds with many people here!

I would never REALLY claim that religion makes you stupid. You know that. Just irrational.

I hope your Christmas is as happy as my Solstice!

dr. (pagan for fun) hoo
Dec 22, 2003 12:33 PM
I mean, uh, "Oh great parent earth, we thank you for the wind and fire and mountain bike trails! Ooga, booga, drizalda, ruffa"

Say hi to Turtle for me.

Smart people don't need GodSpoiler
Jan 4, 2004 9:35 AM
or they'd tend to think they know enough to get by on their own. Many Christians also believe God's glory and grace is shown when he raises the lowest on earth to join him in heaven.