I started a poll this morning and was interested to find out that some atheist here believe that an adult 'believer' is less intelligent than a 'non-believer'.

I want to extend that question a little.

This article was mentioned in Richard Dawkins's book "The God Delusion" (or maybe it's the other way around) and also happens to be one of the reasons for my poll.

After reading this part of the book, I started to ask myself if intelligence really has anything to do with it.
I know that some are just flat out stupid, but can't that be said about every group? Seriously, how many atheists do you know that claim it just b/c their big brother or friends are... or call themselves atheist b/c it's becoming a fairly popular thing in the younger generation? How many claim it to rebel against the authority in their life?

These reasons have nothing to do with intelligence. They are the result of emotional decisions made early in life. Sure, they may be better in the long run for it, but it is not the result of 'higher' intelligence.

Could adult Christians believe the way they do b/c they were simply brainwashed and trained to think that way? Has their level of intelligence been suppressed or do they just not feel it necessary to challenge what has been so rigorously ingrained in their heads from childhood?

What do you think?

Tags: believers, intelligence

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Briefly , I think intelligence does have something to do with the Atheist equation. How many stupid atheist do you meet? The other piece of the puzzle, and yes, it's a big one, is CURIOSITY and the ability to "self-examine".

I know a lot of stupid proclaimed atheists; more than I care to count. The curious and self-examine thing doesn't make sense to me. Please explain a little further b/c those are definitely not limited to the atheist groups.
Chiz , My personal path to atheism was borne of curiosity, the ability to question my own beliefs and their origins in a somewhat objective manor. I found the process uncomfortable at times but had I not been curious and eager to examine my own intellectual make-up, I would still be feeding at the trough. I know from many conversations with other non-believers that I am not alone. I'll add that the overwhelming majority of people who I admire on an intellectual basis are indeed agnostic, atheist or pan-theist. Whatever you choose to believe about the religious masses who bury their heads in the sands of dogma is up to you.
Adding, I'm in my mid 40's and therefore I'm unlikely to have friend/assoc who claim atheism because it's the "cool " thing to do...
Your personal path to atheism as well as those around you have absolutely nothing to do with the intelligence of millions of religious people. I, like you, had an uncomfortable time breaking from my childhood training, but I'm not arrogant enough to claim a higher intelligence b/c of my decision.

I also find that most of the intelligent minds I admire wrote as if they had agnostic tendencies, but, again, I can not claim to know all of their theological beliefs.

Since we are giving personal accounts to represent the masses of people we are discussing, I'll use my wife as an example. She is a Christian girl. She doesn't go to church, she doesn't read the bible, she doesn't pray, she doesn't follow the rules... but she believes in a God. I've, obviously, had the 'why' conversation many times. Her answer is always the same. "I don't have another answer yet."

Seriously.. it's always that simple. She was raised with an answer to a question we don't have an answer to, yet. When they find one.. well, whether she listens or not is a different story.

I show the same tendency when buying groceries. I know that the store brand Mac&Cheese has the exact same ingredients as the brand name... b/c I've read the box.. but I refuse to believe they are the same. The evidence is right in front of me, but I would rather spend an extra .75 per box b/c I have convinced myself that the brand name tastes better... This is a very simplistic way of explaining this, but we are, after all, breaking all bounds of logical reasoning by comparing 100's of millions of people with the, MAYBE, 50-100 that we have met in our lifetime...

Oh, and some of the most brilliant astronomers in our worlds history have been Muslim and some very incredible physicists and psychologists have been Jewish.

And to make my position a little more clear, I think I'm far more intelligent than most 'believers'... most people I know (except for my wife -- she is always right), but then again.. I know them; I don't know the 100's of millions of people were are discussing.
How can one be privy to the unknowable? Honestly? If anyone, including your wife is not curious enough to look deeper, let them wallow in religion. Easy as that Chiz.
I am arrogant enough (if that is how you prefer it to be framed) to make such a statement of a generalized intellectual superiority, but it is based on my experience. I'm not claiming that religious people have "0" curiosity and I am most certainly not saying that being religious and being intelligent are mutually exclusive. Maybe a Ouija board can help you. As to mac and cheese, no matter what it says on the box they can and do taste differently. That argument is invalid.
I believe you are missing the point of the argument and the article I provided. Did you read it?

You said:
"If anyone, including your wife is not curious enough to look deeper,"

Look deeper into what, exactly, Seventenths? How deep did you have to go to find out that there isn't a definitive answer yet? Again, the curiosity for the questions: "why" and "how" have not been answered, yet. Do you know something that the rest of the scientific world needs to know about?

As to your arrogance, that's ok; everyone has their own special approach.
Yes, of course I read the article in question. I was wondering just exactly where the intelligence aspect came into focus. Maybe you should re-read the article yourself... Perhaps you meant to link to another article.
I took it as a look into mental vs. physical abuse and the lasting effects that they may have, not an examination of the relative intelligence of believer's vs. non-believers.
When I say look deeper, I mean to look at one's own belief system and and question everything. Why do I believe X? If I believe X because of Y , why do I believe Y ?
One of the earliest observations that I remember making was that children were usually indoctrinated into the religion of their parents from birth, hence, your religion is merely an accident of birth, not an informed decision. The effects of early childhood learning on one's belief system are well documented.
As to a definitive answer... Are you looking for proof? of what exactly?
Personally, I have never heard a valid argument for the belief in a god and there is plenty of scientific evidence that refutes much of the "sacred" text. I'm quite comfortable with my position.
The reasoning for the article should be obvious and I'm definitely not going to rewrite it in a way that will make more sense to you, as I am not Richard Dawkins.
But, in a nutshell, being raised into a specific religion will, for many people, have lasting effects, mental and physical, on their lives.

You said:
"As to a definitive answer... Are you looking for proof? of what exactly?"

There is no proof.. which is why so many regard themselves as simply agnostic.

It came up in chat that I may need to define 'intelligence' b/c we may be arguing two completely different things.

I will refer you to webster's website-- m-w.com
Pick any one of those definitions.
I believe that the belief in a god has absolutely nothing to do with a person's ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations. They are not less adept than an atheist in math, science, english, history. They are not less capable of grasping new concepts or cope with physical problems.

The only difference between myself and a theist is that I am willing to accept that there is no answer yet and just accepting what I was told to accept is not good enough for me. I've looked at the evidence and it doesn't add up. The very act of thinking of a goddish figure seems absurd to me..
We have a difference in philosophy... in basic theological beliefs; that's it.

You are right, there is no logical argument for the belief in a god and that science has has refuted much of the bible. As a matter of fact, I don't think science should be needed to see that the bible is not a viable source of information. It has some very good historical information in there, but very little else.

All of this is obviously common sense to someone who believes 'faith' is not a real force. Some of these people have been indoctrinated into believing that Faith is as real as gravity itself.

"A friend, an intelligent lapsed Jew who observes the Sabbath for reasons of cultural solidarity, describes himself as a Tooth Fairy Agnostic. He will not call himself an atheist because it is in principle impossible to prove a negative. But "agnostic" on its own might suggest that he though God's existence or non-existence equally likely. In fact, though strictly agnostic about god, he considers God's existence no more probable than the Tooth Fairy's."
--Richard Dawkins
This brings to mind another question. Intelligence/capability manifest itself differently from person to person (The gadzillion neural connections that make up our circuits are completely unique) and perhaps those that show strength in "logic" are more apt to dissect the god arguments and ultimately arrive at atheism. ;-) Just a guess
If you're measure of intelligence begins and ends with the belief in god, you might want to rework your model.
I'm replying to the post below:
I am quite sure I understand the gist of the article... it's what I do.
I've replied to your question about the lasting effects of early childhood "education". It is a well studied area of psychology.
Interestingly, I've watch a lecture given by the vatican's own head astronomer(twice). I believe the lecture title was something along the lines of "slaughtering sacred cows". He for obvious reasons, possesses great intellect, he was entertaining and very informative. The most interesting observation that I made was that the more one learns of the universe, the further one must range from a literal interpretation of the bible. It was interesting to me anyway...


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A fun test for all you ex-Christians

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