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?

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Chiz ,
Check out the wikipedia entry for intelligence . The definition below can be found there as an agreed upon definition by a panel of intelligence researchers in 1994.
A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on", "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.[4]

Notice, the book learning/academic skill reference.
I didn't mention book learning or test-taking, but merely the ability to grasp various academia. I'm not really looking for a specific answer, but with each response I am, for some reason, surprised that atheist view 'believers' to be of lesser intelligence than themselves. It's as if we consider ourselves more advanced

Being able to 'catch on', 'make sense' and 'figure out what to do' seems a great definition of the general requirements for cognitive advancement. That is pretty much the same thing given by Webster, but wikipedia is fine.

Honestly, I can't say that you are wrong in your assessment. Proving something like this would be nearly impossible (though maybe someone should try). If you are right and we are somehow on a higher mental level than theist, great for us... right?

But I don't want to believe that.. b/c that's all it can be; a belief. I just have no evidence to show that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically united in their evolution should prove to have evolved at different rates. All recent studies show that we are all pretty much on the same evolutionary scale.

I did, however, ask a loaded question and will end my 'nose-butting' with this:

I think theist choose to ignore logic when it comes to the GM&S (Great Mover & Shaker). They seem perfectly capable of applying it in various other fields, but for some reason, when the time comes to apply it to the greater philosophical questions, such as, "why am I" or "where did I come from"... they fall short.

Here are a few quotes I found to fit this discussion. All by Richard Dawkins, who I find to have the best 'one-liners'.

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. "

"The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry. "

"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 thought 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."
Adding to that already long post.. b/c I can't seem to keep quite. :-)

If you all are right and theist are less intelligent than us, what does that mean for us? Doesn't that put us at a great disadvantage in the copying-fidelity, fecundity and ... dare I say it, the memetics of evolution?

Is our advanced ability to reason a failed evolutionary trait?

I think far more 'believers' are really 'non-believers' who hold on to the lifestyle out of some social and/or mental addiction. The lecture by the Vatican's head astronomer is a great example. Even if he did find god highly improbably, what would be the benefit for him to voice it? With his scientific knowledge, surely his eyes have been opened.

You said in an earlier response:
"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..."

I'm closer to 30 than 40, but I can relate to this. However, I think it's obvious that there are far more claims of atheism in the newer generations than yours our mine. Being atheist does not necessarily mean that one has gone through the reasoning process that I feel is required to fully understand what that means.
Well put Chiz, ... and I understand the mental wrestling match that the mere mention of intelligence within peer groups is prone to spawn. I would like to clarify something though. My belief, is on the whole, atheist TEND to be more intelligent (on a mean or average basis) and yes, that is of course based on my personal interactions and experience, but it's all I really have .. ;-)
I have watched the "coolness" factor with my children in regard to vegetarianism and I get a little kick out of it. 3 of 4 have tried it and we have 1 practicing veggie left, but she is hard-headed like her father.

I definitely can't argue that. I've, personally, tried to have some civil intelligent conversations with the theist around me and... well, saying it failed doesn't even begin to describe the experience.

"on a mean or average"

You're probably right. We have a much smaller community as compared, and I would like to think that education and intelligence are stronger fads among the younger atheist. Sports & Hollywood replaced the scientific fame of the mid to late 1800's and it's time we got it back!
I don't think it's intelligence at all, there are obviously very many intelligent religious people out there. It probably speaks more to your brainwashing theory. From the time you joint he religion based on sin/forgiveness you must learn to control your thoughts and actions and be as godly as possible. This undoubtedly means you shouldn't question your faith. For most, to question if god exists is a sin in and of itself. I'd suggest that this reason alone stops most from leaving their religion, because afterall, what if...
Mike ,
I was brought up in a deep south baptist stylee ... brainwashed and surrounded by an unforgiving culture. What led me (and the other atheist) from the clutches of religion? Chance? Rebellion? I know, I know, largely unanswerable ;-)
I agree with that mean and average point.

I think you have to take sample size into consideration. Perhaps the reason why there seems to be more intelligent atheists than theists is that you're dealing with a smaller sample size. I don't think anyone denies that some theists aren't educated and intelligent, and I'm guessing many atheists come from this group of people.

So to say that atheists are more intelligent than theists as a whole might be a little unfair, given how much larger the theistic group is.
I like your angle, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. ;)
Newsletter? Ok. Just as soon as I start writing one.
I can't speak for your parents, but looking at it from the outside, I would say they are Christians of convenience. My parents are the same; they are there for the community and are invested into the belief. In other words, they are fonies, who talk the talk, but definitely do not walk the walk. This, obviously, can't be applied to everyone.
Hypocrisy, Trey. He's accusing them of hypocritical behavior in relation to their dogma.


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