The reason I would give for this is that, unlike most things that people learn, religious belief tends to be drilled into peoples' heads at a very early age, and is forced on them in such a way that they become psychologically conditioned to automatically rationalize any inconsistencies in their beliefs as part of "god's mystery" or some similar shit. They also tend to be conditioned to such a degree that they can't even conceive of a world in which there was no skydaddy watching over them.
These are not good reasons for their belief, of course, but the indoctrination they experience from culture and authority effectively stunts their ability to think rationally about this subject. It appeals to emotion and becomes so closely tied to their psyche that at even the slightest hint of doubt, their own mind automatically throws up psychological barriers to prevent even the slightest hint of rationality from slipping through to their religious sensibilities.
Religion is essentially a culturally instituted neurological disorder which prevents rational thought in specific situations. This gives politicians and clergymen a nice area where they can operate in such a way that allows them to convince even the most intelligent people of the most idiotic ideas, provided this type of theological conditioning has been properly developed.
The question then becomes:
Are stupid people easier to indoctrinate?
Hey TAA. You seem to enjoy playing "devil's advocate" here. Just wondering, are you by any chance religious or do you just like getting people to explain things?
BTW, I'm not saying it's bad to get people to explain things at all. I rather enjoy it. I think it really improves a person's debating skills, which I believe that anyone who wants to get in the ring with a xian needs. Just curios what your stance is. :)
Well, in that case I think you are unwittingly doing people a favor. If someone makes a blanket statement of "they are all stupid", that person needs to be called out. Personally, I don't think we need to go "easy" on religious people, or even really show much respect for their delusions. On the other hand, it does us no service at all to generalize (unless you are specifically saying you are generalizing) and make personal attacks on people because of their delusion. I think it is much better to make concise, unemotional statements that make people think. When we drop into emotional arguments, we are playing on their field and they have much more practice at irrational arguments than we do.
What you are unintentionally doing is making people actually think about their position and articulate it in a way so as to bring out any absurd, uninformed sentiments. I think that is a very good thing. So, for that, thanks! :)
There is a concept called "brain pattering". It's how people learn to do a task better by rote. As a person does a task over and over, the brain gets patterned to process the task more efficiently. And because of how the brain works, tasks that are related become better as well. The problem is, it works in negative ways. The more a person purposefully train your mind to ignore evidence, to only believe what you really want to be true, rather than look for truth through evidence and be open minded to knowledge, the less likely they are to be open minded in other tasks and thoughts. Granted, this is a generalization, there are some people who can separate these things, but as a general rule, this is why religious people tend to be anti-intellectual and under-educated. They have trained their minds to be that way.
Well, once a person stops believing fairy tales, that person will likely become smarter simply because of the fact that they are starting to evaluate evidence instead of deciding what they want to believe and then only look for evidence that supports that belief and ignore all other facts and evidence.
So, in essence, yes. A person who stops believing fairy tales immediately becomes smarter, based solely on that decision.
And, they often stop using bad logic--or, at least, a lot less of it. Also resulting in a sudden net gain in intelligence.
I have always thought that one of the most harmful effects of religion is that it comes with a plethora of lessons in bad reasoning.