Religiosity and intelligence


Religiosity and intelligence

The topic of religiosity and intelligence pertains to relationships between intelligence and religiosity, the extent to which someone is religious. Multiple studies have been undertaken to examine these relationships, with differing and controversial results.

ummary of research in the area and definitions of terms

Intelligence is an umbrella term used to describe a property of the mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn. There are several ways to define intelligence. In some cases, intelligence may include traits such as creativity, personality, character, knowledge, or wisdom. However, some psychologists prefer not to include these traits in the definition of intelligence Fact|date=May 2008.

The most widely-researched index or classification of intelligence among scientists and sociologists is Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.) Fact|date=May 2008. I.Q. is a summary index, calculated by testing individuals' abilities in a variety of tasks and producing a composite score to represent overall ability, e.g., Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. It was originally developed to assess difficulties in educational achievement. It is also used to predict educational outcomes and other variables of interest.

Others have attempted to measure intelligence indirectly by looking at individuals' or group's educational attainment, although this risks bias from other demographic factors, such as age, income, gender and cultural background, all of which can affect educational attainment. Fact|date=May 2008.

Dissatisfaction with traditional IQ tests has led to the development of a number of alternative theories, all of which suggest that intelligence is the result of a number of independent abilities that uniquely contribute to human performance. The theory of multiple intelligences claims a broadening of the conventional definition of intelligence is needed, since, if intelligence is defined as the cognitive or mental capacity of an individual, this by logical necessity would include all forms of mental qualities, not simply the ones most transparent to standardized I.Q. tests, including at least eight different components: logical, linguistic, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, naturalist, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences. [cite book
last = Gardner
first = Howard
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Multiple Intelligences
publisher =
date =
location =
pages =
url =
ISBN = 0-465-04768-8
doi =
id =
]

Psychologist Daniel Goleman, who popularized the concept of Emotional intelligence, has claimed it is at least as important as more traditional sorts of intelligence. [cite book
last = Goleman
first = Daniel
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Emotional intelligence
publisher = Bantam Books
date = 1995
location =New York
pages =
url =
ISBN = 0-465-04768-8
doi =
id =
] Emotional Intelligence (EI), often measured as an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), describes an ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups. It is a relatively new area of psychological research.

Piaget developed stages as an alternative to IQ after studying the nature of the wrong answers on items. The Model of hierarchical complexity was formed as an alternative to IQ. Performance on the items varying in hierarchical complexity from 0 to 14, is absolute, and does not require norms. Because the orders are content and context free, they can be used to measure performance in any domain, including the ones mention by Gardner and Goleman.

Religiosity is a sociological term referring to degrees of religious behaviour, belief or spirituality. The measurement of religiosity is hampered by the difficulties involved in defining what is meant by the term. Numerous studies have explored the different components of religiosity, with most finding some distinction between religious beliefs/ doctrine, religious practice, and spirituality. Studies can measure religious practice by counting attendance at religious services, religious beliefs/ doctrine by asking a few doctrinal questions, while spirituality can be measured by asking respondents about their sense of oneness with the divine or through detailed standardized measurements. When religiosity is measured, it is important to specify which aspects of religiosity are referred to.

tudies comparing religious belief and I.Q.

In 2006, a self-published non-peer review study was undertaken [cite web
authorlink = http://paulsen.home.netcom.com/
title = IQ vs. Religiosity
date = 2006-05-17?
url = http://hypnosis.home.netcom.com/iq_vs_religiosity.htm
format = HTML
accessdate = 2007-11-01
] to investigate, on a country-by-country level, the possibility of a link between the importance of religion to citizens and their average IQ. The study found that the strength of religious belief in countries was inversely related to their average IQ. The countries with higher IQs on average had significantly lower levels of religious belief than those with lower average IQs. The study has subsequently drawn criticism Fact|date=May 2008 for neglecting the influence of several critical confounding factors, such as the work of religious institutions in deliberately focusing missionary work in third world countries where educational opportunities are concurrently poor.

In 2007, Danish newspapers reported that a single study conducted by controversial intelligence researcher Helmuth Nyborg estimated that "non-believers'" (i.e atheist, agnostics, and non religions) IQs were on average nearly 6 points higher than believers'. [http://danish.newsvine.com/_news/2007/02/05/554043-professor-atheists-are-more-intelligent-than-believers Professor: Atheists are more intelligent than believers.] The study is based on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, which includes intelligence tests on a representative selection of American youth, where they have also replied to questions about religious belief. "I'm not saying that believing in God makes you dumber. My hypothesis is that people with a low intelligence are more easily drawn toward religions, which give answers that are certain, while people with a high intelligence are more skeptical," says the professor. [http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/2007/01/28/490228.html translated at http://trance.nu/v4/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1834301 ]

In June 2008, the British online newspapers DailyMail.co.uk [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1029149/Why-people-believe-God-likely-lower-IQ.html "Why people who believe in God 'are more likely to have a lower IQ'"] and Telegraph.co.ukhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2111174/Intelligent-people-%27less-likely-to-believe-in-God%27.html "Intelligent people 'less likely to believe in God'"] had articles on a new study performed by Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, where Lynn found intelligent people less likely to believe in God. The study, published in the scientific journal "Intelligence" on June 24th 2008, compared religious belief and average national IQs in 137 countries.cite web | last = Lynn| first = Richard| authorlink = | coauthors = John Harvey and Helmuth Nyborg| title = Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations| work = | publisher = Elsevier Inc| date = | url = http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6W4M-4SD1KNR-1&_user=10&_coverDate=04%2F29%2F2008&_alid=759868596&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_cdi=6546&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=1&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=bdb3ca48b21fdb2959f6f8ce4b6001de| format = | doi = 10.1016/j.intell.2008.03.004| accessdate = 2008-06-27] The conclusion made by the retired professor, though branded "simplistic" by critics, is that religious belief had declined across the 137 nations in the 20th century at the same time as people became more intelligent. "Why should fewer academics believe in God than the general population? I believe it is simply a matter of the IQ. Academics have higher IQs than the general population. Several Gallup poll studies of the general population have shown that those with higher IQs tend not to believe in God," Lynn said to Telegraph.co.uk .

tudies comparing religious belief and educational attainment

In 1975, Norman Poythress studied a sample of 234 US college undergraduates, grouping them into relatively homogeneous religious types based on the similarity of their religious beliefs, and compared their personality characteristics. He found that "Literally-oriented religious Believers did not differ significantly from Mythologically-oriented Believers on measures of intelligence, authoritarianism, or racial prejudice. Religious Believers as a group were found to be significantly less intelligent and more authoritarian than religious Skeptics." He used SAT's as a measure of intelligence for this study. [ Citation
last = Poythress
first = Norman
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Literal, Antiliteral, and Mythological Religious Orientations
place=
publisher = Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
year = 1975
location =
volume = 14
edition = No. 3
url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-8294%28197509%2914%3A3%3C271%3ALAAMRO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-0&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage
doi = 10.2307/1384909
id =
isbn =
]

In the US, according to raw data from the 2004 General Social Survey, those with graduate degrees were the least likely to believe in the afterlife or the Bible as the word of God, suggesting a link between religious belief and lower educational attainment. cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = GSS 1972-2004 Cumulative data- Religion Variables by Background Variables
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://sda.berkeley.edu:8080/quicktables/quicksetoptions.do?reportKey=gss04%3A1
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-17
]

A weak negative correlation between education and Christian fundamentalism was found by Burton et al. (1989), a small study comparing the religious beliefs and educational achievements of white, Protestant residents of Delaware County, Indiana. Contrary to the researchers' expectations, fundamentalist converts were not less educated people. [Ronald Burton; Stephen Johnson; Joseph Tamney, "Education and Fundamentalism", Review of Religious Research (1989) [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0034-673X%28198906%2930%3A4%3C344%3AEAF%3E2.0.CO%3B2-S&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage] ]

tudies comparing religious behaviour and educational attainment

In Australia, 23% of Christian church attenders have earned a university or postgraduate degree, whereas the figure for the general population is 13%. [http://www.ncls.org.au/default.aspx?sitemapid=141 Education and occupation profile of attenders] , from the National Church Life Survey Research. Accessed 2007-11-02] Christianity is the predominant religion in Australia, although adherence is falling [ABS 4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2004] . Commentators on the Survey attribute the educational levels to sociological factors, such as age, class and income, making no claims about intelligence.cite book
last = Kaldor
first = Peter
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Who Goes Where? Who Doesn't Care? : Going to Church in Australia
publisher = Lancer / ANZEA,
date = 1987
location = Sydney: Homebush West
pages =
url =
doi =
id =
]

In the US, religious behavior also increases with education level, according to raw data from the 2004 General Social Survey, which indicates that 30.4% of those with a graduate degree attend religious services weekly or more, a statistically significant proportion, higher than any lesser educated group. Further the group with the highest percentage of “never attending” was composed by those with only a high school education or less.

Studies of Mormons in the US also display a high positive correlation between education levels and religiosity. Survey research indicated that 41% of Mormons with only elementary school education attend church regularly. By contrast, 76% of Mormon college graduates attend church regularly and 78% of Mormons who went beyond their college degrees to do graduate study attend church regularly. [Stan L. Albrecht, "The Consequential Dimension of Mormon Religiosity" Latter-Day Saint Social Life, Social Research on the LDS Church and its Members, (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1998), 286.] Again, the researchers do not equate this educational level with intelligence. This study did not control for age or track apostasy over time.

ee also

* Psychology of religion
* Demographics of religion
* Demographics of atheism
* Demographics of irreligion
* Relationship between religion and science

References

Further reading

* Shermer, M. (2000) "How we believe". New York, NY: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 0805074791


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