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-   -   Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Atheism (http://archives1.twoplustwo.com/showthread.php?t=539536)

ZeeJustin 11-06-2007 05:45 AM

Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Atheism
 
The Claim:


I think the strongest single argument for atheism (yes I know the burden of proof is on the theists, that's not relevant) is the fact that there is a high correlation between atheism and intelligence.

Can anyone give a single example of a case in the course of all of human history where there was a high correlation between intelligence and a belief when the belief was wrong? Specifically, I mean a belief not held by everyone where there were 2 or more possible sets of belief, where the correct one was held by a group of lesser average intelligence.

If there is such a case, I think it is likely a fluke where the lesser intelligent people believed the right thing for the wrong reason.


The Evidence:


Wiki entry on Religiosity and Intelligence :

[ QUOTE ]
The study concludes that, of the most intelligent respondents, a disproportionately high percentage did not believe in God or did not believe that it was possible to know whether or not God existed. Similarly, a disproportionately high percentage of the most intelligent surveyed considered that the bible was not the “inspired word of God.”

[/ QUOTE ]

I also recall a study where 20% of community college professors (obviously above avg intelligence and above average %) were atheist, while 40% of Ivy League professors were atheist.

A quick Google search led me to An article that drew a similar data set containing this paragraph:

[ QUOTE ]
The study found that 23.4 percent of college and university professors describe themselves as either atheists or agnostics, with the remainder reporting some level of belief in God or another higher power. The authors also made a distinction between the general professoriate and those professors who teach at elite doctoral institutions, as defined by the US News and World Report's list of the 50 best doctoral-awarding universities. In the latter category, 36.6 percent of respondents described themselves as atheists or agnostics.

[/ QUOTE ]

The Poll:

RJT 11-06-2007 06:21 AM

Re: Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Atheism
 
ZJ,

I don’t know if you know this or not, but the biggest reason SMP talks so much about Religion stems from a post started by David S. a few years ago about a similar premise.

I did some research at the time and there has never been any good survey that shows definitively the correlation to what he suggested. (And to what you similarly are suggesting.) He suggested that because most intelligent people are not theists, then it is highly probably that Religions are probably bogus. Look to the smart people and they are more likely to be right on any random idea. We agreed he is probably right in his general point, but we never could prove the accuracy to the specific example of religion.

There are a variety of reasons that many highly intelligent people aren’t believers. The best one I found was quoted by, I think, Isaac Asimov. I can’t find the quote, but it went something like, “I decided to stop spending time on the idea.”

Just thought I’d give you some SMP history.

RJT

P.S. Actually a few of your post have already been discussed. Many similar to David S.’s OPs. You should have him take a paternity test.

Subfallen 11-06-2007 06:32 AM

Re: Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Ath
 
The mathematician Ramanujan said that he thought all religions were equally "true." Arriving at that conclusion is really the only useful result of thinking about religion. (Obviously you're lucky if you manage not to waste any time on it at all.)

Once you conclude that all religions have the same "truth" T, it doesn't really matter if you think T = 0 or T = infinity, it'll work out about the same.

David Sklansky 11-06-2007 06:35 AM

Re: Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Atheism
 
I am not an atheist. I believe that it is highly unlikely that there exists an omnipotent god who is concerned specifically with humans. Specific religions are therefore more unlikely still.

A non omnipotent intelligent designer of some sort, who had something to do with the big bang, the laws of physics, and perhaps even the existence of consciousness, is reasonably likely in my mind. It will be less likely if conscious computers are ever made. Less likely still if the double slit experiment is ever explained better.

Drag 11-06-2007 06:40 AM

Re: Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Ath
 
[ QUOTE ]

I did some research at the time and there has never been any good survey that shows definitively the correlation to what he suggested.

[/ QUOTE ]

Most of the top scientists in natural sciences are atheists. If we compile the list of Nobel Prize winners in Physics from 1907 to 2007, I'd be very surprised if we find more than 10% theists. (I haven't checked it.) I suspect that it's true for chemistry, biology, mathematics. Probably even economics.

Doesn't it qualify as a good survey?

From personal experience, most of the scientists that I know are atheists/agnostics. Even those who believe in some sort of god, think that bible and christianity is a human invention and not the true word of god, i.e. they are theists in a 'weak sense'.

Alex-db 11-06-2007 06:42 AM

Re: Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Atheism
 
[ QUOTE ]
I am not an atheist. I believe that it is highly unlikely that there exists an omnipotent god who is concerned specifically with humans. Specific religions are therefore more unlikely still.

A non omnipotent intelligent designer of some sort, who had something to do with the big bang, the laws of physics, and perhaps even the existence of consciousness, is reasonably likely in my mind. It will be less likely if conscious computers are ever made. Less likely still if the double slit experiment is ever explained better.

[/ QUOTE ]

This sounds like atheism to me.

Subfallen 11-06-2007 06:45 AM

Re: Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Ath
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I am not an atheist. I believe that it is highly unlikely that there exists an omnipotent god who is concerned specifically with humans. Specific religions are therefore more unlikely still.

A non omnipotent intelligent designer of some sort, who had something to do with the big bang, the laws of physics, and perhaps even the existence of consciousness, is reasonably likely in my mind. It will be less likely if conscious computers are ever made. Less likely still if the double slit experiment is ever explained better.

[/ QUOTE ]

This sounds like atheism to me.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah, me too. It's clearly atheism about all culturally relevant gods...so I would just go ahead and call it "atheism."

RJT 11-06-2007 06:57 AM

Re: Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Atheism
 
[ QUOTE ]
I am not an atheist. I believe that it is highly unlikely that there exists an omnipotent god who is concerned specifically with humans. Specific religions are therefore more unlikely still.

A non omnipotent intelligent designer of some sort, who had something to do with the big bang, the laws of physics, and perhaps even the existence of consciousness, is reasonably likely in my mind. It will be less likely if conscious computers are ever made. Less likely still if the double slit experiment is ever explained better.

[/ QUOTE ]

I did not mean to imply you were or were not atheist. I have a bit of an understanding of your “philosophy” but was not trying to speak for you.

Oh, never mind, I got it, you were just pointing out there would be no need for a paternity test.

RJT 11-06-2007 06:59 AM

Re: Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Ath
 
[ QUOTE ]
Most of the top scientists in natural sciences are atheists. If we compile the list of Nobel Prize winners in Physics from 1907 to 2007, I'd be very surprised if we find more than 10% theists. (I haven't checked it.) I suspect that it's true for chemistry, biology, mathematics. Probably even economics.

Doesn't it qualify as a good survey?

[/ QUOTE ]

Let’s first determine if that is a survey, then we can qualify it as good or not.

MidGe 11-06-2007 07:00 AM

Re: Atheism Intelligence Correlations - The Strongest Argument for Ath
 
[ QUOTE ]
I am not an atheist. I believe that it is highly unlikely that there exists an omnipotent god who is concerned specifically with humans. Specific religions are therefore more unlikely still.

A non omnipotent intelligent designer of some sort, who had something to do with the big bang, the laws of physics, and perhaps even the existence of consciousness, is reasonably likely in my mind. It will be less likely if conscious computers are ever made. Less likely still if the double slit experiment is ever explained better.

[/ QUOTE ]

David, like you:
I am not an atheist. I believe that it is impossible that there exists an omni benevolent god. Specific religions positing such being are therefore more impossible still.

A non benevolent intelligent designer of some sort, who had something to do with the big bang, the laws of physics, and perhaps even the existence of consciousness, is possible in my mind. It will not even be less likely if conscious computers are ever made. No more or less likely either if the double slit experiment is ever explained better.


Sorry for the part plagiarism! [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]


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