Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart February 28, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Political, religious and sexual behaviors may be reflections of intelligence, a new study finds.

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.


February 28, 2010 at 12:50 pm
Theo says:

The comments on this article are truly venomous.

February 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm
Dan says:

Interesting article!

Uhm.. but, “have higher a IQ” that right?

February 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm
roz says:

looks like they have a higher A IQ but fatter fingers… 😀

February 28, 2010 at 1:42 pm
rastansaga says:

Correlation does not imply causation

February 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm

P Z Myers, no friend to religion, has some pretty damning words to say about that study:

February 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Does this mean that if you’re liberal and atheist you’re more likely to have a higher IQ, or that if you have a higher IQ you’re more likely to be liberal and atheist? Or both?

February 28, 2010 at 2:34 pm
Carla says:

I look forward to the misspelt raging reactions from the non-liberal membership of the blogosphere!

February 28, 2010 at 2:50 pm

The LSE study is apparently based on correlation, which I can’t be bothered to re-examine. It’s not causation, but is it implication?

February 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm
Jim says:

Presumably the headline writer here is a believer then? 😛

Or they just have “lower a IQ”? 😀

February 28, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Kanazawa is not a reputable scientist.

February 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm
Moon says:

Ugh at that weasel for implying the reason smart people have liberal and atheistic values is because they’re trying to be different / show off… like they secretly don’t believe in them. Managing to completely sidestep the simple idea that generally the values of more intelligent people are more likely to be correctly held… and all because he doesn’t share them. And ughh to the article for crediting such stupid ‘explanations’.

February 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm
Don says:

I think that is reading far to much into a barely significant difference. To suggest it has any sort of evolutionary significance is … implausible.

February 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm
Ken says:

I heartily agree! Liberal Athiests will inherit the Earth..some guy from the middle east said that.

February 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm

I am so smrt on several levels.

February 28, 2010 at 7:23 pm
Ms G says:

But how many of a self do they contain if that is true? Yeah, that self .. And how long will this so called intelligence last if it is not linked up to the self (as long as the test?)

I don’t buy that .. I know lots of religious people who are not religious the way those scientists still think .. and the same goes for atheists and liberals … How do you measure intelligence and what is intellgence? Who decides what is intelligent. I may hope not those dumb tests they call IQ tests? Those are pretty dumb and shallow .. only pretty shallow and dumb minds will kind of try to score on those nowadays .. others will seek intelligence elsewhere, but then it gets named differently.

Nah, its crab .. this hypothesis .. I rest my case, no more need to be said.

February 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm
Moon says:

And I agree with Don they are way off the mark knee-jerking to find evolutionary explanations… is there an evolutionary reason why intelligent people are good at maths? I mean WHAT?! What a confused pile of crap. The study does show a significant correlation (so there’s no point in saying the difference is too small, that’s what proper statistics in science is for) and basically what we can take from this is that very generally, people who are better at thinking tend towards liberal and athestic values… in my mind and again very generally, almost by default views that more intelligent people hold are more likely to be correct just as they would tend to be more correct at anything that requires thought…. e.g. theoretical physics lol

February 28, 2010 at 11:42 pm

It wouldn’t surprise me if intelligent people DID describe themselves as liberal and atheist – that’s all the rage just now.

Anyway, I would describe myself as an atheist (God theory empirically and logically untenable).and liberal (let’s hear the other guy’s point of view and judge it on its merits).

But the term ‘liberal’ means different things to other people. In the US it means left-wing – in Australia it means right-wing – in the UK it means the centre – and to campaigning Marxists it means vacillating opportunist.

So I wonder how intelligent it really is to let yourself be labelled ‘liberal’.

March 1, 2010 at 12:05 am

It makes sense, because traits such as altruism and intelligence are now more attractive in a partner than physical strength or having a killer instinct to survive through natural selection. To me atheism is truth and common sense. Anyone who looks out the window with an open mind, can see the natural world around us as it is by evidence gathered – anyone with some intelligence can agree with this. Altruism brings on a more liberal state of mind. It all seems to correlate with psychological evolution, and of course this is a good thing. After all, there’s nothing more stupid than perpetrating war upon one another and following belief systems that contain falsehoods and constraining laws.

March 1, 2010 at 1:27 am
BadMonkey says:

This doesn’t make sense as a study, or at least it does if you ignore everything else that makes a person. Their values, belief, feelings and actions. These all contribute to personal value within a society and require congruency. It doesn’t matter what people believe, only the final outcome, their actions.

If this study stands up then the figures will balance out. In my experience the continued growth of an atheist belief system coupled with ‘populist’ leaders actions to promote the faith has done little for the continued enlightenment of man, insulting people’s intelligence rather than their spirituality.

A new crusade if you will, how did the last one go? Propaganda from that time described the Muslims as unintelligent barbarians. This time, it seems, we have graphs.

March 1, 2010 at 4:27 am
BadMonkey says:

The major finding of the study is that the values of a society are not limited by faith and intelligence, but that isn’t mentioned on here, or in the link. New headline, “New study shows underneath is all people are the same, lets all have a hug and stop trying to find superficial differences.”

In fact the largest irony of the study and subsequent circulation is that the study shows that, rather than high IQ’s leading to deeper understanding of faith and therefore a rejection of religion, identifying yourself as liberal or atheist could be more about identifying a group outside the social norm just to show off, intellectually.

March 1, 2010 at 6:49 am

I’m pretty sure this is just some reporter taking a serious study and putting a controversial spin on it…

March 1, 2010 at 10:52 am
Jess xxx says:

March 2, 2010 at 11:45 am

Yes of course there are lots of things to be good at, IQ tests being one of them.

This study, (apparently – I haven’t read it) specifically addresses IQ.

It claims (according to our reviewer) that, currently, the better people are at doing IQ tests, the the more likely they are to describe themselves as ‘liberal’ and ‘atheist’.

I consider that feasible.

I can conceive, however, of another epoch in which the same good-at-IQ-tests group would say they were ‘authoritarian’ and ‘religious’.

March 3, 2010 at 7:06 am

Nice Study and comparison between IQ of men and their liberals and atheists thoughts.

March 4, 2010 at 10:46 am
Moon says:

@BadMonkey .I was sure the study absoluetly did not show what you stated in your last sentence and that was merely a suggestion made by one of the researchers who due to his differing beliefs felt he needed to explain away the result, very implausibly I might add. People reject religion and are liberals to show off?? Really?? Come on, you may as well say people believe in religion and are conservatives to appear stupid!!

March 4, 2010 at 8:08 pm

What it probably *doesn’t* show is that being good at IQ tests *causes* you to be liberal and atheist.

March 12, 2010 at 4:54 pm
vanhellslinger says:

I’m sure there are factor issues in the study, and likely another bogus Hendrik Schon type behind the claim. This type of science is easily slanted by simply leaving out variables, the multiple choices don’t include the right answer. A good example is the atheist vs creationist debate which always doesn’t recognize God after Evolution. One can be an atheist and still believe in the ressurection of Christ, life after death and a God Father Klaatu, Wizard of Ozearth. However it’s not an option in the debate.

September 2, 2010 at 4:21 pm
Vsevolod says:

I have to agree with Michael Meadon above – take nothing written by Satoshi Kanazawa as serious scholarly research. He’s a media-attention seeking charlatan, whose sole purpose is to promote a highly reactionary (sexist, racist, anti-muslim) political viewpoint. Read some of his work – in detail, looking at the methods sections as well – and you’ll see how far he is from reputable research.


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