Intelligent people 'less likely to believe in God'

I found this awhile back

Professor Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, said many more members of the “intellectual elite” considered themselves atheists than the national average.

A decline in religious observance over the last century was directly linked to a rise in average intelligence, he claimed.

But the conclusions - in a paper for the academic journal Intelligence - have been branded “simplistic” by critics.

Professor Lynn, who has provoked controversy in the past with research linking intelligence to race and sex, said university academics were less likely to believe in God than almost anyone else.

A survey of Royal Society fellows found that only 3.3 per cent believed in God - at a time when 68.5 per cent of the general UK population described themselves as believers.

A separate poll in the 90s found only seven per cent of members of the American National Academy of Sciences believed in God.

Professor Lynn said most primary school children believed in God, but as they entered adolescence - and their intelligence increased - many started to have doubts.

He told Times Higher Education magazine: “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.”

He said religious belief had declined across 137 developed nations in the 20th century at the same time as people became more intelligent.

I used to admire Lynn’s “scholarship,” but apparently he doesn’t read most of the papers he cites. For example:

Upon reading the original reference, they found that the “data point” that Lynn and Vanhanen used for the lowest IQ estimate, Equatorial Guinea, was actually the mean IQ of a group of Spanish children in a home for the developmentally disabled in Spain. Corrections were applied to adjust for differences in IQ cohorts (the “Flynn” effect) on the assumption that the same correction could be applied internationally, without regard to the cultural or economic development level of the country involved.

However, I still admire some of his ideas and I think his views on eugenics are correct, although I do not share his views on racial differences anymore. I realized that how shoddy his methodology is while he was “calculating” the National IQs by assuming a universal and homogenous Flynn effect and relying on non-representative samples. However, I must also admire him for his fearlessness and lack of trepidation while adressing controversial topics. Some of his unpalatable ideas are probably correct, but I dislike the certitude conveyed in his demeanor.

Unfortuntely, I still think many secularists would still use this to project their own sense superior.

Exactly. I was listening to Fr. Corapi last night. I think he has five degrees, so he is no dummy. He made the point that intellectuals have a greater risk of succumbing to pride. He compared it to the path of Lucifer - the brightest and greatest angel.

If we define intelligence as belief in God then we could say that only those who believe in God are intelligent. :slight_smile:

My point is that this person is using their definition for “intelligent”.

Replace “most of the papers” with “some of the papers.”

It might be pride, certainly for many, but it might also be socialization too. It’s just not cool among the intellectuals to be religious, and they want to be cool as bad as the rest of society.:rolleyes:

ps my wife has an IQ of 150 and is a firm believer, so I think that further emphasizes my point.

That is true…a very valid point. It is sort of a pack mentality. If other intellectuals look down on the religious, I could see where an intellectual would deny God just to fit in…they don’t want to look “stupid.”

[quote=RedSoxFan]ps my wife has an IQ of 150 and is a firm believer, so** I think that further emphasizes my point**.

Why? Is she not cool? :smiley:

I agree, in general, with all of you on this subject. However, I do think there is some confusion between the terms “intelligence” and “education.” The “intellectual elite” as he describes, are generally the products, not the producers, of the universities they attend. The environment in the nations larger universities is very “anti-christian.” Those that want to become “successful” in the academic community keep their christian faith to themselves.

When I am questioned about why I believe by those who think I’ve committed intellectual suicide; I generally answer “I am too intelligent, too well educated and too observant NOT to believe.” It’s a gift from God to have faith. Intelligence is a gift from God as well. Education is not a bad thing, but it is a human pursuit.

Thanks for letting me add my two cents.


Another excellent point!! Apparently, all of the real intelligent people are on CAF. :slight_smile:

I have hope, it appears that Ribo is really searching.

I hope and pray that this thread makes her realize that the extreme liberal way of thinking is in fact anti God.

that is (most colleges)

This reminds me of someone whom I once regarded as a very good friend.
We both met at TAFE (Govt. owned and operated technical colleges in Australia) while studying for our diplomas (we were both aiming towards uni). He was more or less agnostic at the start, but when he was accepted at university (before me by a couple of years), he started to change and is now a 150% atheist; I mean he really hates God. If atheism were an Olympic sport, a gold medal wouldn’t be good enough for him, it would have to be made from palladium.
His attitude was: Look, there is no such thing as god, it’s all a farce. I’m trying to save you from yourself from believing in a false belief. In engineering, it’s all about knowledge, so why would there be any god? I know everything no since I’ve nearly completed my studies.

So I asked him this: Can you prove that there is no God?

His response: No…

When he told me of his finding the light, I thought ‘You poor pathetic fool; you actually think that you as a small, fragile humanbeing are more powerful and defiant than the forces of nature, which were all created by God? Sheesh (not ‘Sheesh’ exactly, but…), you must be so simplistic; I bet you have a black and white thinking which means you have no imagination and that is a sign of having a personality flaw.’

Quite frankly, these elitists who say that there is no God are just a bunch of…

It shows that they can only believe in visible things. That’s one of the reasons they use. You can’t see air, but they believe in it’s existence, yet???

I remember a very good lecturer of mine from many years ago would say, in regards to using engineering calcs to find a solution to an engineering problem: Why are things made this way? Because God made it that way.

He phrased it better than that, but he hit the nail on the head in explaining why things are what they are. You cannot dispute nature for what she is; if you do, then you’re gonna be a pathetic engineer.

Everything is so finely balanced, e.g. if the Earth is too close to the sun, you’d end up with Kentucky Fried Chicken (we’d be cooked, I mean) and slightly too far from the sun, we’d be frozen and yet, all the atheists do not realise the gravity of the situation (9.81 m/s :wink: ).

Maybe why they don’t ask these questions is because they probably accept what’s in front of them without any conscious cogitation, so to speak.


Anyway, I’m now at uni, studying for my mechanical engineering and I have the dead oppostide reaction from what my friend had. I was so astounded by the complexities of all the natural processes that a mechanical engineer needs to know to make their design work; if it doesn’t work, then, maybe you don’t understand’s God’s laws of how things should work naturally; that’s my opinion, at least.

I apologise if I’ve gone on a bit, or for even for making this thread slightly OT, but I just had to get this off my chest.


There is:

Knowledge - Knowing the facts

Understanding - Seeing and comprehending how the facts relate to one another.

Wisdom - goes beyond that kind of knowing that you know the purpose of it and how to acheive it.

I think most academics don’t get beyond “knowledge”.

And as a previous poster stated there is a greater suceptibility to succumbing to pride. I know many people who have gone past plain knowledge to understanding and Wisdom and they are not only incredibly intelligent but humble as well. They don’t feel the need to display their intelligence and hold it over others or to belittle others for their beliefs.

Pride blinds them (the atheists), they are missing so much. All this article (and others like it) just inflame their pride more. And pride needs constant feeding to fill the empty space inside.

I do conquer.

Its like a rich man having more difficulties entering the Kingdom than a poor man due to his increased attachment to considerable wealth. The more you have, the harder it is to give it up. That principle holds in my opinion with regards to intelligence.

In the United States, many who believe in God are regarded as ignorant people who live in small towns. Apparently, all one has to do to gain a higher IQ is move to a big city, because that’s where all the smart, and trendy (?), people live.

God bless,

Or you could move to Hong Kong (IQ 108) or Singapore (IQ 108) if you trust Lynn’s other data on this.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. I first heard that when I was a tiny child.
BTW, my IQ is 171…:shrug:

I work in a university so I hang around with a lot of Ph.d’s, some of whom are quite intelligent. However, some of the most intelligent ones are just plain nuts. So when we correlate intelligence with belief in God, we need to account for the lunatic factor.

1 Cor 1:18-21
"The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.“
Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.”

1 Cor 3:19-20
"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written: "He catches the wise in their own ruses,"
and again: “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”

Nothing new under the sun. :shrug:

the sad aspect of this is the young people who will read statements like this and believe that if they profess to be atheists it automatically will point to their intelligence. and will also keep them from searching for God for fear they will be seen as not intelligent.

i know a young man who is highly intelligent for his age and he does say he is an atheist. i have never asked him why. he is still in his 20’s. he is a whiz with science and mathematics. hopefully, someday, he will not want to be an atheist.

by the way, he told me he was an atheist several years ago. long before this article came out.

I would comment on this topic. But as i had recently discussed this very issue on another forum, i feel all talked out about it. But i will pass on something that made me lol. the O.P of this topic (on the other forum) posted the link of this article. the first 8 or 9 post contained lines to the effect of “it won’t work"or " i can get my link to work, can someone help me?”. this was followed by the o.p apologising for not knowing how to make a working link. After a person fixed the link for them. they all then continued to post remarks on how they were all intelligent and all Christians were dummies( im cleaning up my language). I did have fun pointing out how all the “intelligent” atheist couldn’t get a simple link to work.i had many lulz at it. I think some of the previous posters got it right here. Most people or “smart” people don’t believe out simple things like pride, their reputation or ironically these smart people don’t know enough to fully understand what Christianity teaches. There have far too many intelligent people through out history who have been believers for me to take this article seriously.

Interesting point. My 25 yr old nephew, just received his Ph.D, and has been an atheist for the past few years. He grew up in a Catholic home, and went to Catholic school. He often tells me that religion is for people who don’t want to think things through. I agree with the poster who said that pride is at the core of that methodology. The irony of these people who come out with these ‘studies,’ is they apparently have never interviewed our recent popes. Pope Benedict and Pope JP2 just to name a few–are/were of extraordinary intelligence. :slight_smile:

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