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Religious People Are Less Intelligent Than Atheists, Concludes New Study

13/08/2013 09:33 BST | Updated 20/09/2013 16:34 BST

A review of 63 scientific studies dating back to 1928 has concluded that religious people are less intelligent than non-believers. Only 10 of the 63 studies showed a positive correlation between intelligence and religiosity.

SEE ALSO: Atheists In Parliament And Congress Highlights Disparate Political Cultures

The paper, entitled The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations, was led by Professor Miron Zuckerman of the University of Rochester, and was published in the academic journal Personality and Social Psychology Review on 6 August.

religion

The study found religious beliefs to be irrational and therefore unappealing to intelligent people who 'know better'

Zuckerman’s team studied decades worth of analysis, noting many atheism and intellect studies “share one central theme – the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable, and therefore unappealing to intelligent people who ‘know better’.”

The study defined intelligence as the “ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience.”

richard dawkins

The study comes after renowned atheist Richard Dawkins' apparently anti-Muslim tweets sparked fury

Religiosity is defined as involvement in some (or all) facets of religion, which includes belief in the supernatural, offering gifts to this supernatural, and performing rituals affirming their beliefs.

Further signs were measured using surveys, church attendance, and membership in religious organisations, Ars Technica writes.

Among the young, the study found more intelligent children were more likely to turn away from religion – as were those among the very elderly, with the vast volume of data giving some insight into why that seems to be the case.

The report adds:

“Intelligent people typically spend more time in school—a form of self-regulation that may yield long-term benefits… More intelligent people get higher level jobs [which] may lead to higher self-esteem, and encourage personal control beliefs… more intelligent people are more likely to get and stay married… though for intelligent people, that too comes later in life. We therefore suggest that as intelligent people move from young adulthood to adulthood and then to middle age, the benefits of intelligence may continue to accrue.”

The study comes after renowned atheist Richard Dawkins came in for criticism after tweeting: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages though.”

He's said before, "I think Islam is one of the great evils of the world," as he subscribes to the "New Humanism" brand of atheism which places little to no value in religion.

Dawkins was accused of being “wilfully provocative” and even some of his admirers took him to task, with Tom Chivers publishing a blog on The Telegraph entitled: "Please be quiet, Richard Dawkins, I'm begging as a fan."