What's the average IQ of an atheist?

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby sje46 » Tue Dec 16, 2008 2:44 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:It's full of self-reporting atheists. Meaning people are lying to fit in, saying they're atheist because they misunderstand what atheist means, or just not putting forth their religious convictions in the polls.

At best, this forum proves that atheists like polls.

So do you think that if it was not self-reporting that there would be the same proportion one would expect from the general population (keeping proportion of different cultures, genders, etc in mind)?

I honestly believe that there are just more atheists here. I could be wrong; there is no way for me to know
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:33 pm UTC

As I've not looked in to it, I cannot speak for worldwide atheist/theist statistics.

I do know that various polls taken of Americans suggest that the typical American has religious beliefs. Now, due to the general misconception as to what an atheist actually believes (which is simply that there are no deities and says nothing of any other religious belief, such as a belief in a non-guided cosmic justice wheel or a collective unconsciousness of which souls are born and return upon death and other such beliefs) that usually results in atheist = areligious. Though they end up with religious beliefs that have no deities, they end up being marked as -Religious, Nondenominational-, -Unclassified Religious- or something similar which is.. frankly, wrong. And the polls are sometimes skewed that way - that the options are essentially *Certain Organized Religion*, Spiritual, or Atheist. In other words - the polls are flawed from the start.

Of course, there's the... I forget the term and I'm sure someone will provide it.. but the tendency of people taking polls to say things that they believe the poll taker wants to hear. Which is really just a subset of the tendency of people on average to want to be liked by other people, so they modify their behavior in ways that they believe will increase the chances of said particular person liking them more.

And then there's people who are wrong about themselves but do not realize they're wrong - people who call themselves atheist when they actually mean Non-Christian. Or people who do not actively reject the existence of deities but still lack belief in them who think they are agnostic when.. they're actually atheist.

I know there's religious people on the boards who prefer not to talk about it due some of the threads on religious topics essentially turning in to "Look at how stupid these people are!" conversations. Which circles you traverse in the World Wide Webberdashery would influence your tendency to mention your religious affiliations to new acquaintances, especially on a forum with a section marked "Religious Wars" that is devoted to such debates as Linux vs. FreeBSD. Even so far as to not mark your beliefs in an 'anonymous' poll.

Just as a personal anecdotal evidence, I've met people who claim to be of a religious faith that I won't mention by name but being American and from the Southern part of the US you can probably make an educated guess as to which sect of the overall group I'm referring... but they claim to be of faith X, claim to be really strong believers of faith X, yet in conversations with them about faith X, they reveal that they really don't know all that much about it and seem to have never actually read the religious texts of their faith even casually, much less come to their own conclusion as to why they should be a member of faith X and not give faith Y a try or even think about getting out of the faith alphabet altogether. They're pretty much of faith X because it's all they've known. And these people's intelligence seemed to cover the entire expected range. Meanwhile, most atheists I meet make me want to hit them in the head with a baseball bat until they stop being so damned stupid.

Then again, on the whole, I don't really get in to religion with people. Not on their beliefs, at least. I do enjoy yelling at people when they're mocking someone else's. Point being - it's highly likely my personal experiences are skewed based on a person's vocalness of their religious beliefs.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby michael24easilybored » Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:37 pm UTC

I can't stand people who feel the need to tell everyone their IQ. And I suspect they're often lying because they always seem to have an IQ in the top 1 or 2%. I somehow doubt they're all telling the truth.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby Cheese » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:35 pm UTC

michael24easilybored wrote:I can't stand people who feel the need to tell everyone their IQ. And I suspect they're often lying because they always seem to have an IQ in the top 1 or 2%. I somehow doubt they're all telling the truth.
It depends on how their IQ has been tested, and also on your selective reporting of who tells you their IQs - as has already been said, it is highly unlikely that someone with a low IQ is going to want to brag about it, so you're only *going* to hear about the highest-scoring people. Also, it's perfectly possible to cheat on a large number of IQ tests, even if not intentionally - I've seen several online tests that ask the participant to say how long they took on the test once they've finished it, and not everybody's going to get that completely accurate... not to mention that the tests available vary wildly in standard, and that it's possible to score an average score on one while getting something exceptional in another. I could go on, but I don't really feel like picking at all the little holes visible in IQ tests right now.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby michael24easilybored » Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:35 pm UTC

yeah fair enough, I do think anyone who has a high IQ and feels the need to tell people their exact score is a bit of a cock though. In fact to be honest, some of the most intelligent people I know are the people I think would be the last ones to ever actually take an IQ test, let alone tell anyone the score.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby Indon » Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:22 pm UTC

I'd probably say very slightly above average.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that all populations, religious and otherwise initially have perfectly average distributions of IQ.

A small portion of both atheist and religious populations are going to develop significant critical thinking abilities, which will allow them to score significantly higher on IQ tests. Of these abilities, the religious individual is more likely to convert away from their religion than the atheist is to adopt a religion.

This is not because intelligence corresponds in any way to nonreligiousness, but because many religious communities as a whole have significant subsets which react with hostility to the application of significant critical thinking abilities. By having a high chance to reject individuals at the higher-end of the IQ range, they skew themselves negatively - and other groups, by picking up these individuals, are likely to skew positively.

Of course, religions that don't react with hostility to application of critical thinking would skew positively for the same reason atheism would.

To echo something that has been noted earlier in the thread, IQ is a meaningless metric.

Syntax wrote:Secondly, IQ is not "bullshit". One's intelligence as measured by a psychiatrist correlates very strongly with one's success in live, both monetarily and otherwise. Any presumed ambiguity of causation can obviously be ruled out as IQ is, for the most part, static.


Firstly, you're confusing IQ with intelligence. IQ is a measurement of how well a person performs at IQ tests - intelligence would be a measurement of a much wider-reaching set of abilities than what IQ represents (this is why IQ isn't static, btw, either at an individual or a mass level - because it doesn't measure intelligence, but is just our best guess, because to be frank we don't even know what intelligence is to be able to measure it).

Secondly, IQ correlates strongly with success probably largely (if not solely) because of cultural bias. An attribute is more likely to be on an IQ test when it is part of what that culture desires in successful people.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby Levi » Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:42 am UTC

What if there was some sort of an IQ gap? Say faith X were correct. Then assume that people with an IQ of less than 120 believe in that faith. Then say that the evidence supporting faith X could be seen as shaky for people with IQ's of more than 120. Finally, the evidence is easily pieced together and seen as correct by people with IQ's of 180 or more. This would probably make the average IQ of those who believe in faith X lower than that of those who did not believe in faith X as there would be very few people with such high IQ's.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby negatron » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:28 pm UTC

Indon wrote:Firstly, you're confusing IQ with intelligence.

It is called an Intelligence Quotient for a reason.

Indon wrote:IQ is a measurement of how well a person performs at IQ tests

Which thus measures how well a person performs academically.

Indon wrote:Secondly, IQ correlates strongly with success probably largely (if not solely) because of cultural bias.

There is little cultural bias in mathematics, and far less in logic itself.

It's important to note that there are two primary types of IQ tests. Crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence. Most IQ tests mix both and focus on crystallized. The more rightful approach would be to score the two individually. Fluid Intelligence judges a person's natural intelligence, and thus their capacity to learn and understand. The standard measures of Fluid Intelligence, at least the ones I'm aware of, have a ceiling and negative g-load (lower-IQ person more likely to answer question correctly) at above 130 IQ, after which it appears to get difficult to measure intelligence without introducing ambiguity into the problem and thus causing ineffectual g-loading. Tests like progressive matrices appear to currently be the best way to estimate human potential, up to a point. Actually, they're a more reliable measure of how stupid a person is (<100 IQ), and they seem to do this very well. It's a solid measure of retardation.

Crystallized IQ tests measure how the person's fluid intelligence has been used thus far in consuming understanding. Ineffectual measure of absolute potential, however a reliable measure of professional success, and this measure can change greatly throughout life, although rarely does. People's motivation to learn is unlikely to change greatly. The benefit of these tests is that they can far more reliably measure exceptionally high IQs (130+). However, again, very high IQ measures in these tests don't necessarily suggest proportionally higher innate intelligence, but rather highly motivated academic exposure.

The question "What's the average IQ of an atheist?" is effectively two different question depending on which measure is being referred to.

Are atheists naturally more intelligent, or are atheists developmentally predisposed to a more empirical view of the universe?
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby Aikanaro » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:59 pm UTC

Short answer: More intelligent people AND people who base things on empirical evidence only, are both more likely to be drawn to atheism. How do I figure this, you ask? Simple: It's much, much LESS LIKELY for anyone to blindly cling to atheism than to a given religion. Hence, lots of stupid folks tend to drag down the average intelligence, etc. for the religious crowd, meaning that atheism beats us out on the averages.

EDIT: Though really, this probably presumes that you include agnosticism with atheism.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby berk » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:22 pm UTC

I would not be surprised to see atheists score a few points higher on this test, but not because of intelligence. Simply because of demographics. People with higher IQs are more likely to go to college, and higher education is currently controlled by leftist atheists. Thus, more smart people are "converted" to atheism because it is what is expected of them. I'm sure this curve evens out later in life. Remember, we're still experiencing the fallout of the '60s.

Atheism is just as dogmatic as religion, and just as misunderstood (by its members). This all depends on the individual, but as a whole the two groups are probably roughly equal. For every person who thinks Jesus will cure their cancer, there is another who thinks he can disprove the existence of god by shouting "Smite me now!" in the street. There are also intellectuals on both sides, and frankly, I prefer the religious ones. They tend to be more open-minded (ironically).

However, this would be pretty much impossible to poll accurately because of confusion and polling techniques. For example, including people who say "I don't know, I guess" with atheists or religious people... Etc. It is an extremely deep question that everyone has to ask themselves at some point (or have answered for them by others, which is scary).


One question I suggest all atheists ask themselves however, is thus... All but the most dogmatic religious people question their beliefs - even Mother Teresa did. It is accepted as a natural part of being a spiritual person. But have you, as an atheist, ever questioned your disbelief? After all, in the end, to put it bluntly... We don't know shit.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:30 pm UTC

In the context of a lot of Americans, it's not questioning your disbelief, it's questioning your belief that leads to your subsequent atheism. I cannot speak for the rest of the world, especially former Godless Communists.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby berk » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:19 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:In the context of a lot of Americans, it's not questioning your disbelief, it's questioning your belief that leads to your subsequent atheism. I cannot speak for the rest of the world, especially former Godless Communists.


I understand this. But once people have crossed that bridge, I doubt they frequently look back and think "Am I wrong?", as religious people do.

Most people who became atheists made the decision to be atheist before they were 25 years old. And we all know how good decisions made by <25 year olds are. Especially given that the education system presses the decision on them, and that atheism is easier to defend.

Personally, I'm not a highly religious person. I don't go to church. I have a lot of doubts, and I recognize that as human. I can honestly say I'm open to both sides, which is NOT true of most people who become atheists - for them, it is a foregone conclusion. I know this from having mostly liberal/atheist friends. They'd never consider having made their choice a different way, because an all-but immovable philosophy of "religion is ridiculous, all Christians are crazies" has been implanted in them. Usually it takes a long time to erode this assumption.
Last edited by berk on Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:32 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby Yuri2356 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:27 am UTC

berk wrote:After all, in the end, to put it bluntly... We don't know shit.

We know nothing -> Assume nothing until shown otherwise

Null hypothesis, I choose you!

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby berk » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:35 am UTC

To clarify why most college students make the decision to be atheist:

Pros of being an atheist:
-Conforms to liberal political philosophy, which is also "the norm" and pressed upon you by your peers and superiors.
-Easy to defend, especially when you are in a group. Two atheists actually discussing spirituality with a "believer" without resorting to exclusion-tactics is more rare than two birds colliding head-on.
-Requires absolutely ZERO additional thought or self-exploration.

Cons of being religious:
-You face ostracism by your peers (in the majority of universities)
-You will be generalized as a "right-wing nutjob" (redneck, anti-abortion, hates minorities, loves George W. Bush and Reagan, etc) unless you are a minority member (which breaks their fragile generalization system).
-If you are lucky enough not to be rejected, you will still face constant pestering by people trying to either ridicule you or change your mind.
-Introduces deep philosophical questions into your mind that you cannot be answered, only accepted. I know from experience that unanswered questions drives young, critically-thinking people crazy.


Yuri2356 wrote:
berk wrote:After all, in the end, to put it bluntly... We don't know shit.

We know nothing -> Assume nothing until shown otherwise

Null hypothesis, I choose you!


This falls under the same category as "You cannot prove we are not living in a Matrix-esque system". By your argument, wouldn't the fact that some people think they have been "touched by God" proves the existence of God? No... because God, if he exists, obviously exists beyond the boundaries of human perception.

Logic/the scientific method does not apply to unanswerable questions. You cannot prove or disprove the existence of God through any observational means. If you could, why would they call it FAITH?

It falls to fundamental realism vs idealism, and is inherently paradoxical. We don't know shit.


I do not hold the decision that people make against them, however, I can hold the REASONS they make that decision against them.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby DrProfessorPhD » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:36 am UTC

Then, is that not possibly the reason that atheists are purported to have a higher IQ?
If people with faith, that is to say illogical belief, are on average less intelligent, and more religious people have faith in their religion than atheists have in theirs (atheists being less likely to have joined without considering it with logic and evidence), then that would make atheists more intelligent on average. Most of those assumptions (to me all) seem reasonable.

A few other things. Most of your claims are location dependent. For me, I see the opposite of you in pros/cons. Liberalism as the norm is not true here. I live in AZ. Being an atheist, or liberal, are actually harder here than being the standard republican christian.
Same with generalizations. People here are more concerned about crazy liberal atheists who want to take away our money, guns, and religion.
Proselytism is far more likely to occur here from religious people than atheists. It doesn't actually happen too often in my school, but that's due to the general "no religion (except in context of philosophy), no politics". Both of these can be broken by close people talking about them specifically, but generally don't.

There is no way that even close to a significant part of atheists don't go into additional thought or self-exploration. Most people I know who actively decided upon it do so at a time of discovery, which leads to rethinking many ideas. In fact, I could say the same about religion. Just accept what you are told and don't question it. Sounds pretty non-exploratory to me.

I agree with it being easy to defend (logic works well), and the fact that religion has deep unanswerable questions (another flaw with it).

Moving down your post; no, the fact that people think they contact God does not mean that they did or that it proves the existence of a God. Null hypothesis. We haven't been shown anything, so why assume it?
If you can't prove or disprove God through observation, then why bother believing?
How can you know that we don't know anything? More to the point, why does it matter? If we are indeed all in the Matrix, then it has no effect on us, and we should ignore the possibility.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby apeman5291 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:58 am UTC

Yuri2356 wrote:
berk wrote:After all, in the end, to put it bluntly... We don't know shit.

We know nothing -> Assume nothing until shown otherwise

Null hypothesis, I choose you!


He's not saying that because neither can be proven, each is equally likely. He's saying that epistemologically speaking, neither the atheist nor the religious person knows that they are right. (Knowledge = justified true belief. Both groups certainly believe what they are saying, but justification is a loose term and varies from person to person, and we really can't tell what is true in the end) Since a healthy amount of doubt should be applied to all things uncertain, people should also stop to consider, "what if I'm wrong to not assume this?"

DrProfessorPhD wrote:atheists being less likely to have joined without considering it with logic and evidence

This is only true because atheism is in the minority. In a world where children are likely to be brought up without the presence of a higher power, it would be far more likely that a member of a religious group has joined because of their use of reasoning.

What I'm getting at is that there are smart people and there are stupid people, and religious correlation with IQ does not imply causation. The ability to question one's beliefs and change worldviews is certainly correlated with intelligence, and the results of that are observed in the IQ data of certain religions (including atheist and agnostic). But, the idea that belief X has a higher average IQ so it is more likely to be right assumes a causation with the correlation.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby berk » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:58 am UTC

DrProfessorPhD wrote:A few other things. Most of your claims are location dependent. For me, I see the opposite of you in pros/cons. Liberalism as the norm is not true here. I live in AZ. Being an atheist, or liberal, are actually harder here than being the standard republican christian.
Same with generalizations. People here are more concerned about crazy liberal atheists who want to take away our money, guns, and religion.
Proselytism is far more likely to occur here from religious people than atheists. It doesn't actually happen too often in my school, but that's due to the general "no religion (except in context of philosophy), no politics". Both of these can be broken by close people talking about them specifically, but generally don't.



Most college campuses are occupied by late teens/early twenties people (I would hope), which is an overwhelmingly liberal crowd. Same goes for college professors. Some college have almost 100-to-1 Democrat to Republican ratios for their staff, in particular state schools.


There is no way that even close to a significant part of atheists don't go into additional thought or self-exploration. Most people I know who actively decided upon it do so at a time of discovery, which leads to rethinking many ideas. In fact, I could say the same about religion. Just accept what you are told and don't question it. Sounds pretty non-exploratory to me.


Are you saying that people challenge their ideas at the time they switch to atheism, during the "time of discovery"? If so, I know that. I am referring to frequent re-evaluation of your decision for the rest of your life. I say this because one of the most deeply held tenants of atheism is the assertion that "believing" is illogical and crazy. Thus, reconsidering your decision would make you a crazy person, by your own logic

We haven't been shown anything, so why assume it?
If you can't prove or disprove God through observation, then why bother believing?


Both these arguments work in reverse. As for the first one, why not? And, well, we have been shown something, I guess... Existence. No matter what school of theoretical physics you subscribe to, everything had to come from somewhere. The infinitely small, infinitely dense point that exploded didn't just wish its way into existence... The colliding membranes giving birth to new universes didn't just fall into the inter-dimensional void. Existence itself is proof that SOMETHING happened, is it that crazy to think that it was some outside force that did it? As for your second argument, I guess a religious person would answer "because salvation/the afterlife is on the table". Personally I don't think that belief has anything to do with salvation or the afterlife or what have you, telling somebody that they are going to Hell (and that you aren't) is about the most arrogant thing a person could ever do. Besides, it introduces a number of fallacies (so everyone before Jesus went to Hell? K...) that just don't make sense. I view that as dogmatic nonsense. A lot of religion is dogmatic nonsense.


I'm not arguing for the existence of God, I'm arguing for the possibility. I think it is ignorant for somebody to think that he can definitively prove or disprove God's existence through any means (least of all armchair pontification).



apeman5291 wrote:
Yuri2356 wrote:
berk wrote:After all, in the end, to put it bluntly... We don't know shit.

We know nothing -> Assume nothing until shown otherwise

Null hypothesis, I choose you!


He's not saying that because neither can be proven, each is equally likely. He's saying that epistemologically speaking, neither the atheist nor the religious person knows that they are right. (Knowledge = justified true belief. Both groups certainly believe what they are saying, but justification is a loose term and varies from person to person, and we really can't tell what is true in the end) Since a healthy amount of doubt should be applied to all things uncertain, people should also stop to consider, "what if I'm wrong to not assume this?"

DrProfessorPhD wrote:atheists being less likely to have joined without considering it with logic and evidence

This is only true because atheism is in the minority. In a world where children are likely to be brought up without the presence of a higher power, it would be far more likely that a member of a religious group has joined because of their use of reasoning.

What I'm getting at is that there are smart people and there are stupid people, and religious correlation with IQ does not imply causation. The ability to question one's beliefs and change worldviews is certainly correlated with intelligence, and the results of that are observed in the IQ data of certain religions (including atheist and agnostic). But, the idea that belief X has a higher average IQ so it is more likely to be right assumes a causation with the correlation.



Great post. I especially agree with you on this point:

This is only true because atheism is in the minority. In a world where children are likely to be brought up without the presence of a higher power, it would be far more likely that a member of a religious group has joined because of their use of reasoning.


That deals with the "atheism is the logical choice" argument. Also, like I said, I think if there IS any (temporary) IQ difference, it can be attributed to demographics and not some inherent truth only recognized by smart people.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:03 am UTC

berk wrote:I am referring to frequent re-evaluation of your decision for the rest of your life. I say this because one of the most deeply held tenants of atheism is the assertion that "believing" is illogical and crazy. Thus, reconsidering your decision would make you a crazy person, by your own logic


You seem to be making a lot of blanket statements concerning atheists there, tiger. I'd watch it; some people might begin to suspect you're a double-agent working for the gaytheisexual agenda!

But no, that isn't a core tenant of atheism. It isn't even a side-tenant. Atheism's pretty simple stuff; it's "I don't believe in God". Anything else you add is just icing on top of the cake. For instance, I know plenty of atheists who are good friends with strongly religious people, and not only respect those religious beliefs, but admire them. Anecdotal, but you get the idea.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby berk » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:37 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
berk wrote:I am referring to frequent re-evaluation of your decision for the rest of your life. I say this because one of the most deeply held tenants of atheism is the assertion that "believing" is illogical and crazy. Thus, reconsidering your decision would make you a crazy person, by your own logic


You seem to be making a lot of blanket statements concerning atheists there, tiger. I'd watch it; some people might begin to suspect you're a double-agent working for the gaytheisexual agenda!

But no, that isn't a core tenant of atheism. It isn't even a side-tenant. Atheism's pretty simple stuff; it's "I don't believe in God". Anything else you add is just icing on top of the cake. For instance, I know plenty of atheists who are good friends with strongly religious people, and not only respect those religious beliefs, but admire them. Anecdotal, but you get the idea.


"I choose not to believe" would be more along the lines of agnosticism. Atheism is more of a "there is no God" statement.

As for your friends, those qualities are admirable, and there are many people like them on both sides. But I'm comparing the more "hardcore" elements of each wing, atheist and religious. Look at Christopher Hitchens' opinions, for example...

Also, use logic. If God does not exist, people who believe in him without any evidence (completely irrational) must be nuts. Just like... If there is no squirrel in the tree, people who believe there is a squirrel in the tree (even though they can see he isn't there) must be nuts (FORGIVE THE PUN). I've heard this from hundreds of teachers/students/etc. Mocking spiritual people is a favorite past time among many of my atheist friends (and a fun one, at that). If you assume God does not exist, it leads to certain conclusions (believers are wrong and possibly nutty) just as assuming God DOES exist leads to certain conclusions (oh crap, he's watching me, I better be a good boy).

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby ++$_ » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:43 am UTC

berk wrote:To clarify why most college students make the decision to be atheist:
Meanwhile, in the real world, seventy percent of college students say that religion is an important part of their lives[1].
Pros of being an atheist:
-Conforms to liberal political philosophy
Liberal political philosophy is that philosophy which emphasizes individual rights and tolerance of change and dissent. This has nothing to do with atheism, or with religion. As you so precisely stated yourself, liberal political philosophy is political philosophy, not theology.
which is also "the norm"
21% of Americans describe themselves as liberal (politically). This rises among young people, but not to the extent of becoming the norm. In fact, among Democrats under the age of 30, only 48% describe themselves as liberal. There are also Republicans. [2]
and pressed upon you by your peers and superiors.
-Easy to defend, especially when you are in a group.
Things that are easy to defend are that way because for a reason. The most common reason things are easy to defend is because they are correct, but we must of course acknowledge that this is not diagnostic for correctness. Nevertheless, ceteris paribus, if something is easy to defend, it is more likely to be correct than something difficult to defend.
Two atheists actually discussing spirituality with a "believer" without resorting to exclusion-tactics is more rare than two birds colliding head-on.
We have a forum here called "Serious Business." In that forum you will find several threads in which atheists and non-atheists discuss spirituality without resorting to exclusion-tactics. I have also been fortunate enough to have many discussions on the topic of atheism and religion, both with atheists and non-atheists. Perhaps your lack of experience with such conversations is caused by your own lamentable failure to employ the LR-a type of rhetoric (as defined by the late Wayne Booth in The Rhetoric of Rhetoric [Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004]).
-Requires absolutely ZERO additional thought or self-exploration.
As "additional" to what? It is a true but vacuous statement that the amount of thought or self-exploration required to become an atheist, beyond the amount of thought or self-exploration required to become an atheist, is zero. On the other hand, the same statement could be made about any alternative form of spirituality.
Cons of being religious:
A deconstructionist might take the opportunity to note that the word "con" has a double meaning that may be construed as a Freudian slip.
-You face ostracism by your peers (in the majority of universities)
I am unwilling to disclose the name of the school I attend on this public forum; however, it is generally regarded as a very liberal institution. Nevertheless, I face no ostracism for my religious beliefs, and I am not an atheist. I am also not an agnostic, a "weak atheist," a pagan, a neo-pagan, a Shintoist, a pantheist, or a Buddhist. The idea that a non-atheist would face ostracism, at this university or at any similar institution (which category includes the so-called "Ivy League" schools), is absurd.
-You will be generalized as a "right-wing nutjob" (redneck, anti-abortion, hates minorities, loves George W. Bush and Reagan, etc)
This sentence portion rails against "generalization," and yet it uses the verb "will." Therefore, the assertion in this sentence can be refuted by a single counterexample. It suffices to consider the counterexample from the previous paragraph in this post (namely, this post's author's own experience). I must once again consider the possibility that your differing experience is, in whole or in part, caused by a failure to employ appropriate forms of rhetoric, particularly listening-rhetoric.
unless you are a minority member
I am not a member of a minority race, ethnicity or sexuality, which is the sense in which you used the word "minority" when you wrote the above-quoted post.
(which breaks their fragile generalization system).
Those of my friends (and enemies) who are members of the latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, theist-bashing egghead liberal elite caste generally consider Clarence Thomas to be a "right-wing nutjob [sic]," despite the indisputable (and not unnoticed) fact that he is a member of the African-American community (better known among right-wing nut jobs as "blacks"), which is a minority group.
-If you are lucky enough not to be rejected, you will still face constant pestering by people trying to either ridicule you or change your mind.
I seem to recall that in a previous part of this post, you lamented the alleged fact that atheists had no need to reexamine their beliefs. Ah, I have found it: "[Atheism] [r]equires absolutely ZERO additional thought or self-exploration." Perhaps the hypothetical person subjected to "pestering" should take advantage of the pestering as an opportunity for self-exploration. As for "ridicule," I suppose that no religious person has ever called atheists "ostriches" [3] or said that "[t]hey are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good" (Psalm 14:1). But then again, the sieve always says to the needle, "You have a hole in your tail."
-Introduces deep philosophical questions into your mind
Atheists consider the same philosophical questions that non-atheists consider. Many people become atheists when they carefully investigate philosophical questions like the problem of evil or the Euthyphro dilemma.[/quote]
that you cannot be answered, only accepted.
I quote G.K. Chesterton (who, by the way, was devoutly religious):
[W]herever you find men ruled merely by mystery, it is the mystery of iniquity. ("The Purple Wig")

I know from experience that unanswered questions drives young, critically-thinking people crazy.
You have a redundancy in this sentence. One should leave out the word "young." If we look past this, however, it should be pointed out that in the face of critical thinking, questions do not often remain unanswered for long. Recall (if it is not too difficult) the Chesterton quote, above, if you find yourself wondering why it is a good idea to leave as few questions unanswered as possible. Of course, one must make sure that the answers to the questions are correct, which is the purpose of critical thinking.

Yuri2356 wrote:
berk wrote:After all, in the end, to put it bluntly... We don't know shit.

We know nothing -> Assume nothing until shown otherwise

Null hypothesis, I choose you!This falls under the same category as "You cannot prove we are not living in a Matrix-esque system".
No, it does not. In fact, you ("berk") are the one engaging in thinking along the lines of "'You cannot prove we are not living in a Matrix-esque system,'" when you state that "[w]e don't know shit." Notice the similarity between these tropes: "We don't know" and "You cannot prove." The other poster ("Yuri2356") has, by contrast, made a different assertion: "'Assume nothing.'" "Yuri2356" assumes that we are not living in a Matrix-like system; this is, of course, a logical assumption.
By your argument, wouldn't the fact that some people think they have been "touched by God" proves the existence of God?
No.
No... because God, if he exists, obviously exists beyond the boundaries of human perception.
This is not obvious. Christians believe that Jesus (a man, ergo, an object existing within, not beyond, human perception) was God. Therefore, the thing that you have asserted is "obvious" is categorically denied by the single largest religion on earth. I would venture to claim that this makes it non-obvious.
Logic/the scientific method does not apply to unanswerable questions.
The scientific method applies to unanswerable questions. It prescribes the course of action generally known as "Occam's razor."
You cannot prove or disprove the existence of God through any observational means.
However, many arguments used to argue for the existence or non-existence of God can be addressed through observational means.
If you could, why would they call it FAITH?
Perhaps because "faith" is defined primarily as "religion: a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny" [4].
It
What?
falls to fundamental realism vs idealism
One cannot refute a point by stating the names of two philosophical concepts and placing them in opposition. For example, if a person states that "the earth is 5000 years old," I cannot refute that point by saying that it "falls to fundamental evolution vs creationism." To refute it, I would have to give a well-reasoned argument, which is something you have shown little ability to do so far in this post.
, and is inherently paradoxical. We don't know shit.
Because you have not yet assembled convincing evidence for your point of view, you have resorted to circular logic. This is fairly typical among apologists for extreme skeptical positions, but that does not excuse it.
I do not hold the decision that people make against them, however, I can hold the REASONS they make that decision against them.
This would be a more useful basis for judgment if there were any way you could identify the reasons a given person made a given decision. However, the evidence for telepathy and other psi powers is very much lacking, so it is a reasonable assumption that you cannot know these reasons. Therefore, I advise that you rethink this position.

In conclusion, I have demonstrated that, despite a relative paucity of the grammatical and orthographical errors that characterize so much shoddy thinking on the Internet, the above post by "berk" is nevertheless an example of poor thinking. As I have speculated above, the cause of this is perhaps a poor understanding of the concept of listening-rhetoric, combined with a lamentable lack of curiosity about the ways in which people other than him perceive the world. It would be necessary to analyze more material by the author to draw a firm conclusion on this point, but it seems likely that such material will not be forthcoming, owing to the fact that moderators on the fora here are generally very good.

Signed,
Summer Glau.

P.S.: I'm still not an atheist.

EDIT: The above post contained a closing "quote" tag in an incorrect location. It has been removed.
Last edited by ++$_ on Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:53 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby sje46 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:47 am UTC

I've noticed that religious people seem to have persecution complexes, that they are always being discriminated against. This pretty much only happens when they are forcing their morality and beliefs on others, like banning books, for example. Most religious people I know here in liberal, athesit New Hampshire are NOT discriminated against, even at this college I go to. There is a lot mor discrimination, I hear, against atheists.

Be careful of your blanket statements, dude. There are religious democrats out there, believe it or not.

I'm not arguing for the existence of God, I'm arguing for the possibility. I think it is ignorant for somebody to think that he can definitively prove or disprove God's existence through any means (least of all armchair pontification).

I think most athesits are actually agnostics. They don't really think that you can prove his nonexistence, but they just think it is very improbable, and thus one should not be basing his moral beliefs off books written about him.

That deals with the "atheism is the logical choice" argument. Also, like I said, I think if there IS any (temporary) IQ difference, it can be attributed to demographics and not some inherent truth only recognized by smart people.

Or both. Maybe you can have two people in the same exact demographic but one is more likely to be atheist because he is intelligent?
Personally, I'm not a highly religious person. I don't go to church. I have a lot of doubts, and I recognize that as human. I can honestly say I'm open to both sides, which is NOT true of most people who become atheists - for them, it is a foregone conclusion. I know this from having mostly liberal/atheist friends. They'd never consider having made their choice a different way, because an all-but immovable philosophy of "religion is ridiculous, all Christians are crazies" has been implanted in them. Usually it takes a long time to erode this assumption.

What can I say? Your experiences are wrong. Perhaps they don't even consider christianity because to them it is as likely as the fact that a dragon lives under your bed? But really, atheists tend to be more open minded, if only for the reason that religious people are TAUGHT to not have any doubt, that it is a sin.
EDIT:
Ninja'd beautifully
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby roc314 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:53 am UTC

berk wrote:"I choose not to believe" would be more along the lines of agnosticism. Atheism is more of a "there is no God" statement.
Uh, no. "I don't believe" is what is called "weak atheism". "God does not exist" is "strong atheism". "It is impossible to prove/disprove the existence of god" is agnosticism. There can be overlapping between the groups.

Point being, you are wrong--"I choose not to believe" is a type of atheism.
Also, use logic. If God does not exist, people who believe in him without any evidence (completely irrational) must be nuts.
Again, no. There are myriad different reasons why people would believe in god (if he does not exist). They could have been raised with the belief and never questioned it, they could be mistaken, they could be using a different set of axioms, etc., etc.

Of course, that's only explaining how a strong atheist could think that not all theists are "nuts". If we look at weak atheism or agnosticism, there are even more possible explanations.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:57 am UTC

berk wrote:"I choose not to believe" would be more along the lines of agnosticism. Atheism is more of a "there is no God" statement.


Nope; sorry, sweetness. Above poster ninja'd me, though.

berk wrote:As for your friends, those qualities are admirable, and there are many people like them on both sides. But I'm comparing the more "hardcore" elements of each wing, atheist and religious. Look at Christopher Hitchens' opinions, for example...


Come on now, snuggle-wuggums. In one sentence you maintain that a core tenant of atheism is that '"believing" is illogical and crazy'; now you're telling me that you're only talking about the 'hardcore atheists'? Make up your mind, my dearest sweetcheek mcgumdrops!

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby apeman5291 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:07 am UTC

sje46 wrote:Or both. Maybe you can have two people in the same exact demographic but one is more likely to be atheist because he is intelligent?

I think that's what was being said. He was agreeing with my statement that correlations show up due to factors other than one option being more correct than the other.
sje46 wrote:religious people are TAUGHT to not have any doubt, that it is a sin.

Really? This verse (in Christianity) and This article (about Islam), not to mention the whole Doubting Thomas story tell me that doubt is considered essential in the world's two most prominent religions. People teaching that doubt is bad are doing so out of personal convictions, not the doctrines of their religion. This once again goes to show that causations are being mis-attributed to the correlation of higher IQs to agnostic persuasions.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby sje46 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:23 am UTC

apeman5291 wrote:
sje46 wrote:Or both. Maybe you can have two people in the same exact demographic but one is more likely to be atheist because he is intelligent?

I think that's what was being said. He was agreeing with my statement that correlations show up due to factors other than one option being more correct than the other.

Sorry.
sje46 wrote:religious people are TAUGHT to not have any doubt, that it is a sin.

Really? This verse (in Christianity) and This article (about Islam), not to mention the whole Doubting Thomas story tell me that doubt is considered essential in the world's two most prominent religions. People teaching that doubt is bad are doing so out of personal convictions, not the doctrines of their religion. This once again goes to show that causations are being mis-attributed to the correlation of higher IQs to agnostic persuasions.

I'm not an expert at this, and I am only speaking from what I perceive around me. MAybe the Bible says that, but there are hypocrites, of course. Parents teaching their children that doubting is wrong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8Aq00yJSxo And I suspect that a lot of priests do too. I don't know though. I thought I read in Dawkin's book this; if I am wrong, I don't know.
Not saying that most religious people are taught by the Bible or not that to doubt is wrong, or that most highly religious people do, but at least a good percentage.
I am not saying that most religious people--either highly religious or not--do so, but most likely a good percentage.
EDIT: fix'd very odd sentence.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby berk » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:28 am UTC

@++$_
Honestly, I wish I had the patience you do. And the free time. I don't have the time to dig through 1,600 words filled with quote tags, but I read your post and have a response to (most of) the points you raised. A few points:

-I highly doubt 70% of college students are devoutly religious. I also question the definition of "religion" in the question, because many people would (erroneously) define atheism as a "religion". I have heard it done frequently.

Liberal political philosophy is that philosophy which emphasizes individual rights and tolerance of change and dissent. This has nothing to do with atheism, or with religion. As you so precisely stated yourself, liberal political philosophy is political philosophy, not theology.

You're absolutely right on this one, but you missed my point. What you have displayed is the traditional definition of liberalism, as opposed to today's liberalism (which is actually leftism). Just like most right-wingers are mislabeled as conservatives.

21% of Americans describe themselves as liberal (politically). This rises among young people, but not to the extent of becoming the norm. In fact, among Democrats under the age of 30, only 48% describe themselves as liberal. There are also republicans.


Obama just won the Presidency. The most decidedly liberal person to win, ever. And by 7% of the popular vote, if I remember right. Again, this may be people confusing terms, but if people had to choose liberal or conservative (by society's current definition, not the real definition), it'd be about a 50-50 split. In effect, voting for President is doing just that.

I'd also like to mention that 84% of college students voted for Obama.

Things that are easy to defend are that way because for a reason. The most common reason things are easy to defend is because they are correct, but we must of course acknowledge that this is not diagnostic for correctness. Nevertheless, ceteris paribus, if something is easy to defend, it is more likely to be correct than something difficult to defend.


I disagree. Human emotion is not related to logic in any way, so emotionally appealing arguments (say, Communism?) that are in reality unfeasible are often easy to defend. It doesn't make them true.

We have a forum here called "Serious Business." In that forum you will find several threads in which atheists and non-atheists discuss spirituality without resorting to exclusion-tactics. I have also been fortunate enough to have many discussions on the topic of atheism and religion, both with atheists and non-atheists.


Birds DO collide, you know. XKCD is one of those collisions, and I admire it. However, getting the average hard-liner teenage/early-twenties atheists to seriously discuss theology (granted, I'm dealing with a limited test group) is hard.

As "additional" to what?


By "additional thought" I mean a continued challenging and probing of your decision, later in life. The majority of religious people will say that at one point or another, they had a "crisis of faith" or something to the same effect.

A deconstructionist might take the opportunity to note that the word "con" has a double meaning that may be construed as a Freudian slip.

:roll:

The idea that a non-atheist would face ostracism, at this university or at any similar institution (which category includes the so-called "Ivy League" schools), is absurd.


Ostracism was too strong a word. Please keep in mind I'm discussing the most extreme of cases (yet still ones I have witnessed personally). Being in a top-tier school helps to remove the gang mentality and boost the maturity level, too.

This sentence portion rails against "generalization," and yet it uses the verb "will." Therefore, the assertion in this sentence can be refuted by a single counterexample. It suffices to consider the counterexample from the previous paragraph in this post (namely, this post's author's own experience). I must once again consider the possibility that your differing experience is, in whole or in part, caused by a failure to employ appropriate forms of rhetoric, particularly listening-rhetoric.

Notice the subtle humor. I was making fun of the right-wing stereotype there. However, I ask you once again to keep in mind that I am talking about extreme cases, and the fact that "You may" should be implied at the beginning of each of my pros/cons. Nothing is concrete, and a lot of it is based on the crowd. Also note that I am talking about a crowd in which "conversion" is the smart choice to make, not your average crowd.

You have a redundancy in this sentence. One should leave out the word "young."


I used the word "young" because older people tend to have more patience on such matters.

No, it does not. In fact, you ("berk") are the one engaging in thinking along the lines of "'You cannot prove we are not living in a Matrix-esque system,'" when you state that "[w]e don't know shit." Notice the similarity between these tropes: "We don't know" and "You cannot prove." The other poster ("Yuri2356") has, by contrast, made a different assertion: "'Assume nothing.'" "Yuri2356" assumes that we are not living in a Matrix-like system; this is, of course, a logical assumption.

I was illustrating exactly what I said I was... That it all falls to basic materialism versus idealism, except in the case of God, we have no material evidence. Either choice is equally defensible because neither can be proven nor disprove. The idea that we are not, for example, living in a "Matrix-like system" is discarded because it seems ridiculous to us, not because we can estimate its probability.

This is not obvious. Christians believe that Jesus (a man, ergo, an object existing within, not beyond, human perception) was God.

Heh. If I wanted to quibble, I'd say that technically he was the SON of God, thus was a part of God and was holy, but was not God himself. Instead, I'll just say that I think the resurrection and water-into-wine mythology was made up. That does not reduce the value of his teachings, however.

Perhaps because "faith" is defined primarily as "religion: a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny"

See: "Blind faith". Stop nitpicking. It doesn't make you look any smarter.

One cannot refute a point by stating the names of two philosophical concepts and placing them in opposition. For example, if a person states that "the earth is 5000 years old," I cannot refute that point by saying that it "falls to fundamental evolution vs creationism." To refute it, I would have to give a well-reasoned argument, which is something you have shown little ability to do so far in this post.


The difference being, as I have stated, that we have no material evidence when it comes to the existence of God. If somebody were to say "the Earth is 5000 years old", you'd have a few million examples of radiocarbon dating and geology to disprove them, which qualifies as material evidence.

This would be a more useful basis for judgment if there were any way you could identify the reasons a given person made a given decision. However, the evidence for telepathy and other psi powers is very much lacking, so it is a reasonable assumption that you cannot know these reasons. Therefore, I advise that you rethink this position.

Or you could ask somebody why they made that decision. That works, sometimes. But wait - I'm getting a reading here - you already knew that.



PS: The personal insults really made your post that much more entertaining. Bravo for keeping it mature. At least I didn't devolve into insults with my "poorly" thought-out post marred by "grammatical and orthographical errors" and a "poor understanding of the concept of listening-rhetoric".

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby Belial » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:33 am UTC

apeman5291 wrote:People teaching that doubt is bad are doing so out of personal convictions, not the doctrines of their religion.


If you believe that a religion is defined by its scriptures, I suppose.

Keep in mind that not everyone accepts that as valid.

For example, if Plingoism has a verse in its holy book that says "it's not nice to punch people. Plingo doesn't like it", but every year plingoists gather together, kidnap a neighborhood child and punch them in the stomach until they throw up, and then bless the event in Plingo's name.....some would define Plingoism as a religion in which one punches small neighborhood children until they throw up, because that's what they do. Pointing out that the Blessed Analects of the Enlightened Plingo specifically say "Punching is bad" will carry no weight with people who define a religion by the beliefs and traditions of its followers.

Which I find to be much more useful, in general, because it avoids constant No-True-Scotsman fallacies, or in other cases, No-true-scotsman-ing 95 percent of religious people in the world.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby roc314 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:35 am UTC

@berk: check out this link. It'll help you understand ++$_'s post better and put it in some perspective.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby berk » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:41 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Come on now, snuggle-wuggums. In one sentence you maintain that a core tenant of atheism is that '"believing" is illogical and crazy'; now you're telling me that you're only talking about the 'hardcore atheists'? Make up your mind, my dearest sweetcheek mcgumdrops!



"Core tenant" was too strong a phrase, I admit it. However, many of the arguments I address have been proposed by "hardcore atheists" (IE, people who belong to atheist groups and are defined as "strong atheists"), thus I am responding to their arguments.

However, said belief (religious people are nuts) is a recurring theme with many atheists I know, and it makes sense if you follow it logically based on the assumption that God doesn't exist.

There is no God (assumption) -> If you believe in God, you are wrong -> <explanation for being wrong, including "brainwashing/being raised not to question it" or "no critical thinking" or "batshit crazy">.

I happen to think a lot of religious people ARE batshit insane (AKA Mormons... jk), but I don't base it on assumptions.

@berk: check out this link. It'll help you understand ++$_'s post better and put it in some perspective.


Ah...




He's still an asshole :wink: jk


Belial wrote:
apeman5291 wrote:People teaching that doubt is bad are doing so out of personal convictions, not the doctrines of their religion.


If you believe that a religion is defined by its scriptures, I suppose.

Keep in mind that not everyone accepts that as valid.

For example, if Plingoism has a verse in its holy book that says "it's not nice to punch people. Plingo doesn't like it", but every year plingoists gather together, kidnap a neighborhood child and punch them in the stomach until they throw up, and then bless the event in Plingo's name.....some would define Plingoism as a religion in which one punches small neighborhood children until they throw up, because that's what they do. Pointing out that the Blessed Analects of the Enlightened Plingo specifically say "Punching is bad" will carry no weight with people who define a religion by the beliefs and traditions of its followers.

Which I find to be much more useful, in general, because it avoids constant No-True-Scotsman fallacies, or in other cases, No-true-scotsman-ing 95 percent of religious people in the world.



This is a really interesting point. It certainly makes arguing harder, and makes a lot of terms confusing. Like I said earlier, what we think of as "liberal" is closer to "leftist", alternately "conservative" is closer to "right-wing", etc.

Also, people can hide behind this... For example:
"Communism has consistently failed through the 20th century. For example, North Korea, the USSR, etc"
"That wasn't communism! That was just totalitarianism! Refer to Marx, The Communist Manifesto, page...."
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby apeman5291 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:43 am UTC

@sje46
I didn't mean to attack you personally, sorry if I made you think that. I was just supplying an "insider's look" at things taught in religions, as I am unaware of your own religious background. But you're exactly right, there are always hypocrites, and unfortunately sometimes they make up a majority of a demographic.

Belial wrote:
apeman5291 wrote:People teaching that doubt is bad are doing so out of personal convictions, not the doctrines of their religion.


If you believe that a religion is defined by its scriptures, I suppose.

Keep in mind that not everyone accepts that as valid.

For example, if Plingoism has a verse in its holy book that says "it's not nice to punch people. Plingo doesn't like it", but every year plingoists gather together, kidnap a neighborhood child and punch them in the stomach until they throw up, and then bless the event in Plingo's name.....some would define Plingoism as a religion in which one punches small neighborhood children until they throw up, because that's what they do. Pointing out that the Blessed Analects of the Enlightened Plingo specifically say "Punching is bad" will carry no weight with people who define a religion by the beliefs and traditions of its followers.

Which I find to be much more useful, in general, because it avoids constant No-True-Scotsman fallacies, or in other cases, No-true-scotsman-ing 95 percent of religious people in the world.


This is true, but the Plingoists will still claim to be following the Holy Writings of the Enlightened Plingo. I think it all just goes to show that it's very hard to separate what someone claims to believe from what they actually believe.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby ++$_ » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:45 am UTC

I would love to respond to that post in full, but the voice in my ear is telling me that I'll get in trouble for derailing the thread even further than I already have. Remember, the topic is "what's the average IQ of an atheist," which, while a loaded question, is still a legitimate question.

But I do want to point out that:
berk wrote:PS: The personal insults really made your post that much more entertaining. Bravo for keeping it mature. At least I didn't devolve into insults with my "poorly" thought-out post marred by "grammatical and orthographical errors" and a "poor understanding of the concept of listening-rhetoric".
Let's not get confused here. I congratulated you for not having too many grammatical errors. And, in your post, you accused atheists of poor thinking as well (although not in so many words). I think fair is fair.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby sje46 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:50 am UTC

apeman5291 wrote:@sje46
I didn't mean to attack you personally, sorry if I made you think that. I was just supplying an "insider's look" at things taught in religions, as I am unaware of your own religious background. But you're exactly right, there are always hypocrites, and unfortunately sometimes they make up a majority of a demographic.


Meh? No, man, I wasn't offended :)

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby berk » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:55 am UTC

But I do want to point out that:
berk wrote:PS: The personal insults really made your post that much more entertaining. Bravo for keeping it mature. At least I didn't devolve into insults with my "poorly" thought-out post marred by "grammatical and orthographical errors" and a "poor understanding of the concept of listening-rhetoric".
Let's not get confused here. I congratulated you for not having too many grammatical errors. And, in your post, you accused atheists of poor thinking as well (although not in so many words). I think fair is fair.


I missed the words "relative paucity" there.

And I'm making no accusations, I am simply challenging an assumption. I never told an individual poster he had "poor thinking". If you want me to make an accusation, I'll say that there is plenty of poor thinking on both sides of the atheist/religious issue.

++$_ wrote:I would love to respond to that post in full, but the voice in my ear is telling me that I'll get in trouble for derailing the thread even further than I already have. Remember, the topic is "what's the average IQ of an atheist," which, while a loaded question, is still a legitimate question.


Agreed. And I still stand by my original point: a divide of several points in average IQ's would make sense, due to atheism being the more socially acceptable choice in several intellectual environments (universities, mainly), which are generally occupied by people with higher IQs.



Anyway, thanks for making an intelligent response to my post - it has been a long time since I have been able to take part in an intellectual debate (does it show?) and I need to get back into good rhetorical habits.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby Belial » Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:29 am UTC

berk wrote:This is a really interesting point. It certainly makes arguing harder, and makes a lot of terms confusing.


It does. But it's still an incredibly useful point to be mindful of. Otherwise, one starts talking about, for example, Christianity as a social phenomenon, and immediately someone sets in with "Well, that's not really christian behaviour because the book says...." which is all very well and good if the discussion is "how can I be a dude that Jesus would like to hang out with and eat snack cakes". The book is probably your best go-to on that topic. But if the question is "what is the effect of christianity and christian organizations on society" or "What can I expect from large groups of christians" or even "How can I fit in with these christians over here", then the book just...isn't directly relevant, and bringing it up just muddies the point.

To invoke a conversation I had a while ago: In discussions of Christmas, it's often said that Christmas isn't really a christian holiday. And from a book perspective, this is true. There's all manner of idolatry, and borrowed (or stolen) stuff from paganism and suchlike. But ultimately, it's a Christian holiday because Christians see it as a Christian holiday, celebrate it as a christian holiday, and call it a christian holiday. It is a thing christians do as part of their religious tradition, and therefore, for all useful intents and purposes, it is Christian.

It should be pointed out that this angle on things, while it's often relevant for everyone, including people within the religion itself, proves itself useful much more often for someone outside the religion in question. Ultimately, as an atheist, it just isn't important to me (outside of intellectual and literary interest) what your book says, except insofar as it affects your (where "you" is a generic christian) behaviour and opinions and beliefs. Because I don't ever have to talk, argue, live, share, collaborate, or fight with the book. I have to coexist with the people who read the book.

However, as a christian, the question of "does the bible approve of this and therefore is it really christian?" is probably actually relevant to you a lot of the time. Just be aware that it holds very little weight with anyone else (including religious peoples of other religions).
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby TheAmazingRando » Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:52 am UTC

berk wrote:Pros of being an atheist:
-Conforms to liberal political philosophy, which is also "the norm" and pressed upon you by your peers and superiors.
I'm a religious person. I'm also quite liberal, politically. How do liberal politics encourage atheism?
berk wrote:Cons of being religious:
-You face ostracism by your peers (in the majority of universities)
-You will be generalized as a "right-wing nutjob" (redneck, anti-abortion, hates minorities, loves George W. Bush and Reagan, etc) unless you are a minority member (which breaks their fragile generalization system).
-If you are lucky enough not to be rejected, you will still face constant pestering by people trying to either ridicule you or change your mind.
-Introduces deep philosophical questions into your mind that you cannot be answered, only accepted. I know from experience that unanswered questions drives young, critically-thinking people crazy.
I go to a public university. I post here often. I don't hide the fact that I'm religious in either location, and I don't experience any of this. I do get generalized as right-wing, but that's by right-wingers who assume I agree with them, not liberals who assume I don't, so it probably isn't what you mean.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby crowey » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:29 pm UTC

berk wrote:"Core tenant" was too strong a phrase, I admit it. However, many of the arguments I address have been proposed by "hardcore atheists" (IE, people who belong to atheist groups and are defined as "strong atheists"), thus I am responding to their arguments.

But you until the last two posts you have presented it as though the hard-core are representative of all atheists, which is just like assuming that all christians are bible bashing members of the KKK.

However, said belief (religious people are nuts) is a recurring theme with many atheists I know,

It's a recurring theme because (people as a whole) don't like people who are part of a different group, we treat outgroups differently to ingroups, and religion is one of the few where it is still somehow OK to do this. It has nothing to do with what particular faith/lack of you are, there will be groups of people within it who mock/deride other faiths.

and it makes sense if you follow it logically based on the assumption that God doesn't exist.

No it doesn't. At most belief in god is irrational. People do irrational things all the time, it doesn't make them nuts.

I happen to think a lot of religious people ARE batshit insane (AKA Mormons... jk), but I don't base it on assumptions.

So you're a medical proffesional who has interviewed and analysed every religious person and concluded that they are insane? Because that's the only way you could do it without major assumptions, and even then there's a fair bit of assuming going on.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby 22/7 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:17 pm UTC

Just because it struck me as funny...
berk wrote:@++$_
Honestly, I wish I had the patience you do. And the free time. I don't have the time to dig through 1,600 words filled with quote tags, but I read your post and have a response to (most of) the points you raised...
[1304 word post]
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby Actaeus » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:25 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:There is also the strong possibility, which is different from my proof I gave before, that smarter people tend to be atheist not because only mostly the smart people who are orignially religious have the capacity to follow through with inquiry to be able to change their dicision, no matter what it is, but also because atheism is the more rational theory (as opposed to supernaturalism). It is NOT a 50% chance like I assumed in my proof.

I seriously do believe that this is the reason why this board, for example, is more full of atheists. But there are also heck of religious people here who are smart.
But I do not think a person is justified in saying that it could be either other way--that the choices are equally likely. No, no. Be an agnostic, but not that type of agnostic. It is cool if you are more for god's side. but dn't be right in the middle.

[/politicallincorrect]

Well, I'm an agnostic, but for (I think) all the right reasons.
1. I can't believe that everything good or awe-inspiring is just colored by my perceptions
2. I can't believe in a separate, judgmental being as God either.
If God exists, in my view, He/it's a deep part of the universe, in a way that's hard to describe.

What I basically mean is that there are perfectly acceptable philosophical reasons for agnosticism, it's just the "well, no scientific evidence either way" folks who annoy me.

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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby Indon » Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:08 pm UTC

negatron wrote:It is called an Intelligence Quotient for a reason.

Because it was concieved of in the 1800's by people with absolutely no accurate conception of what intelligence was.

negatron wrote:Which thus measures how well a person performs academically.

It doesn't even do that. IQ correlates with academic performance, but last I checked not much better than it correlates with a number of other things.

negatron wrote:There is little cultural bias in mathematics, and far less in logic itself.

My point refers to how a culture defines 'intelligence' as abilities that are found desirable in that culture, after which scoring is based around possession of those abilities defined as 'intelligence'.

But you have an interesting thought - perhaps we should give people math tests and call them IQ tests? It might prove more objective.

negatron wrote:It's important to note that there are two primary types of IQ tests. Crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence. Most IQ tests mix both and focus on crystallized. The more rightful approach would be to score the two individually.

Insofar as I care at all about neurometrics, I'm actually a multiple-intelligence adherent. By no means do I think 2 tests would cut it. Distinct cognitive abilities should each be measured distinctly.

negatron wrote:The standard measures of Fluid Intelligence, at least the ones I'm aware of, have a ceiling and negative g-load (lower-IQ person more likely to answer question correctly) at above 130 IQ, after which it appears to get difficult to measure intelligence without introducing ambiguity into the problem and thus causing ineffectual g-loading.

Thinking like this is one of the many, many reasons I put absolutely no stock in neurometrics. They don't understand how people answer questions, so they encounter questions which are not progressively more likely to be answered correctly as their arbitrary metric increases, which does not fit into the simplistic G-oriented model of intelligence. Instead of studying why their metric so clearly fails here, they ignore it, and instead they intentionally use bad questions with their woefully inadequate model to keep the numbers looking the way they want them to.

negatron wrote:The question "What's the average IQ of an atheist?" is effectively two different question depending on which measure is being referred to.

Really, considering there isn't remotely a single standard for IQ measurement, it's more like asking at least 10 questions.
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Re: What's the average IQ of an atheist?

Postby apeman5291 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:15 pm UTC

Belial wrote:It should be pointed out that this angle on things, while it's often relevant for everyone, including people within the religion itself, proves itself useful much more often for someone outside the religion in question. Ultimately, as an atheist, it just isn't important to me (outside of intellectual and literary interest) what your book says, except insofar as it affects your (where "you" is a generic christian) behaviour and opinions and beliefs. Because I don't ever have to talk, argue, live, share, collaborate, or fight with the book. I have to coexist with the people who read the book.

However, as a christian, the question of "does the bible approve of this and therefore is it really christian?" is probably actually relevant to you a lot of the time. Just be aware that it holds very little weight with anyone else (including religious peoples of other religions).


The question of what's in the book is not relevant to you as an atheist, but it is relevant to you as someone trying to interpret these statistics. Obviously, there is a correlation between how religious a person is and their IQ. The next step is to determine the cause for that correlation. For that, all of the doctrines, ideologies, and influences for both the religious and non-religious need to be considered as possible causes. On the religious end, there are two main groups of doctrines: the cultural doctrines (i.e. what can be inferred as believed from actions) and the ideological docrines (i.e. what religious people will tell you they believe). As you pointed out, the two sets can have little to no intersection.

I was saying that what's in the book can be ruled out as a cause because the two major religions worldwide both use doubt in a positive way, and by no means encourage ignorance. I was not defending the actions of religious people, but merely the beliefs expressed in religions. I agree that there are quite a few high-ranking officials within religions that discourage doubt and promote blind faith, but because what they claim to believe contradicts what they do, they can safely be called wrong. This is not no-true-scotsman-ing anyone because their status as a "scotsman" is defined by what they believe. For example, if I made the claim "I'm an atheist except that I believe in gods X, Y, and Z," you could say that I wasn't a true atheist because I didn't hold up to even my own definition of the term.
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