Why is Intelligence Negatively Associated with Religiousness?
- 1.6k Downloads
We present three models which attempt to explain the robust negative association between religion and intelligence: the Irrationality of Religion Model, the Cultural Mediation Hypothesis, and the Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis. We highlight problems with each of them and propose that the negative religion-IQ nexus can be understood through substantially revising the Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis. We argue that religion should be regarded as an evolved domain or instinct. Intelligence, by contrast, involves rising above our instincts. It follows that an inclination toward the non-instinctive will thus be an aspect of intelligence because it will help us to solve problems. Thus, intelligence will involve being attracted to evolutionary mismatch, to that which we would not be instinctively evolved to be attracted to. It is this, we argue, that is behind the negative religion-intelligence nexus. We respond to potential criticisms of our model and we examine how this model can be further tested.
KeywordsReligion Cultural Mediation Hypothesis Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis Evolutionary mismatch Intelligence
We would like to thank Michael Woodley of Menie and Curtis Dunkel for their helpful comments on this manuscript.
- Barrett, J. (2004). Why would anyone believe in god? Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
- Blume, M. (2009). The reproductive benefits of religious affiliation. In E. Voland & W. Schiefenhövel (Eds.), The biological evolution of religious mind and behavior. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Boyer, P. (2001). Religion explained: the human instincts that fashion gods, spirits and ancestors. London: William Heinemann.Google Scholar
- Brierley, P. (2010). UK Christianity: 2005–2015. London: Christian Research Association.Google Scholar
- Browne, T. (1672). Pseudoxia epidemica: or enquiries into the very many received tenets and commonly presumed truths. London: Printed for Edward Dod and are to be Sould (sic.) by Andrew Crook.Google Scholar
- Cofnas, N. (2012). Reptiles with a conscience: the co-evolution of religious and moral doctrine. London: Ulster Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Durrant, R., & Ellis, B. (2003). Evolutionary psychology. In M. Gallagher & R. Nelson (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: volume I: biological psychology. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Dutton, E. (2014). Religion and intelligence: an evolutionary analysis. London: Ulster Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Dutton, E., & Charlton, B. (2015). The genius famine: why we need geniuses, why they are dying out and why we must rescue them. Buckingham: Buckingham University Press.Google Scholar
- Dutton, E., & Lynn, R. (2014). Intelligence and religious and political differences among the US academic elite. Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, 10, 1.Google Scholar
- Eisenberg, N. (2012). Temperamental effortful control (self-regulation). Encyclopedia on early childhood development, http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/temperament/according-experts/temperamental-effortful-control-self-regulation.
- Farias, M. (2013). The psychology of atheism. In S. Bullivant & M. Ruse (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of atheism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Gaskill, M. (2003). Crime and mentalities in early modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Gilkey, C. K. (1924). Religion among American students. Journal of Religion, 1, 4.Google Scholar
- Goodey, C. F. (2011). A history of intelligence and “intellectual disability”: the shaping of psychology in early modern Europe. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- Gordon, B., & Marshall, P. (Eds.). (2000). The place of the dead: death and remembrance in late medieval and early modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Hauschild, T. (2011). Power and Magic in Italy. Oxford: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
- Howells, T. (1928). A comparative study of those who accept as against those who reject religious authority. University of Iowa Studies in Character, 2, 3.Google Scholar
- Hudson, W. (2015). The English deists: studies in early in Enlightenment. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- James, W. (1896/1956). The will to believe and other essays in popular philosophy. New York: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
- Jenkins, T. (2009). Faith and the scientific mind/faith in the scientific mind: the implicit religion of science in contemporary Britain. Implicit Religion, 12, 3.Google Scholar
- Jensen, A. (1998). The g factor: the science of mental ability. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Jordan, J. (2013). Pragmatic arguments and belief in God. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pragmatic-belief-god/#PraArg.
- Kanazawa, S. (2012). The intelligence paradox: why the intelligent choice isn’t always the smart one. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- King, C. (2008). Faustus and the Promise of the New Science, c. 1580-1730: From the Chapbooks to Harlequin Faustus. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
- Lynn, R. (2011). Dysgenics: genetic deterioration in modern populations. London: Ulster Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Lynn, R., & Vanhanen, T. (2012). Intelligence: a unifying construct for the social sciences. London: Ulster Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- MacDonald, K. (2010). Evolution as a dual processing theory of culture: applications to moral idealism and political philosophy. Politics and Culture, 1: http://politicsandculture.org/2010/04/29/evolution-and-a-dual-processing-theory-of-culture-applications-to-moral-idealism-and-political-philosophy/.
- Maroney, E. (2006). Religious syncretism. London: SCM Press.Google Scholar
- Marshall, J. (2006). John Locke, toleration and early Enlightenment culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Meisenberg, G. (2007). In God’s image: the natural history of intelligence and ethics. Kibworth: Book Guild Publishing.Google Scholar
- Meisenberg, G., Rindermann, H., Patel, H., & Woodley, M. (2012). Is it smart to believe in god? The relationship of religiosity with education and intelligence. Temas em Psicologia, 20, 101–120.Google Scholar
- Mill, J. S. (1909). Autobiography. London: P. F. Collier and Son.Google Scholar
- Murashko, A. (2013). Air Force Republishes Chaplain’s ‘No Atheists in Foxholes’ Article to Base Website. Christian Post, http://www.christianpost.com/news/air-force-republishes-chaplains-no-atheists-in-foxholes-article-to-base-website-102226/.
- Newberg, A., D’Aquili, E., & Rause, V. (2002). Why god won’t go away: brain science and the biology of belief. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
- Rushton, J. P. (2000). Race, evolution and behavior: a life history perspective, 3rd special edition. Port Huron: Charles Darwin Institute.Google Scholar
- Russell, B. (1952). Is there a God? In: The collected papers of Bertrand Russell, Vol. 11: last philosophical testament, 1943–68. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Scruton, R. (2000). Modern culture. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
- Sedgwick, M. (2009). Against the modern world: traditionalism and the secret intellectual history of the twentieth century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Swenson, D. (2008). Religion and family links: Neofunctionalist reflections. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Symonds, J. (1902). Studies of the Greek poets. London: A. & C. Black.Google Scholar
- Szobot, C. M., Rohde, L. A., Bukstein, O., Molina, B. S. G., Martins, C., Ruaro, P., & Pechansky, F. (2007). Is attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder associated with illicit substance use disorders in male adolescents? A community-based case-control study. Addiction, 102, 1122–1130.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Turchin, P. (2007). War and peace and war: the rise and fall of empires. New York: Plume.Google Scholar
- Verhage, F. (1964). Intelligence and religious persuasion. Nederlands tijdschift voor de psychologie en haar grensgebieden, 19, 247–254.Google Scholar
- Watson, R. (1994). The rest is silence: death as annihilation in the English renaissance. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Whitmarsh, T. (2016). Battling the gods: atheism in the ancient world. London: Faber & Faber.Google Scholar
- Wilson, E. O. (1998). Consilience: the unity of knowledge. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
- Young, L. (Ed.). (2016). Rational choice theory and religion: a summary and assessment. London: Routledge.Google Scholar