Higher IQ linked with atheism, liberalism, and monogamy
I took a few days off in light of my recent birthday, and while I was away, I received a ton of email concerning a study done by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa that linked IQ with atheism, liberalism, and monogamy. I figured I should probably talk about it a bit.
Kanazawa believes the reason this is true is human beings are designed by natural selection to be more conservative (and therefore more religious) and care only for our kin. Intelligence itself was a fairly recent development meant to help us solve complex problems, but because the changes happen gradually over time, there were some who possessed more raw brain power than others, who tend to take on values such as liberalism, atheism, and monogamy (which actually might explain why religious folks have a higher divorce rate than atheists).
I read his book: “Why Beautiful People Leave More Daughters“, and although it was interesting and offered some pretty unique explanations to human behavior through the lens of evolutionary psychology, it’s important to note this is also the same man who believed that poor health was the result of lower IQ. This study was criticized for failing to take into account the fact people with lower IQs also tend to live in poorer neighborhoods, and their intelligence is more a sign of poor education rather than anything inherent about their brain power.
If you want to cling to the study to make yourself feel good, I’m not going to stop you. Intelligence is notoriously hard to measure, but as far as I’m concerned, the correlation is a lot simpler; atheists, agnostics and non-theists are more likely to have been exposed to a larger variety of ideas in the course of their lives (since they aren’t afraid to read religious and philosophical materials of other cultures), and that in itself may account for the difference in intelligence Kanazawa measured. Let’s not all pat ourselves on the backs just yet; one study doesn’t prove shit; besides, do you really need some excuse to feel smarter than your religious counterpart?