Brainy people less likely to believe in God

June 12th, 2008 - 1:37 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 12 (ANI): Intellect can help you get better grades, a good job and even boost your attractiveness with the opposite sex, but it surely cannot make you a religious person, says a new study.

The study, led by Professor Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, suggests that people with higher IQs are less likely to believe in God.

He added that many more members of the “intellectual elite” considered themselves atheists than the national average.

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

Professor Lynn further said university academics were less likely to believe in God than almost anyone else.

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

Professor Lynn said though most primary school children believed in God, many started having doubts as they entered adolescence and their intelligence increased.

“Why should fewer academics believe in God than the general population? I believe it is simply a matter of the IQ. Academics have higher IQs than the general population. Several Gallup poll studies of the general population have shown that those with higher IQs tend not to believe in God, Times Online quoted Professor Lynn, as telling Times Higher Education magazine.

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

However, Professor Lynns claims have been branded “simplistic” by critics.

Professor Gordon Lynch, director of the Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society at Birkbeck College, London, said the study failed to take account of a complex range of social, economic and historical factors.

“Linking religious belief and intelligence in this way could reflect a dangerous trend, developing a simplistic characterisation of religion as primitive, which - while we are trying to deal with very complex issues of religious and cultural pluralism - is perhaps not the most helpful response,” he said.

The study is published in the journal Intelligence. (ANI)

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