Are Atheists smarter than those who believe in God?

Of course, there are examples of highly intelligent people with strong religious beliefs. But various studies have shown that, in general, faith in God is associated with a low score in intelligence tests. "It is known that intelligence is inversely proportional to faith," emphasizes Richard Daws and Adam Hampshire of Imperial College London in a paper published in Frontiers in Psychology, in which he seeks to understand why.

It is a pressing question - the population with religious beliefs is rising: by 2050, if the current trend continues, people who claim they are not religious will represent only 13% of the world's population. Based on the link between low IQ and faith, we can argue that humanity is heading toward becoming collectively less intelligent.

To analyze this, Dawn and Hamposhire interviewed over 63,000 people online, asking them to complete within 30 minutes a set of 12 cognitive tasks designed to measure the ability of planning, reasoning, attention and memory For work. Participants also indicated whether they were religious, agnostic or atheist.

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As they anticipated, atheists had better performances than religious participants, even after analyzing demographic factors such as age and education. It has been noticed that the agnostics have generally been placed between the atheists and the believers. In fact, the intensity of religious beliefs correlated with low cognitive performance. However, while religious respondents have generally low performances in judging tasks, there have been very small differences in working memory.

Also, some of the reasoning tasks, such as the difficult version of the Stroop Test, known as "naming the color not the word," was designed to create a maximum conflict between an intuitive response and a logical response, and the greatest differences appeared to these tasks, in accordance with the idea that religious people rely more on their intuition. Conversely, for a task requiring complex reasoning - "deductive reasoning" - for which there were no obvious intuitive responses, there was no such great difference at group level.

Daws and Hampshire concluded, "These findings provide evidence to support the hypothesis that the effects of faith are more related to a conflict between reasoning and intuition, rather than the ability to reason or intelligence in general."

If, as this paper suggests, faith prefers people to rely more on intuition in decision-making - and how strong is their faith, the more emphasis the impact - how much does it affect their effectiveness in real life? There is currently no information on this. But in theory, cognitive training is likely to allow religious people to preserve their faith without relying excessively on intuition when it comes into conflict with logic in making current decisions.

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