Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Atheist Standards: If Universe Needs a Creator...?

If the universe needs a creator why doesn't God? The geniuses on carm became fascinated with that one the other day. They had a couple of threads goofing off with typical atheist misunderstanding saying things like "the universe needs a creator than God does too." When Chrsitians say God is necessary and the universe is contingent, they say "how do you know God is necessary?" When you say  "that's part of the definition of God," they say 'O you are defining God into existence." Of course that's stupid since it's not saying "God msut exist because I can write the term 'necessary' in the same sentence with the term 'God.'" It's saying saying I know God is necessary becuase that's what I believe in, when I say the term "G-O-D" I am saying "the necessary eternal aspect of being." Saying that is not what makes it real, it's what defines the reality I'm discussing. Knowing that is why the question about if the universe needs a cause why doesn't God is answered by saying God is necessary and the universe is contingent.

Here is the post I made to answer it with:

People are still making the mistake of asking "If the universe needs a cause why don't God need a cause?"

the simplest terms: the universe is the kind of thing that needs a cause and God is the final cause of all things so final cause can't need a cause becuase it is the cause of all causes. If the final cause had a cause it would not be the final cause. So if God had a cause he could not be God.

when we say God we are saying "that which does not need a cause."

why do I say the universe is the kind of thing that does need a cause?

(1) It is a connection of contingencies. The universe is not a single monolith it's a collection of things, all of them contingent.

(2)The universe is naturalistic, all naturalistic things seem to have cause based upon 100% observation (yes even of QM particles--they are coming out other QM particles).

(3) It's temporal. it has a beginning. It starts to exist that means there's a "time" or a four coordinate "beyond" even horizon (big bang) at which there is no universe. Not so with God. God is eternal must always be.

this mistake is getting at the basis of the whole fundamentalist concept of God (which the atheist pattern their straw God after) that is as the big man in the sky.

(4) God is being itself, not a big man so as the ground of being God can't have a cause since that cause would have to be part of being and thus would need grounding in the ground of being of which it creates. That makes no sense. that's saying the effect would be responsible for the cause.

Thus is seems only logical to assume that God doesn't need a cause but the universe does. four reasons.

 So let the fun begin. One guy "America" kept saying "you didn't give any reasons." As you can see I gave four reasons. Then after pointing that out about 10 times he kept saying "you have no supporting material." In the course in quote from Hawking, Paul Davies (a major physicist) John Polkinghorne (another major physicist) Sten Odenwald, (a NASA astronomer) (not major but highly  qualified as an expert on cosmology).  I had no supported material? Typical clowns of the message boards. Let's look at a couple of the better attempts:

HillyBilly (dig that screen name)

 One of the most prominent living Christian philosophers of religion isn't a member of the set "the whole Christian tradition"?
 By that me means Richard Swinburne who argued against scholastic based concepts of necessity. I said


 I've heard that lecture I was not impressed. Now dont' get me wrong, gobs of respect for Swinburne but not in that issue. I thought he totally dodged what the real issue was about and basically made little sense.

Certainly Swinburne will never say God needed a creator. that not in any way what he was saying.

 He actually tried to argue that Swinburne said God needs a creator. Of cousre he never said that. I heard the lecture where he argued against necessity and he's using that in a specific specialized context and he certainly never said God needs a creator. Anyone saying that would be blaspheming becuase that would mean God is not God there's a higher God than God. I quoted a book reviewer who explains that he did not mean that.

 Originally Posted by HillyBilly View Post
He said God is not in any way necessary. That means he things God is either contingent or impossible. Since he's one of the most prominent Christian philosophers, we can eliminate 'impossible'. So, one of the most prominent Christian philosophers says God is contingent. So, yeah, you're wrong about "the whole of the Christian tradition" agreeing with you.
(1) I said at the time I heard it he was wrong.

(2) he did not say God needs a cause

(3) I doubt seriously that he would say God is contingent. I you and note atheist just more of what he was saying and not seek to understand the sense in which he spoke.

anyone stating that God needs a cause would be dumped out of a Christian university if he had a theoretical teaching position.

that would be the same as saying that there is a higher God than God. no Christian can say that.

a book reviewer explains your mistake. Swinburne doesn't mean that in the sense of God being created or needing a creator.

"1) There are many coherent ways to envision the future as possible knowledge; 2) A timeless view of God would definitely entail foreknowledge, because all time would be equally present to such a deity. Second, Swinburne’s view of God differs in that he believes God’s existence is contingent, not necessary (he does believe that God is necessary in the sense that his existence does not cease–the necessity/contingence is the difference between modern and Aristotelian contingency–thanks to Tim McGrew and Chris Reese for pointing this out). Again, I disagree, but I find Swinburne’s view coherent."
 Hilly dodged the issue by just asking "If he's not necessary and not impossible what's left" [but contingent]? As though I had not quoted anything. He also continued this line in a couple of more posts without ever acknowledging my quote. This leads me to believe that he didn't read the quote.

 Now we went in a different direction arguing about the contingency of the universe. God is necessary but the universe is contingent, so the universe needs a cause and God does not.

Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post

then how would it make the universe necessary if necessary means don't need cause?
 Since the universe needs a cause, which is easy to establish (no something from nothing).
But "necessary" does not mean "doesn't need cause". Assume a necessary being B, which necessarily causes the effect E. E is as necessary as B (that's why the concept of "necessary being" is highly dubious), but needed B as a cause.

OTOH, a brute fact is neither necessary nor caused.

 The reason he says this is becuase he only recognizes "necessary" in the sense of logical necessity, truth by definition (all husbands are married men).  That's just a matter of philosophical ignorance. The notion of a causal form of necessity has long been established and it's used in that context a quite commonly. That's especially true in the cosmological arguemnt. It's seen in John Hick's The Many Faced Argument. I have numerous disputes with HRG where he just referees to recognize that. He was making that same mistake when he first came on CARM 10 years ago and he's still making it after being proved to several thousand times.

 That's another thing they they've started doing. When you disprove one of their stupid ideas, they come back and "you are corrected on this before," ignoring your answer. I think the thing is they really don't read answers. New atheism is based upon ignorance and it thrives by a quasi brain wash technqiue that includes not ever considering the ideas of the other side in any light by that of mocking and ridicule.

 The rest of it is pretty  much the same all the way down.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Athesits Grammar Scam and The Illusion of Technique

Most people don't know what grammar is. Grammar is sentence structure. My grammar is no great shakes but it's not bad. It's as good as any average college student's grammar. The problem is people think other things that are not grammatical are part of grammar. People think punctuation is grammar, they think spelling is grammar, they think capitailzation is grammar. None of those are grammar. I've ran into a site, while not overtly atheist it seems to be ran by atheists and they use a new scam I've never seen before to ensure that no Christain apologist get's by their checkers.

They have a bad grammar catcher. You can't post without correcting the faults. It wont post it. So none of the posts that make it on there should be ungrammatical because they all pass the checker after you correct them. Then after beating some of their really stupid people in arguments, they ban me becuase of my "horrible grammar that is destroying the English language." Most of the problems it caught on  my posts (99%) were failure to capitalize the first word of a sentence. That's just laziness, not poor grammar. First of all, I know better I just get lazy from so much posting. Secondly,capitalization is not part of grammar.

web defintion of grammar:
noun: grammar
  1. 1.
    the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general, usually taken as consisting of syntax and morphology (including inflections) and sometimes also phonology and semantics.
    synonyms:syntax, sentence structure, rules of language, morphology; More
    "the editors of this newspaper need a refresher course in grammar"
    • a particular analysis of the system and structure of language or of a specific language.
    • a book on grammar.
      plural noun: grammars
      "my old Latin grammar"
    • a set of actual or presumed prescriptive notions about correct use of a language.
      "it was not bad grammar, just dialect"
    • the basic elements of an area of knowledge or skill.
      "the grammar of wine"
    • Computing
      a set of rules governing what strings are valid or allowable in a language or text.
Free Dicitonary (Farlex)
gram·mar  (grmr)
a. The study of how words and their component parts combine to form sentences.
b. The study of structural relationships in language or in a language, sometimes including pronunciation, meaning, and linguistic history.
a. The system of inflections, syntax, and word formation of a language.
b. The system of rules implicit in a language, viewed as a mechanism for generating all sentences possible in that language.
a. A normative or prescriptive set of rules setting forth the current standard of usage for pedagogical or reference purposes.
b. Writing or speech judged with regard to such a set of rules.
4. A book containing the morphologic, syntactic, and semantic rules for a specific language.
a. The basic principles of an area of knowledge: the grammar of music.
b. A book dealing with such principles.

Some of the posts on those boards (Philosophy forums, and  Philosophy of religion section) were quite stupid. The main sections that cover philosophy were really good (and very technical) but in the philosophy of rleigion section some of them were extremely stupid. One such example is several people who kept insisting that God need not be necessary even in Christian theology. That is just a matter of sheer ignorance.

Usually we refer to God as either necessary or impossible. My question is this: Could a created god be otherwise perfect and necessarily contingent? Suppose existential laws emerged from total chaos along with miscellaneous noise. These random laws allowed the creation of an intelligent designer or an intelligent designing universe that was responsible for the emergence of order and complexity, Now I don't really believe this happened but I'm asking it as a philosophical question. Is there any reason why this is impossible?
My answer after a few go rounds:

FrankLeeSeaux wrote:

So, you are defining God as necessary? Despite the fact that most if not all scientific evidence is to the contrary?

There is no scientific evidence about God. God is not given in sense data. So God can't be the study of scientific scrutiny. Whatever sense of scientific understanding you are dealing with it's not necessary in the same sense. All scientific data that reflects upon the existence of God is indirect.

For instance, within the Big Bang model of the universe God is entirely unnecessary to "ignite the fuse" that gets the whole thing started(so to speak).
No, there is no such evidence. That is totally just BS. It's Hawking's wisful thinking. No evidence for that.

Nor is God necessary, within that model, to intervene in any way to keeps things on track, as it were(assuming a track/plan/purpose exists in the first place). God is equally unnecessary in Evolution, as well as the Abiogenesis hypothesis.


Yes he is. first of all you are misusing the term necessity. It doesn't mean "this can't exist without God." In the context of discussion of god's own necessity it refers to the ontological nature of God as creator. That doesn't preclude the existence of any particular aspect of creation as a result of the evolutionary process. The process itself would not exist without the creator beginning it into being.

My point is that the term necessity does not refer to the existence of things in the universe but to God's relation to begin. Setting off expansion might be something God did but it's not proved that it could happen by itself.

There is no proof of something form nothing. There is no proof of something form nothing. Even so it's missing the point about God's relationship to the whole. God is not just related at one point, but at every point.


In fact, I'm hard pressed to find any circumstance under which God is necessary.
[Because he's not contingent, that's the circumstance because that's what the word means in the context of speaking about God's modal status]

That is merely wishful thinking. There is no evidence of any kind that something comes from nothing. So the basic concept of being itself is entirely dependent upon god, becuase God is being itself.

God is also distinctly unnecessary in the anthropic principle(a major theistic arguing point for the likely existence of a God. So, God isn't even necessary in the "best" arguments for God. Which would tend to disprove your selected definition.

You have no evidence that proves that. Where are you going to get evidence form a universe known to be Godless? How are you going to compare evidence? That is nothing more than the mistake of the design argument in reverse. You are assuming that you can compare universes when you no access to evidence from any other universe; even if you did you wouldn't know factually that is a universe without God. You don't have any factual way of getting evidence from a universe with God. So you have no basis for comparison.

You, on the other hand, are attempting to rationalize all the evidence away, so as to allow for your preconceived notion. Your arguments and beliefs are not beyond reason... They are contrary to facts, evidence, reason, and logic.

You are attempting to take over ontology by bullying your way in using the mystique of science as a club to beat the enemy over the head with. This is the offensive version of the fortress of facts. The atheist ides behind his house of cards telling himself it's a fortress of facts. Now you are trying to take the offensive, using it as a club.
End example

It was after that post that they banned me saying "you are destroying the English language." I had to correct problems to get by the grammar catcher so there's not much of  chance of doing any damage to the langue. Most of the corrections were about capital letters. I never saw one that said "syntax is wrong" or "you have your predicate in the place for the modifier" or anything like that. I don't never use no double negatives.

Now this site is not overtly atheist. It's billed as philosophy and I don't know the views of those who run it. It clearly is some kind of skeptical Christian hating site. Atheists are doing the grammar scam all the time just like they are with the grammar scam and the spelling. They harp on both and seldom know what they are. This usually comes after it's clear they can't answer my arguments.

In Keeping with the Illusion of Technique from matters more than content. It doesn't make any difference what your rationale is, so long as the form is suitable and the conclusion is acceptable to prevailing ideology.  This is the state of our society. We are not rational humans we are rationalizing cogs in machine.

Here are the threads where I creamed them:
is contingent God possible?

Can a God Given morality be absolute

Can Science tell us anything about God?  7-9

Friday, August 23, 2013

Orwell's Warning about Scientific Autocracy

Someone sent me a link to this blog (life in B flat-- with an article about how George Orwell also warned of the autocratic potential of scinece "George Orwell: "... the scientists themselves would benefit by a little education." Darwin agrees."

Most people know that George Orwell wrote about the dangers of authoritarian government in his novels 1984 and Animal Farm. What is less well known is that Orwell also wrote about the danger of the authoriarian potential of science. In his essay What is Science? Orwell argued that society confuses science, the "method of thought which obtains verifiable results by reasoning logically from observed fact", with narrow areas of knowledge such as chemistry and physics. Because of this confusion, society mistakenly attributes broad authority to scientists when their specialization actually makes them narrow minded and so unqualified to exercise broad authority.

Orwell wrote that scientists encourage this confusion in order to protect their own prestige and power. I think Orwell is right about this. I have written that scientists protect their power in various ways, such as suppressing information about ESP and the afterlife, conspiring to establish philosophical naturalism as a fundamental tenet of mainstream science, and initially ridiculing discoveries that were later admitted to be important. Because of all these actions, scientists have lost credibility with the public. People are more likely to believe in ESP if they are told it has been disproven by science. All of this supports Orwell's contention that scientists should not be given broad authority, which I also agree with. I have written that the public should demand government fund parapsychological research even though mainstream scientists are against it.
This kind of observation, seen as "attack on science," by hard core Dawkamentalists, is being made more and more in the last half of the twentieth century and has not ceased. The blog article makes the point that Orwell thought scientists are to ghettoized into their own areas of expertise and don't have a broad enough outlook or education. That's no doubt true and may be why they reduce all forms of knowledge to just their specialty.

The blog quotes a long section from Orwell's work "What is Science?" This is linked to a site called Geore Orwell Written for the Tribune, 1945. Another thinker who echos the same concerns is C. Write Mills, who invented the terms "white collar" and "power elite," and "military industrial complex." Mills taught at Columbia University from 1946 to 1962. He was very popular and well published in both academic and popular press. He thought that science used it's "objectivity" as mask to high behind, so that self interest posed as objectivity and indifference to the plight of the suffering posed as "being scientific." Two of his major works were The Power Elite, and The Sociological Imagination. That latter is on my list of all time favorite books. Both Orwell and Mills are favorites of mine.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zuckerman IQ study part 2: The Case Agaisnt IQ

 photo 350px-IQ_curve_zps385a1634.png

 In part 1, I dealt with problems and concerned raised by the study itself and the data it used. In this section I will present ideas that counter the overall conclusions atheist draw from the study, namely that atheism must be true because it's believed by more intelligent people. The first argument that I present is about the lack of longitudinal data.

The researchers of IQ are measuring either per-college or college students. Not too many of these studies measure IQ's of middle aged adults. They are getting them at a time in their lives when they are either beginning to want to leave home or when they have left home for the first time. Francis says the shock of the "atheist professor" is not as great as it used to be:

The long discussed shock of freshmen encountering Atheistic professors at college and the transition problems from childhood beliefs to intellectually defensible beliefs have been reduced in recent years. Today the shock comes earlier and with less force than in decades past.".[1]
Nevertheless, they are still free from the parents for the first time. They are striking out in independence for the first time. Now its time to rebel and experiment and throw off the chains of parental oppression. Few if any of these studies follow them through life to determine if they became believers latter in life. This is a real possibility that they will. Studies show that people become more religious as they age. McCullough et al found that "results were consistent with the rational choice theory of religious involvement."[2] The Zuckerman study found that the negative correlation was stronger in collage age than before college.[3] So this is a good indication that perhaps its the college years when people experiment and the more intelligent are more likely to reject for a time what their parents taught them then they will come back to it latter in life when they are  more mature. The Atheist IQ studies, which are not so much done by atheists per se as used by them, are not good predictors of what intelligent people really think. They really only predict the extremes that intelligent people go to during extreme parts of their lives.

There is dissatisfaction with the conventional IQ test as a measure of intelligence.For example "Richard Nisbest psychologist from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, difference in IQ scores largely disappear when researchers control for social and economic factors."[4] David Shenk argues that the standard Stanford-Binet test only measures a variety of skills and thus is an indicator of academic progress. They are designed statistically to keep in same place in the pack but they are not indicators of intelligence.

But did this stability prove that the tests revealed innate intelligence?

Far from it. The reality is that students performing at the top of the class in 4th grade tend to be the same students performing at the top of the class in 12th grade, due to many factors that tend to remain stable in students' lives: family, lifestyle, resources, etc. 

Being branded with a low IQ at a young age, in other words, is like being born poor. Due to family circumstances and the mechanisms of society, most people born poor will remain poor throughout their lives. But that doesn't mean anyone is *innately* poor or destined to be poor; there is always potential for any poor person to become rich. 

The happy reality is that IQ scores:
A) measure developed skills, not native intelligence.
B) can change dramatically.
C) don't say anything about a person's intellectual limits. [5]

A big myth about IQ is that the scores can't change over time. IQ scores do change over time. IQ scores "can change quite dramatically as a result of changes in family environment (Clarke, 1976; Svendsen, 1982), work environment (Kohn and Schooler, 1978), historical environment (Flynn, 1987), styles of parenting (Baumrind, 1967; Dornbusch, 1987), and, most especially, shifts in level of schooling," according to Cornell University's Stephen Ceci. [6] IQ scores do not imply a fixed or inate intelligence, Shenk quotes Ceci, "There is plenty of evidence, for example, that schooling raises overall academic intelligence." [7] Shenk goes on to ask:

Don't genes limit our intelligence? Isn't intelligence "heritable?" his answer is:

No, and no. Very sloppy science and journalism has led us to believe that what scientists call "heritability" (derived from twin studies) is the same thing as what we  ordinary folk call "heredity." In fact, they are not even remotely the same thing. Genes certainly do have an impact on intelligence, and everyone has their own theoretical limits, but every indication is that most of us don't come close to our true intellectual potential.[8]
He links to another article, by himself, "The Genius in All of us."

Nesbsit sums up his study of the latest findings:

We review new findings and new theoretical developments
in the field of intelligence. New findings include the follow-
ing: (a) Heritability of IQ varies significantly by social
class. (b) Almost no genetic polymorphisms have been
discovered that are consistently associated with variation
in IQ in the normal range. (c) Much has been learned
about the biological underpinnings of intelligence. (d)
“Crystallized” and “fluid” IQ are quite different aspects of
intelligence at both the behavioral and biological levels.
(e) The importance of the environment for IQ is established
by the 12-point to 18-point increase in IQ when children
are adopted from working-class to middle-class homes. (f)
Even when improvements in IQ produced by the most
effective early childhood interventions fail to persist, there
can be very marked effects on academic achievement and
life outcomes. (g) In most developed countries studied,
gains on IQ tests have continued, and they are beginning in
the developing world. (h) Sex differences in aspects of
intelligence are due partly to identifiable biological factors
and partly to socialization factors. (i) The IQ gap between
Blacks and Whites has been reduced by 0.33 SD in recent
years. We report theorizing concerning (a) the relationship
between working memory and intelligence, (b) the appar-
ent contradiction between strong heritability effects on IQ
and strong secular effects on IQ, (c) whether a general
intelligence factor could arise from initially largely inde-
pendent cognitive skills, (d) the relation between self-reg-
ulation and cognitive skills, and (e) the effects of stress on
intelligence [9]

One of the major disproofs of the validity of IQ tests is a phenomenon known as the "Flynn effect." This is a disproof becuase it indicates that IQ not fixed, it rises with time and that what is being measured is actually not intelligence but cultural literacy.

Multiple studies have documented significant IQ gains over time, a phenomenon labeled the Flynn effect. Data from 20 industrialized nations show massive IQ gains over time, most notably in culturally reduced tests like the Raven's Progressive Matrices. To our knowledge, however, this is the first study to document the Flynn effect in a rural area of a developing country. Data for this project were collected during two large studies in Embu, Kenya, in 1984 and 1998. Results strongly support a Flynn effect over this 14-year period, with the most significant gains found in Raven's matrices. Previously hypothesized explanations (e.g., improved nutrition; increased environmental complexity; and family, parental, school, and methodological factors) for the Flynn effect are evaluated for their relevance in this community, and other potential factors are reviewed. The hypotheses that resonate best with our findings are those related to parents' literacy, family structure, and children's nutrition and health.[10]
Flynn argues that our ancestors were not dumber. He rules out better nutrition or knowing the tests better. The bias of the test is such that a kind of technological imperialism is imposed upon the masses.

Flynn cites a hypothetical, but typical, test question: “How are rabbits and dogs alike?” Answers such as “both destroy gardens,” “both are dinner in some countries and pets in others,” or “you can use dogs to hunt rabbits” are true, but the response the IQ testers want is “both are mammals.” The question tests not knowledge of the world or of functional relationships but mastery of particular abstract concepts, which the test makers have themselves internalized as trained scientific professionals and literate intellectuals.[11]

The tests reward problem solving that reflects a bias toward the technological sort of thinking.
IQ tests also reward certain problem- solving abilities—what Flynn calls “problems not solvable by mechanical application of a learned method.” He cites tests of similarities and analogies, and pattern-completion tests, such as Raven’s Progressive Matrices. In the latter, each question is a series of line drawings followed by a collection of drawings from which the test taker must pick the one that completes the sequence. When J. C. Raven developed the test in 1936, he claimed it measured the ability to discover patterns, which was for him the essence of intelligence. Raven’s test is often said (without good evidence) to suffer little or no cultural bias. Yet it is on tests of this type that the Flynn effect is strongest; gains in IQ scores of at least 5 points per decade have been seen. In the Netherlands, for decades all 18-year-old males drafted into the military were given the test, and those who took it in 1982 scored 20 points higher than those who had taken it in 1952.[12]
Some have asked "if IQ tests are not predicting intelligence, or at least not fixed, unalterably, heritable standard of intelligence, what do they predict?" The Flynn effect give us one answer, cultural literacy. Another answer is academic motivation. That is not necessarily a marker for intelligence, since a bright student can be turned off from the process of learning or trying. Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and her team, conducted two studies; they did a meta analysis of 46 previous studies, the effect of monetary incentive's on IQ scores."...the effect of financial rewards on IQ scores increased dramatically the higher the reward: Thus rewards higher than $10 produced g values of more than 1.6 (roughly equivalent to more than 20 IQ points), whereas rewards of less than $1 were only one-tenth as effective."[13]

Duckworth's second study involved data from an earlier study, following 500 boys age 12, tested in the late 80s, they were video tapes and signs of boredom and lack of motivation were observed. The study was longitudinal, following the boys into early adulthood. There were no difference in IQ or other factors bewteen the boys.

Duckworth's team analyzed the results of these earlier studies to see what they said about the relationship between motivation, IQ scores, and life success. By constructing a series of computer models of the data, the team found that higher motivation accounted for a significant amount of the differences in IQ scores and also in how well IQ predicted later success in life. For example, differences in motivation levels accounted for up to 84% of the differences between the boys in how many years of school they had completed or whether they had been able to find a job. On the other hand, motivation differences accounted for about only 25% of the differences in how well they had done in school as teenagers. According to the researchers, that suggests that native intelligence does still play an important role in both IQ scores and academic achievement.
Nevertheless, the Duckworth team concludes that IQ tests are measuring much more than just raw intelligence--they also measure how badly subjects want to succeed both on the test and later in life. Yet Duckworth and her colleagues caution that motivation isn't everything: The lower role for motivation in academic achievement, they write, suggests that "earning a high IQ score requires high intelligence in addition to high motivation."[14]

This finding of course raises the question does this mean that those with high intelligence will score low on the test if they are not motivated? That test scores fluctuate at different times in your life would seem to be proof that IQ doesn't measure a fixed unalterable course. Take a book reviewed by NYT book review in 1998, published by Brookings Institue, the work shows that test scores between black and white narrow only a bit since 1970 but "the typical American black still scores below 75 percent of American whites on most standardized tests. On some tests the typical American black scores below more than 85 percent of whites?" Yet no genetic aspect has ever been discovered that would indicate that blacks are any less intelligent than whites. As a matter of fact when black children are raised in white homes their per-adolescent test scores rise dramatically (that also goes for mixed race children). Black adoptee test scores fall in adolescents. [15] I would actually predict that, since at that time the difference in racial make up of the family becomes more acute (I base that upon the experience of relatives). That could be a motivational issue. Moreover, the findings reported above by Nisbet shows the IQ gap bewteen blacks and whites has narrowed a lot more since 98. 

 --Even nonverbal IQ scores are sensitive to environmental change. Scores on nonverbal IQ tests have risen dramatically throughout the world since the 1930s. The average white scored higher on the Stanford-Binet in 1978 than 82 percent of whites who took the test in 1932. Such findings reinforce the implications of adoption studies: large environmental changes can have a large impact on test performance.
    --Black-white differences in academic achievement have also narrowed throughout the twentieth century. The best trend data come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which has been testing seventeen-year-olds since 1971 and has repeated many of the same items year after year. Figure 1-2 shows that the black-white reading gap narrowed from 1.25 standard deviations in 1971 to 0.69 standard deviations in 1996. The math gap fell from 1.33 to 0.89 standard deviations. When Min-Hsiung Huang and Robert Hauser analyzed vocabulary scores for adults born between 1909 and 1969, the black-white gap also narrowed by half.[16]

Some scientists attribute the difference in IQ between men and women to motivation. Males surpass females by average of 3.6 IQ pionts, but more males decide to go to college than females. William and Mary psychologist Bruce Bracken thinks this is a good argument for linking motivation to the test score. [17]

The question is if IQ is really measuring motivation, what are atheists motivated toward? Why would those who don't believe in God have a greater motivation than those who do? Let's not forget the idea that  IQ tests are also measuring sort of "cultural literacy,"  or we might call it "indoctrination." People who score higher on IQ tests are those who have more successfully indoctrinated into the ideology of scientism, since that seems to be the dominate force in the culture. That tallies with findings I've discussed on AW  [18]about atheists low self esteem. Leslie Francis produced the correlation between rejection religion in youth and low self esteem. There is a voluminous data consisting of many studies already on the issue of negative God image and the relation it bears to self esteem. It seems that negative self esteem is connected to negative God image.[19]

Persons with high levels of self esteem may find it difficult to share the same religious belief. A theology predicated upon a loving accepting God is cognitively compatible with high self esteem, but it could be a source of discomfort for a believer low in self esteem. It does not make good cognitive sense to be loved when one is unlovable. Consequently the latter person can march to a different theology, one that is more consistent with his self image. (Benson and Spilka 209-210).[20]

If we put together the two explainations, cultural indoctrination into an ideology of technique (scientism), with the idea that IQ represents motivation, what are the atheist's motivated to do but to excel at the culturally prescribed ideology as a means of bolstering self esteem? Since they reject God based upon self esteem, they connected the bolster (scoring well on tests as a mark mastery over the culturally prescribed ideology) as an alternative to belief. Thus they are initially spurred by aversion to belief based upon low self esteem (if you don't like yourself why would you like the one who created you to be the way you are?) the means of bolstering self esteem is to replace the creator with a process of accident then mastering the understanding of that process to show one's worth. If religious are more inclined to accept personal experience of life as a clue to ultimate reality and the meaning of their lives then they are not as motivated to excel in mastery of an ideology, or at least not that ideology, but to seek more truth on a personal level that can't be subjected to such tests.


[1] Francis, L. J. . "The relationship between intelligence and religiosity among 15-16 year olds."
 Mental Health, Religion and Culture (1998) 1,185-196. doi:10.1080/13674679808406508, 188,

[2] Michel E. Mcullough, Craig K. Enders, Sharon Brion, Andrea R. Jain, "the varieties of religious development in adult hood: A longitudinal investigation of religion and rational choice."
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  the American Psychological Association
(2005, Vol. 89, No. 1, ) 78–8, 78.

[3] Zuckerman, et al, Op. Cit. (see part 1) from the study Abstract, 1.

[4] Michael Balter, "What Does IQ Really Measure?" Science Now, (4/25/11)
accessed 8/16/13

[5] David Shenk, "the truth about IQ," The Atlantic, (July 28, 2009),
accessed 8/16/09
David Shenk is the author of six books, including Data Smog ("indispensable"—The New York Times), The Immortal Game ("superb"—The Wall Street Journal), and the bestselling The Forgetting ("a remarkable addition to the literature of the science of the mind."—The Los Angeles Times ). He has contributed to National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, Gourmet, Harper's, The New Yorker, The American Scholar, and National Public Radio. Shenk's work inspired the Emmy-award winning PBS documentary The Forgetting and was featured in the Oscar-nominated feature Away From Her. His latest book, The Genius In All Of Us, was published in March 2010. Shenk has advised the President's Council on Bioethics

[6]  Steven Ceci,S. J., On Intelligence: A bio-ecological treatise on intellectual development. 2nd ed., Harvard University Press. 1996. quoted in Shenk, Op. Cit.

[7] Ibid.


[9] Richard E. Nisbett,Joshua Aronson and Clancy Blair, et al  "Intelligence, New Findings and Theoretical Developments." American Psychologist, The American Psychological Association, vol. 66, no. 2 (February March 2012), 130-159, 130.
accessed 8/16/13. Nisbet is University of Michigan, Aronson and Blair are New York Univ.
other authors include, William Dickens ofNortheastern University, James Flynn University of Otago, Diane F. HalpernClaremont McKenna College,Eric Turkheimer
University of Virginia

[10] Tamra C. Daley,et al "IQ on the Rise, the Flynn effect Rural Kenyon Children." Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science. vol. 14, no. 3, (May, 2003) 215-219.on line version accessed 8/16/13

co authors include: Shannon E. Whaley2,Marian D. Sigman1,2,Michael P. Espinosa2 andCharlotte Neumann3

[11] Cosma Shalizi, "The Domestication of the Savage Mind," Book Rview of What is Intelligence, Beyond the Flynn Effect, by James Flynn,  in American Scientist, Vol. 97, no. 3 (May-June, 2009) 244.
on line version:
 accessed 8/16/13.
Cosma Shalizi is an assistant professor in the statistics department at Carnegie Mellon University and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He is writing a book on the statistical analysis of complex systems models. His blog, Three-Toed Sloth, can be found at

[12] Ibid.

[13] Angela Duckwork in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, quoted by Balter op.cit.

[14] Ibid.

[15] New York Times book review, The Black and White Test score Gap, edited by Christopher Jenks and Meredith Philips. Washington DC: Bookings Institution Press. 1998. New York Times online
accessed 8/17/13.
[16] Ibid.

[17] Jeanna Bryner,"Men Smarter than Women Scientists Claim," Live Science, sept 8, 2006. On line resource or blog:
accessed 8/17/13

 [18] Metacrock, "Rejection of Christainty and Self Esteem," Review of a Study by Leslie J. Francis, et al." Atheist Watch, blog Oct, 25, 2010. accessed 8/15/13.

 [19] Leslie J. Francis, in  Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Leiden, Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV, Ralph L. Piedmont, ed.,Volume 16, 2005, 2006, 108.

 [20] Benson, P., & Spilka, B. (1973).  quoted by Leslie J. Francis, in   Ralph L. Piedmont, op.cit.
Francis attributes the quote to pages 209-210. Benson and Spilka study original source is:
God image as a function of self-esteem and locus of control.,Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Reaction to IQ study

Here's a curious thing: the IQ by Miron Zuckerman that I put up yesterday (part 2 is coming tomorrow) has really stoked atheists. Blog Called RT: Question More, August 13, in their article "Atheists smarter than religious believers--study" says "Religious people are likely to be less intelligent than their atheist counterparts, a study claims. The analysis, which looked at almost a century of data, found a negative correlation between high IQs and religiosity." It doesn't actually say that. It says there's a stronger correlation between being non religious and scoring higher on an IQ test. Of the three explainations it gives none of them say "religious people are stupid."

Many of the comments are fair,. some funny: "

B 15.08.2013 06:35

"No, it's that those into religion don't have the time to study as much as atheists. There is NO inherent greater intelligence to atheists this is just propaganda."

they don't have time? what would religious people have any less time than anyone else? I guess doubt isn't time consuming.

Padraig MacGairbhigh 18.08.2013 23:35

I believe it could be that these people have been over exposed to less mature expressions of religious faith.
Check out James Fowler's work on Faith Development.
That's good that he's capable of distinguishing between types of religious thinking. I must check out Fowler.

$t0pC3n$0r3$h1p 17.08.2013 02:26

didn't really need a study for something so ridiculously obvious :/
 What is obvious? That there's a correlation between unbelief and IQ scores? how would you know that without a study? I think IQ scores have to be researched. That religious people are stupid? that's not the finding. That atheists are smarter? That's not the finding.

Benjamin Gagnon 16.08.2013 14:33

I would have thought that agnostics would be the smartest of all if this study has any merit whatsoever. They are the only ones who can admit they don't know. Atheists are just as intolerant as believers most of the time.
 everyone knows.

sarah carswell 14.08.2013 20:40

Are Athiests so arrogant that they can start publishing bogus studies like this and think that anyone would actually take this seriously? The misreprentations are not "stumbling blocks", they actually nullify the entire research. Disappointed to see this garbage on RT.

 It's not a bogus study and the people who did it are not amateurs. The misrepresentations? what? It's not garbage it's a good study, the findings of which I dispute. People are so ready to make brash statements. Unfortunately here it's not the atheists making them.

An article in National Review, Jason Richwine

 The authors conducted a “meta-analysis” (essentially a combination of lots of past studies) to show that there is a moderately negative correlation (r = -0.24) between religious belief and IQ among individuals. In other words, the smarter a person is, the less likely he is to have a strong religious faith.
The study itself is careful and dispassionate, but the reaction from the atheist corner of the Internet has been predictable: If smarter people tend to be atheists, then atheism is probably “correct,” right? No. Read the full study, which discusses several competing theories for why the negative correlation exists. Let me give my own two cents as to why correlating various beliefs with IQ cannot tell us whether those beliefs are true.
 As long as smarter people are more likely to even question traditions such as religious belief, then full-blown rejection of religion will almost inevitably be correlated with higher IQ, even if a majority of smart people still affirm religious belief.
 Tomorrow in part 2 I think I do a bang up job of showing why IQ tests don't measure intelligence and what they do measure in relation to atheists.

The Independent: "Religious People are less Intelligent..."
 Rob Williams, 12 August, 2013.

 The Independent says "A new review of 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades has concluded that religious people are less intelligent than non-believers."
According to the study entitled, 'The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations', published in the 'Personality and Social Psychology Review', even during early years the more intelligent a child is the more likely it would be to turn away from religion.
In old age above average intelligence people are less likely to believe, the researchers also found.
 None of those are true statements. No finding of the study said religious people are less intelligent. Nothing in the study talks about turning away from religion. Nothing defines "turning away." Those who are not religious are not defined as "turning away" but not believing. They could all go to chruch and not believe. A sharp distinction is made between chruch going and believing. The study does not conclude that older unbeliever are more likely to stay unbelievers. Counter studies how people grow more religious as the get older. That is still true. This statement: "even during early years the more intelligent a child is the more likely it would be to turn away from religion," Williams calls "proposed explanation," but the same as what he calls findings.

There's a lot of confusion being generated. Most people are just not careful readers. Turn in tomorrow and check out part 2 of my critique.

Monday, August 19, 2013

New Zuckerman IQ Study: Are Atheist Smarter?

 photo iq-bell-curve_zps96c4c392.png

A new major study on IQ and religious belief has been released, it's already caught the buzz in atheist circles. It's got a sophisticated and scientific approach to statistical methods, although that doesn't mean it is free of biases. The study, done by Miron Zuckerman and Jordon Silberman of the University of Rochester NY and Judith A. Hall, Northeaster University, Boston. The Study is major since it combined a statistical meta-analysis of a larger number of studies, the largest ever done before; its findings are overwhelmingly in favor of atheism. They used 63 studies showing a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity."[1] (the study has been removed from the scribd source linked to)
The study for all its statistical sophistication, is beset by some basic flaws that are more or less part of the package of buying into the atheist dogma about intelligence.

Before really getting into I want to point out what atheist will do with this on the popular level. We already see it on U.S. Message board  where they are saying the study finds "Religious people are less intelligent than atheists." The study never says that. It says there's a stronger correlation between higher IQ and unbelief than between higher IQ and belief. It doesn't say why, correlation is not cause. Let's let assert that this "says" what they  want it  to say.

The 63 studies used range from 1928 to 2012. "The authors look at each study’s sample size, quality of data collection, and analysis methods and then account for biases that may have inadvertently crept into the work. This data is next refracted through the prism of statistical theory to draw an overarching conclusion of what scholars in this field find." [2] The major findings are sumarized by Rathi, "Out of 63 studies, 53 showed a negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity, while 10 showed a positive one. Significant negative correlations were seen in 35 studies, whereas only two studies showed significant positive correlations." As the abstract of the study puts it,  "The association was stronger for college students and the general population than for participants younger than college age; it was also stronger for religious beliefs than religious behavior."[4] "Stronger for beliefs than behavior," In other words the relationship between being smart and being unbelieving holds more in terms of the beliefs themselves than for just going to chruch. I would also make that assumption. People might feel expected to go to church without believing the ideas.

  photo mironzuckerman_zpsb75a7211.png
Miron Zuckerman

Before analyzing the findings there are problems with the assumptions that must be understood. The study defines intelligence as "ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly,comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience.”[5] There are other forms of intelligence but we can bracket that for the moment. No real problem there. There is a problem with the way they use religiosity:

Religiosity can be defined as the degree of involvement in some or all facets of religion. According to Atran and Norenzayan (2004), such facets include beliefs in supernatural agents, costly commitment to these agents (e.g., offeringof property), using beliefs in those agents to lower existential anxieties such as anxiety over death, and communal rituals that validate and affirm religious beliefs. Of course, some individuals may express commitment or participate in communal rituals for reasons other than religious beliefs. This issue was put into sharp relief by Allport and Ross (1967),who drew a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientations. Intrinsic orientation is the practice of religion for its own sake; extrinsic religion is the use of religion as a means to secular ends. This distinction will be referred to in later section.[6]
We start to see some problems of bias here. The concept of "belief in supernatural agent." This would no doubt be the hi-jack version of supernatural, not mystical experience, which is the original meaning of the term.[7] Not only would they ignore the mystic but also, depending upon how closly they define "using beliefs in those agents to lower existential anxieties such as anxiety over death, and communal rituals that validate and affirm religious beliefs," they might be defining religion too conservatively.That becomes important becasue it might lead to leaving out liberal theological types form the mix of "religious." If liberal theology tends to draw more intelligent people then one would be leaving the more intelligent religious people out of the count. In other words they are biasing their take on religiosity to include only the more conservative and fundamentalist types. Supposedly the findings determined that differences in education didn't matter for the correlation,[8] but that would be distorted by the leaving out of the liberals, who might tend to have a better theological education. It might also be that literalism implies less intelligence so by letting out liberals they might be letting out the more intelligent religious thinkers.

Another indication of the way biases might play a role is found in the opening paragraphs of the study itself in recounting the history of the study of the topic. In their brief history they show that findings seem to be correlated with the times. From the Early period in the 1920's to the 1960s the findings tended to be pro-correlation, intelligent people tend not to be religious. That coincides with a lot of things in that era, including the rise of reductionism, positivism, the secularization. In the 60s-90s the finding went the other way and tended to draw more intelligent people to knowledge of and belief in  religious ideas. [9] Findings show mystical experience increased a great deal in the 60s and due to both growing interest in eastern religion and mediation and "Jesus movement," religious interest increased.[10] During the remainder of the century the tendency seemed to be toward findings that affirmed there is no valid correlation between intelligence and religious beilef or lack there of. [11] Since the advents of this century the major studies have been pro-correlation again, correlating lack of religious belief with higher intelligence. That move is associated with the rise in popularity of atheism the decline in popularity of organized religion and the rise in scientism and reductionism. This history really tells the whole story, it illustrates not only the basis as they show up in the masses, urged on by trends in society, but also the biases of the researchers.

The studies done since Francis (late 90s) are not only badly done but they are also biased toward atheism. Some of these facts in no one of them biasing the Zuckerman study in a major way. Yet there are some red flags. To undrstand this we have to look at one of the major researchers of this century: Nyborg, Hamalton, Lynn, and Kanazawa. These have attracted attention for their biases. [12] We will focus on Kanazawa because he's going to have a special relationship to the Zuckerman study. Kanazawa assumes the Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis which basically implies that atheism is an evolutionary advance. That assumes there's a gene for atheism and and it's a beneficial mutation. That is not only an extreme idea but one we would be hard pressed to find much support for in the ranks of modern science (ironic that the head of the genome project was a Christian). [13] Kanazawa has been roundly attacked for making  racist assumptions, for example by PDF by Belayneh Abate who changes biased data collection.

Data Collection Problem: Kanazawa admits borrowing secondary data from different places. He borrowed the IQ data from Lynn (Northern Ireland) and Vanhanen (Finland) Table-1. According to him, IQ was directly measured only
in eleven Sub-Saharan African Countries and the rest was predicted using prediction methods Kawakawa tried to show that the IQ measurement was valid by analyzing the directly and indirectly measured data separately. It is true that no method of measurement is perfectly accurate or precise. However, one has to ask how the samples were drawn, and how the results of the sample IQ’s were translated in to national average. Whether IQ measures general intelligence
or not is another story. For the moment, let’s assume it does. Most IQ tests include both verbal and written tests. How valid will be the IQ test in Sub-Saharan countries where almost all sense organs of the people are turned dysfunctional
by dictator rulers who are supported by major powers of the world? In addition to that, IQ measurement is not entirely objective. Our daily life proves how people are prejudiced towards one another irrespective of educational status.
Therefore, to what extent should we believe the validity of the IQ measurements of Lynn and Vanhanen? What about the possibility of differential misclassification errors in the IQ measurement?[14]

Kanazawa was fired from Psychology Today for these views (and racist implications that brought charges of racism). He was also disciplined by London School of Economics for these implications.  In the oct 22, 2012 post of this blog I wrote:

Kanazawa is a reader in management at the London School of Economics, he has set him about the task of doing battle with what he calls "political correctness." He bases his theoretical orientation in evolutionary psychology. Meaning, behind his assumptions lurk the dragon of sociolo biology, so we should suspect a link to the "Bell Curve" sort of thinking. LSE has forbade him to publish in non peer reviewed sources for a year as a result of the controversy surrounding his work.(BBC News London, He was fired from Psychology Today for the Blog (which I criticized on Atheistwatch) "psychology today," it was Savanna principle primarily that got him the sack (, changing the color of Democracy June 1, 211).

Unfortuntely Kanazawa plays are more important role than just having his data included as one of 63 studies. He actually performed some of the statitical analysis that went into the study. A note under "acknowledgements" states:


We thank the investigators who provided additional information about their studies at our request. We are particularly grateful to... Satoshi Kanazawafor performing a number of statistical analyses on his data, andinvariably sending us the results on the same day he received our query.

1. Kanazawa conducted these analyses in response to our request(S. Kanazawa, personal communication, April 2012).2. The formula for correcting
for range restriction is (Sackett &Yang, 2000):
-4 scale); standard deviation

I have not reproduced the data in the example as it doesn't copy accurately. But it is listed on page 23 of the study and one can read the formula. This is one example of what they call "a number of statistical analyses." Not only does this raise a red flag in terms of their findings, but raises questions of bias and the author's own identification with the ideological commitments of Kanazawa. While we must be careful to avoid guilt by association, one can't help but wonder why they would allow him to be the one to contribute that analysis? While that is not proof off any kind of wrong doing, it must raise a caution.

Over all the argument is that the data from before the "humanistic era" of counter culture (60s-70s) and after that era are both suspect. Of course that's  a two edged sword. They might argue that the data from the 60s is biased the other way. It would seem the study methodology is better in that era since Kanazawa didn't get his data originally but used that provided by Nyborg et al. Nyborg's data is suspect (see FN 12 below). Nyborg's data is also criticized most seriously by William T. Dickens and James R. Flynn (Brookings institution). [15] Nyborg quotes Lynn and Lynn uses Hamilton and both use Knazawa and he uses them. It's a citation circle and it's all based upon genetic superiority (echoed in the Psychology today blog with Barber and Kanazawa) and it links genetic superiority to atheism. It's clearly the outlines of a massive ideology based upon some unsavory ideas that represents the basis of IQ/Religion research in the first decade of the century and the Zuckerman study is plugged right into it. It may not mean that Zuckerman is biased and I'm certainly not trying to tar him with the same brush in racist terms, but it has to effect his data not only he uses the studies but the guy who did one  of them contributed to his statical analysis.

There we have to ask do they have a way to really fail safe themselves against the possibility of dogmatic bias? They think they do becuase they say the have statistical means of overcoming bias. But can they really do that when the problem is at such a fundamental level as their very definition of religion? Many of the studies going into their analysis are seen as bad. Can they make up for that?
The most recent period of studies (this century) appear to have their biases. Above I alluded to the possibility of bias in the early period (1920's-60s). Now it's time to find examples that might indicate the probability of this bias. Zuckerman and his colleagues quote the first Argyle study (1958), For example,  the first Argyle study found that "intelligent students are much less likely to accept Orthodox beliefs and rather less likely to have pro-religious attitudes."[16] That could just as easily mean that "Orthodox includes conservative religious ideas but not theologically liberal ones." Does "rather less likely to have pre religious attitudes" equal being atheists? One could self identify as a member of a religious tradition and have some attitudes that are classified as "not pro religious." I have atheists habitually asserting that liberal theological views are not pro religious. One site on the net where an atheist has argued the IQ issue for a long time, and he makes that assumption. The Inconclusive nature of Argyles findings is born out by the fact that his second study (with Beit-Hallahmi--1997) draws no conclusion in the matter of the corrolation between intelligence and religous belief, saying "there is no great difference in intelligence between religious and non religious." [17]

How do Zucekrman et al classify that? Do they count the first study as "pro-negative" (correlation between intelligence and religion) and the second as no correlation? What of the implications of the first study in relation to a more liberal understanding of religion? Moreover the Thomas Simington Study (1935) finds that: "There is a constant positive relation in all the groups between liberal religious thinking and mental ability There is also a constant positive relation between liberal scores and intelligence." Thus establishing the link that liberal theological types are high IQ scorers. Oddly enough Zuckeman leaves out this study. Not listed on his bibliography.[18] Thus there is good reason to suspect that they are only using studies that measure the conservative end of belief thus are leaving out the IQ ranges of the more liberal theology inclined. They might also be leaving out the more deeply spiritual as their definition of belief seems to revolve around a more literalistic supernatural "agent" rather than mystical experience. I can't help but remember a statement from one of the studies on mystical experience:

 Overall then we have reason to believe that the studies finding negative correlations has anti-religious biases of the times. They didn't accept liberal theology as religious and sought to compare secular thinking to conservative forms of religion, or they supported the savannah theory of genetics and thus see atheism as an advance in human evolution (among other biases). While the 60's studies that tend to find a positive correlation (religion and intelligence) might also have the bias of its own day we would have to examine the specific data to determine its significance.

There is also a point to be made about the numbers of studies and what's being left. Rathi claims that Zuckerman found 53 out of 63 studies with negative correlation. That's overwhelming unless the 63 studies are bad and the other 10 are good. While that's probably not likely we can raise more questions about the quality of the studies used. Another striking feature is the conspicuous absence of studies known to have findings of a positive correlation. Several studies that I know are positive in correlation are not found in the Zuckerman study:no Simington, no Pratt, no Rummell, no Corey. All of these are found in the list by Steve Kangus (the atheist list) (see Note 17). Using his list (some of this were put in the wrong category) I have 6 negative (that high IQ not religious) vs. 17 either positive (High IQ are religious) or no correlation. Yet Rathi counts only 10 that dont' support Zuckerman's correlation. That means somewhere seven studies at least are being overlooked. Fancis says in his first study that the  greater number was with the negative. That doesn't mean the quality studies were negative. So even though it may be that the majority of studies find negative correlation, that doesn't prove that this is the answer. The studies left out (I know there are more than 10 that are not in line with the negative) are conspicuous by their absence.

Zuckerman et al says the reason for leaving studies out is:
Studies were included in the meta-analysis if they examined the relation between intelligence and religiosity at the individual level, and if the effect size (Pearson r) of that relation was provided directly or could be computed from other statistics. For several studies, intelligence and religiosity were measured, but the authors did not report the relation between these two variables. Authors of such studies were contacted to obtain the relevant information. If authors did not respond to our first request, two more reminders were sent. When necessary, second and/or third coauthors were also contacted. Studies that examined the relation between intelligence and religiosity indirectly (e.g., comparisons atgroup levels, comparisons between scientists and the general population) were excluded
Simington seems to report it. We can't really know more without actually getting hold of the studies but I think this is enough to raise concerns.

Summary: four arguments have been made to the effect that the Zuckerman study may have some problems that bear scrutiny.

I. Studies reflect bias of their times.
II. Direct influence from biased soruces.
III. View of religion used is too conservative
IV. Study doesn't include several known studies with counter findings.

First, that in examining the history of the topic study findings seem to move with the biases of the times. Secondly, for the latter period the studies may be tainted by the biases of a extremist view of life and even perhaps racism. Thirdly, too conservative view of religion and leaving out of liberal religious views biases the findings. Fourthly, that too many positive correlated studies are left out and this raises questions about bias. The authors claim to have used statistical methods to control for bias that can only work to the extent that one includes all the relevant studies. If the biases of the studies use for too fundamental to the assumptions and if the person doing analysis shares the bias then it's not goign to help.

There are even more devastating arguments in part 2. In that section I move form study inducement to counter arguments, that arguments that seek to disprove the relationship between intelligence and atheism or seek to disprove the conclusions atheists might draw from Zuckerman.


[1] Miron Zuckerman, Jordon Silberman, and Judith Hall, "The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations." Personality and Social Psychology Review. Sage Publications (August 6, 2013 online first version of record). URL:

accessed 8/13/13.

totally unfair the Zuckerman study has been removed. Accessed to it can be purchased here.

[2] Ashat Rathi, "New Meta Analysis Checks the Correlation Between Intelligence and Faith," ars technia: Scientific Method,Science/Exploration (April 11, 2013) on line  accessed 8/13/13.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Zuckerman, et al, op. cit.

[5] Ibid, abstract. 1.

[6] Ibid. 1.

[7] Empirical Supernatural article

[8] Rathi, op. cit.

[9] Zuckerman, et al, op cit, 2.

[10] find

[11] Zuckerman, op cit, 2.

[12] "Atheist IQ Scam, Bad Science and Atheist Assumptions: Kanazawa, Nyborg, Lynn, and Hamilton.
Atheist Watch, (Jan 22, 2012) blog,
 accessed 8/12/13.

[13] Atheist Watch, "Atheism's Psychology Today Scam," (Oct 3, 2010) accessed 8/12/13

[14] Belayneh Abate "Poisoned with defective theories, Kanazawa Insults Others “Mentally Retarded”pdf (10/10/2006) accessed 8/12/13

[15] Willam T. Dickens and James R. Flynn, "common Ground and Differences," pdf  accessed 8/12/13.

see also Denyse O'Leary, "Does Religion Rot Teenager's Brains?" MercatorNet, (July, 25, 2011)
Monday, 25 July 2011
Monday, 25 July 2011 accessed 8/12/13

 Ron Unz, "Unz on Race/IQ--Response to Lynn and Nyborg." The American Conservative
(August 4, 2012)
accessed 8/12/13
I also quote Brown in the American Guardian, just in case people want to make something out of quoting form the American Conservative.

Lynn's data was criticized: "The positive correlation between intelligence and atheism was a strong one, but the study came under criticism from Gordon Lynch of Birkbeck College, because it did not account for complex social, economical, and historical factors." See Rathi above. Lynn is important and could be considered one of the top researchers but he's also known for supporting the idea that IQ is racial.

[16] Zuckerman, Op. Cit., 2 (from first Argyle study, 96).

[17] Steve Kangus, editor, Liberalism Resurgent,  (accessed 8/12/13) this is a page combatting the myth that religious people are more intelligent. The site apparently sees religious belief and scinece as oppossies and as opponents, mutually exclusive.

The IQ argument is found here: (accessed 8/12/13) my rebuttal is here: In "who is smarter" on Doxa: Christian Thought in the 21st century.  I feel I rather put the matter to rest.

[18] The Simington study was originally listed on the original website I was rebutting (see previous note). that was years ago and the site has changed its list over time. He now includes studies that show no correlation as though that proves his point. It is actually a disproof as he is trying to that atheists are smarter. No correlation means there's no link bewteen intelligence and beilef. The list still includes Simington.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I have two posts for today. Read the Orwellian Atheism post just below. Tune in monday for the unveiling of my answer to the new major study on IQ and Atheism just released this summer.

 This is a major study becuase it brings all the best studies done, or so it seems and uses a statistical meta analysis to control of biases and produce over overarching finding, supposedly that atheists have higher IQs than believers.

The Study is done by a professor named Zuckerman, not that Zuckerman (not Phil) but Miron out of Rochester New York. This is a interesting and challenging study becuase it's larger in scope than any that's ever been done. The credentials of the researchers are beyond reproach, their statistical method is fine, they just happen to be wrong in certain crucial ways.

check back Monday.


Orwellian Atheism marks a new trend in counter-atheist studies

Now that we understand that the hate group has evolved from mere hate group to Orwellian nightmare we can analyze it more effectively. So far here are the indications:

Use of terms:these are all found in past posts on this blog so you can just go down the page and find them.

Imaginary: indicating the status of belief in God

Delusion: Also used of alleged fictional status of God belief.

Cult: used as synonym for all religious groups even the most popular

Description of the making of God arguments:

Trying to usurp science and reality to stick in your deity is dangerous.

superstition: used defined as Christianity and other religious belief.

Definition of Superstition

Brainy Quote Definition of Superstition

  1. An excessive reverence for, or fear of, that which is unknown or mysterious.
  2. An ignorant or irrational worship of the Supreme Deity; excessive exactness or rigor in religious opinions or practice; extreme and unnecessary scruples in the observance of religious rites not commanded, or of points of minor importance; also, a rite or practice proceeding from excess of sculptures in religion.
  3. The worship of a false god or gods; false religion; religious veneration for objects.
  4. Belief in the direct agency of superior powers in certain extraordinary or singular events, or in magic, omens, prognostics, or the like.
  5. Excessive nicety; scrupulous exactness.
 look at number 2, worshiping God is defined as superstition.

an atheist on a message board said:
I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature ... - 14k - Cached - Similar pages -
My response:

The same kind of recursive and circular statement I just got through exposing. What makes it superstitious? Because it's religion. What makes religion superstition? Because it' superstition.

Defining "Fre Thinkers" As those who agree with atheist ideology:

True free thinkers are those that can speak and think with accuracy and honesty. As a scientist, I pride myself on being able to read and understand the natural world and everything it has to offer. Not all of it is 100% right, but I consider the 95% to be good enough.

Defining opposition to Atheist control as "anti-free thinking."

Freedom becomes slavery and slavery becomes freedom. Now that we know this is the true nature of atheism, reductionism and all the other isms such as scientism that go hand in hand with the hate group, we can understand the danger is no just to Christianity, not just to religions, but to all people who want to think for themselves.

Atheism constitutes a clear and present danger.