Monday, December 18, 2006

IQ and religion

Last Sunday was like one of those days when your quest about everything and nothing ends up heading in the direction of a bottomless abyss. Haunting yet inherently unanswerable questions such as 'what's the point of human existence?' kept forming circles over my head, and nothing, not even a hot plate of Maggi washed down by a favorite cup of HotChips coffee followed by a pack of reddy-red Karondas, did any good.

It all started when I stumbled upon a famous Richard Dawkins video - The Big question: Why are we here?. In the end of what looked like a totally unproductive day, I found something of interest. The correlation between IQ and religious belief has been found to be a strong negative - a mind-boggling minus 0.886. In very simple terms, people with higher IQs have far less belief on religion than people with lesser IQs. There is no margin of statistical error since the correlation is almost a full negative (-1).


This isn't the right place to express my views on religion coz most people don't indulge in such discussions (the last time I started the topic over a table, the coffee went cold and I positively heard people snoring), but suffice to say that the result confirmed what I think about belief and spirituality. If you are the kind that loves such discussions, the coffee is on me when we meet next time around!

14 Comments:

At Tuesday, December 19, 2006 10:53:00 AM, Blogger Bharathi said...

I agree too...

Guess what I have travelled through these points myself in my own lifetime. A journey from the bottom right to the top left ;) As I studied, as I explored, as I read, as I met more people, as I formed my own opinions, as I stood by them...

Is IQ a great thing to measure? does that number have an importance is another question to be addressed... Lets discuss this over another coffee... which will be on me ;)

 
At Tuesday, December 19, 2006 12:32:00 PM, Blogger coolkrishnan said...

The idea of Religion has very different meanings in western and eastern minds.

In the west, religion is synonymous to Christianity and occasionally Islam. It is considered dogmatic and most scientists drift away from it.

In Asia, Hinduism, Buddhism etc have a completely different approach to religion. Often u will find religious ideas sounding like physics. You will find that great Scientists like Niel Bohr have been fascinated by Asian religions. The book called 'Tao of Physics' is a wonderful read on this subject.

I believe that the survey u mentioned has a totally western shade.

 
At Tuesday, December 19, 2006 2:27:00 PM, Anonymous Senthil said...

Well Govar, we never had heated debates on controversial topics like this when you were here..nyways..wouldnt mind discussing over a free cuppa.

 
At Tuesday, December 19, 2006 8:25:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

@Bharathi: Thats like my story too... although I was never very religious. We'd certainly discuss that... anything for a coffee! :-P

@Krish: The survey is based on national IQ scores of all countries da... its not only the west. I agree that east has a lot of mysticism associated with religion but that doesn't impact the survey one bit. You really see the difference everywhere. The least educated people - workers, fishermen folk are the most spiritual. They still go the annual festivals, believe in sacrifices. You see very less educated crowd... who prefer to stay and worship within their walls. But people who are most read are never religious.

 
At Tuesday, December 19, 2006 8:25:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

@senthil: Sure da... we'll discuss that next time around... and you have my word that the coffee is on me! :)

 
At Tuesday, December 26, 2006 1:16:00 PM, Blogger Srickant said...

ah..my primary instinct is after the coffee, but anyways, iam inclined to ask the question:
iq vs religion, religion meaning, 'coz usage of the word is so complex.
one usage 'A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion', so people with a particular interest(ex you blog religiously) are religious :). If there are a set of a dogma's or sayings its your religion that changes but not your ability to believe. Measurement of IQ apart, assuming that the best IQ people would be at the top of their circles of influnce, they are religious in the adherance of the rules. hehe i guess we need that damn coffee :)

 
At Tuesday, December 26, 2006 1:52:00 PM, Anonymous Govar said...

@Sric: Machan, you aren't supposed to dig into the alternative meaning of religion in the dictionary and argue based on that secondary meaning. I meant religion as it is used everyday. :) And yeah I certainly need that coffee to progress!

 
At Thursday, December 28, 2006 12:18:00 AM, Anonymous sana said...

hope this is genuine quest to understand the purpose of creation.

govar who runs pepsi coke google,top banks of the world america ,and by the way who invented theory of relativity =
JEWS and they are the most religious people in the world.ur askin me how i know i leave it to u to find out

 
At Thursday, December 28, 2006 1:16:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

@Sana: Yes it is a genuine pursuit to understand the purpose of creation. And the more I venture, the farther I seem to travel from the world's idelogies as following by most religions. This isn't to say the concept of God serves no purpose. It does, but it a distorted sort of way.

It may be true that some Jews run top institutions, but they don't represent all the jews and there's no record that these guys are very spiritual. I just recorded my observations that seemed to be in sync with the findings.

 
At Friday, December 29, 2006 12:16:00 AM, Anonymous sana said...

not bad at all expecially at your age the search for spirituality is difficult,

okay notice that jews are never called fanatics thats because they are not obvious with their fervour
for religious practices.when they tried making their presence felt they became the hated lot.


The iq levels are a product of evolution it takes years of conditioning to arrive to this level.That kind of conditioning in the past (about two - three thousand years back)or rather the source for discipline was religion.


It was the quest for understanding
the maker/creator did the many branches of science emerge some awed at his creation whilst the others where too proud of their theories and ultimately forgot the source of power


so i strongly believe that religion ,way of life has connection with iq.newton was deeply religious and so where many scientist.

coming to the purpose of creation
its a good sign that you are not willing to buy the worlds version of god .lock yourself from the world sit in the most silent room
read eckhart tolle you might be close to finding him.I am also a part of the world i was jus talkin about may be this will help

 
At Friday, December 29, 2006 12:33:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

@Sana: Your arguments are that everything - our iq and our quest to know more etc - revolved around the creator and hence the religions. I totally concur. But all this doesn't mean that we should be boxed into beleiving that everything is dependant on some super power. Historically, over thousands of years of growing up, mankind associated God with whatever that was incomprehensible. Sun was a God coz nobody knew it was a star, a just another one. Moon was a God one. Rains were gods, and so was everything. But as we know and understand the meaning and concept behind these, we don't worship these anymore. Similarly, most religions argue that there's a creator and mankind was created in one magic instant some thousands of years ago. What abt fossils? Neanderthal records? Ape men? All these aren't untrue coz it's based on radio active carbon dating - and as precise as it can get. Net net, my argument is... since the base for religions - creationism - itself has fallen apart, there's no reason to believe in some superpower. It's just something that is not within human understanding.

 
At Monday, January 08, 2007 5:25:00 PM, Anonymous Nirmal said...

Ah I always knew this. Given that I'm a total atheist, I must be .886 times the perfect intelligence :D.
I told you I'm bad at math but so was einstein. A jew btw :D.
FYI, sana, the worlds best scientists, smartest business people, frontrunners in liberal thought, most creative artists, best mathematicians, astronomers etc. etc. are NOT jews, but white anglo saxon protestants (WASPs as they're known commonly). Racial stereotypes are not a function of genetics but societies' attitude toward education and other symptoms of socio-cultural environment. Usually the more liberal a community, the more successful it is academically, monetarily and otherwise.

 
At Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:38:00 AM, Anonymous Diana said...

Why is it that many intelligent people are afraid to believe in something they can't explain? If they can't explain it, does it make them feel less intelligent?

Or, now that these statistics have been published, does that make them think they can't believe in God, because that means they must be dumber?

I think the low I.Q. countries in this graph are also poor countries, which thus correlates with the low I.Q.

I also think that intelligent people are just more likely to question things than poor people. So... maybe they can't prove their is a God with science, but have they yet been able to prove there isn't a God?

 
At Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:43:00 AM, Anonymous Diana said...

Oops, I misspelled "their" in my last sentence--it should be "there". :)

 

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