Atheists are smarter

Statistically, atheists have a higher intelligence than people with a strong religious faith. The difference is 5.8 points, according to a new study by the Danish professor of developmental psychology, Helmuth Nyborg.

Read all about it here.


  1. #1 Colugo
    December 18, 2007

    Not too surprising. Also, keep in mind that Nyborg is a Harpending of developmental psychology.

  2. #2 Tony P.
    December 18, 2007

    Probably why we’re atheists to begin with. I also not that the college educated tend to be more atheistic than the non-college folks.

  3. #3 Adam
    December 18, 2007

    People with a higher IQ know how not to be brainwashed – consciously or subconsciously, I think. I’m all for a bit of spirituality but living your whole life by an idea… it lacks imagination.

  4. #4 razib
    December 18, 2007

    greg, did you read the linked article??? seems to be pretty radioactive 😉 in any case, this psychometric data can be found elsewhere. there is some countervailing data in places like south korea where christian theism has a positive SES & educational correlation (catholics are the most educated and affluent).

  5. #5 Evan
    December 19, 2007

    I would be curious to find out how many members of Mensa claim to be atheist or agnostic as opposed to some religious faith. I have (as a lurking member) heard rumor that most/many tend to be Democrats, although there are some Republicans. Which can be telling in a way.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2007

    The main point of raising this at all, besides annoying fundies which ia always fun, is th troll for reactions (from trollls) that can be compared to reactions regarding articles declaring racist claims. It is an interesting conundrum one finds oneself in when you stand too close to the slippery slope. Any slipper slope.

  7. #7 JimV
    December 19, 2007

    If anything, I’m disappointed that the difference is so small. I’m pretty sure I could take different IQ tests at different times and see at least that much variability. I’m not too surprised, though, as I have already observed that the smarter people are, the easier it is for them to find rationalizations for things which they would like to believe. By “smart” I mean the sort of people who do well in school and on IQ tests, not necessarily those who will accomplish the most, as there are also other factors involved in the latter.

    Hence this post made me a bit more pessimistic about the human species, not less; probably should have stayed in bed.

  8. #8 karl roenfanz ( rosey )
    December 19, 2007

    thats why politicians resort to mentioning religion when they have little logic to get people to vote. also explains why religious people try to control or destroy what they don’t understand.