A new review of 63 scientific studies 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’, above average intelligence people are less likely to believe.
One of the studies used in the paper was a life-long analysis of the beliefs of 1,500 gifted children with IQs over 135.
The subjects had much lower levels of religious belief than the average population.
The authors of the review looked at each study independently, taking into account the quality of data collection, the size of the sample and the analysis methods used.
The three psychologists carrying out the review defined intelligence as the “ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience.”
Religiosity is defined by the psychologists as involvement in some (or all) facets of religion.
According to the review, other factors – such as gender or education – did not make any difference to the correlation between intelligence and religious belief.
The level of belief, or otherwise, did however vary dependent upon age with the correlation found to be weakest among the pre-college population.
The paper concludes that: “Most extant explanations (of a negative relation) share one central theme —the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who ‘know better’.”