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October 04, 2011


You are correct. Smart people good at solving problem of Prisoner's dilemma. Here they figure out unspoken rule for cooperation.

"Smart people tend to be more conformist then dumb people."
Then why the correlation between intelligence and atheism, even if these intelligent people report attending church? From what I've heard the intelligent are also over-represented among the converts to new religious movements, which seem weird to most other people. Jews also tend to be over-represented, although your argument that their birth religion is inherently less attractive could have some weight here.

[HS: That Bible stuff is just so ridiculous give our modern scientific understanding of nature and physics that it's hard for smart people to take it seriously.

But smart people are more likely to go to church than dumb people. Going to church requires only conformity and not belief.]

Let's apply this to economics, too. Are most people rational when it comes to making purchasing decisions, or are most people (even the smartest ones) just trying to keep up with the Joneses?

Half - it's been 1 year since Duke fuck slut Karen F. Owen published her thesis. How about an update on where she is and what she is up to?

I have to respectfully disagree with much of what you have written. I don't have any commitments to any political parties or ideologies. If I were a committed Democrat, but the objectively best candidate was on the Republican ticket then there would be a conflict of interests between party loyalty and making the correct voting decision. People have the erroneous assumption that voting a particular party or individual in will magically solve their problems, yet true change always starts at the individual level. The minorities of one collectively referred to as "the masses" are potentially the greatest catalyst for change, not who is voted into office.

One argument against Democracy is the frequency with which the incorrect candidate is voted in, which is why people need more information to make the correct decision. People also shouldn't be too distracted by politicians and instead look at what many of the top CEOs are doing. The private sector is where much of the real power lies.

I know a few liberals who are pro-choice and for equal rights on the marriage issue who are against radical Islam and understand the threat it poses. They also acknowledge moderate Muslims' silence about them.

Such people are also denounced as "bigots" by their peers who don't understand that there are Islamic rallies in the west calling for the west's destruction. Their parents immigrated to the west because we built a society that was far more attractive than the one they and their ancestors have built.

One must be careful not to be anti-Islamic in the wrong way because we don't want to alienate the Muslims who actually are on our side.

Also, "son" isn't a proper noun. I understand that many insist upon capitalizing pronouns that refer to God or Jesus, but I don't agree. Even God is murky, but I only capitalize it when it's used as a proper noun, "e.g., God said, 'Let there be light!'" but not as a common noun, e.g., (The Abrahamic god/Hindu god/etc.) So we can say that the Abrahamic god is God (and Allah, and Yahweh).

HS: Had you seen this story in the WaPo about Jewish atheists?


The dude is an atheist but pays temple dues and recites prayers every Friday.

Seems to me he is missing the point of atheism.

I've always thought people join the Democrat or Republican team because it's just easier that way. To take every individual issue and study it and arrive at a position on it would just take too long. Who has time for that? Most people have three or four issues that are really important to them and they have spent a lot of time thinking about those particular issues. They end up using those issues as a kind of litmus test in picking which team to be on. I see HBD denialism as being a root cause of a lot of our problems so I would probably lean Republican too. Not all Republicans believe in HBD but almost all HBD believers are Republican.

I'm almost 30 and I still haven't been able to pick a team or a permanent set of core political or ethical views. Every smart person I know seems to have strong opinions and a stable ideological identity.

The wise know they they must defend ideas with which they do not agree out of respect for the preservation of their own values. Note: that's the wise, not "wise latina".

Configuring one's values to that of the team is the destruction of self and is requisite in the destruction of a society.

The "conventional theory" of politics you cite is actually incredibly new. For most of American history political parties were quite unideological and much more brazen in being the mere vehicle for a particular set of class/tribal/geographic interests.

I'd also add that as a result of the bias of the smart people you notice, I think a lot of analysis of polls and so forth is incredible useless. When you hear experts look at polling data about which party or politician is up or down, they always speak as if everyone is as ideological as they are. As in, well Cain is more conservative than Romney, therefore he goes up at the expense of Perry but not Huntsman, etc. A lot of people don't put nearly that amount of effort into choosing who they want to vote for.

The fact that lots of people switch back-and-forth from voting Democrat to Republican is a good example of an incredibly mainstream phenomenon that I think almost no smart people can sympathize with, or imagine themselves ever doing.

Global warming is a "scam"? How so?


Most people >100IQ who go to church don't actually believe its the literal word of god or the world in 5000 years old. There are many reasons to go to church.

I agree with the others posters, perhaps you should substantiate your claim that global warming is a "scam".

There are plenty of evidence that supports the massive spread of desertification causing destruction of various ecosystems.

"Most people >100IQ who go to church don't actually believe its the literal word of god or the world in 5000 years old."

You can be a sincere Christian who believes that Jesus died for your sins and not believe that the world is 5000 years old, nor that every word of the Bible is inerrant. I think that atheists assume that if the least intelligent members of a religion believe something then any member of the religion who doesn't believe it must not "really" believe in their religion (i.e., that they're doing it for social reasons). I'm Mormon and no one I associate with in my religion believes the world is 5000 years old, and most of them believe in some form of evolution. Yet all of them are devout believers.

Take Ross Douthat of the NY Times. He scored a 1600 on the SATs, but he's unquestionably a believing Catholic. If he weren't, it would be easy to call himself Catholic while still holding politically correct beliefs about marriage, abortion, etc. Do you think he believes the world is 5000 years old? Give me a break.

I guess I'm just saying that nothing is as simple as it seems from the outside looking in.

"from the outside looking in."

Most these wags have no idea about religions or actual religious people. It's all stereotype, canard and cartoonish impressions. I suppose it's convincing enough to other atheists, and to fence-sitters who want to avoid the burdens of faith.

Whenever someone asks me why I'm not a Democrat, I tell them it's because I don't like to lie. As a Dem I'd have to agree to tell a whole passel of lies, while as a conservative I only have to tell one lie: medical malpractice suits are out of control.

Wow, speaking of Ross Douthat, here he is making the exact same point today:

1) I go to church w/ very smart people.

2) Objectively speaking, there is an excellent correlation between all sorts of upper-class characteristics, including IQ, and church attendance. I can send you references if you like.

3) I don't know what people are thinking when they're sitting in church, but I also attend a Bible study group at my church where people do talk. And these smart people are both believers and questioners. I look forward to the intellectual stimulation every week. It's a joy to talk about the big questions with smart people.

4)you should try church some time before you conclude that we're morons. (I know you're a Jewish atheist, but what the heck -- broaden your horizons.)

I have to ask...why is it impossible that the world is 5,000 years old? If God can create a world full of people, animals, plants, etc., then he can certainly fashion the Grand Canyon or Niagra Falls. Scientists may be correct that it would take hundereds of thousands of years for something like that to form naturally but, that would not be a road block to the kind of God that can create an entire universe.

I saw a study once that showed that political opinions are more heritable than party affiliation. In other words, if you are a born liberal, but are born to conservative parents, there is a good chance you'll stay in the GOP, but still have liberal views. In other words, you'll be a Huntsman supporter.

"There are plenty of evidence that supports the massive spread of desertification causing destruction of various ecosystems."

Nothing says desertification like excessive rain...And start using the phrase "climate change."

I agree smart people are more likely to attend church. Going to church and maintaining a front of respectability requires some minimum of having your shit together (unless everyone at your church is a screwup, I suppose). Most people would rather sleep in. But your post was about belief in ideas. And regularly going to a place where a message is preached, surrounding yourself with others who publicly profess belief (including your family), singing songs about your belief, all while disbelieving is a pretty non-conformist thing to do. And all your arguments about the silliness of religion resulting in atheism don't apply to new religious movements. I got that factoid from Razib, who has mentioned it a couple times, for example here:

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