SmartLX www

Even if atheism is dead right and theism is completely wrong, that means that atheists have one thing right and theists have one thing wrong. That doesn’t say much about anyone’s intelligence.

I will suggest, though, that it takes a certain amount of thought and intelligence to question one’s own beliefs and those of one’s family. An intelligent believer is likely to question, and may then decide to keep the beliefs or reject them. An unintelligent believer will never question.

Since most people overall are raised in a religion, the majority of atheists have likely freed themselves of religion. A converted atheist (therefore most of them) has had at least the intelligence to question his/her own beliefs rationally. Religious people can be intelligent and question themselves too, but there’s no equivalent minimum standard for believers.

I thought Bertrand Russell should get a look-in here: “So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.”

Posted: November 13th 2007

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George Locke

It takes a certain confidence to stand against the prevailing ideology, but it needn’t be arrogance, which I take to be the direction the question is going. Atheists needn’t be smarter than theists (or think they are) in order to be right that god doesn’t exist.

Intelligence will of course help in arriving at the truth, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient. Smart people can be plagued with ignorance or denial, and plenty of below-average thinkers have the good sense to know bullshit when they see it.

Posted: September 3rd 2007

See all questions answered by George Locke


A good source of information we have correlating intelligence with atheism comes from surveys of the National Academy of Sciences, the elite body of scientists in the United States, where more than 90% are atheists. This dramatically contrasts with the mainstream population where less than 10% are atheists.

However a more reliable predictor of atheism correlates with standard of living and economic security, rather than intelligence.

When all countries are compared, it is the countries with the greatest prosperity that have the least degree of religiosity.

In other words, the less one needs a God, the less one believes in a God.

Posted: June 1st 2007

See all questions answered by RTambree


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