This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Liberalism, atheism, male sexual exclusivity linked to IQ

Liberalism, atheism, male sexual exclusivity linked to IQ - Comments

Lapithes's Avatar Comment 2 by Lapithes

I think we already had this study on here before. I remember because PZ completely repudiated it.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 18:08:00 UTC | #445517

fasharoony's Avatar Comment 1 by fasharoony

I would of course concur, given that I'm so smart :)

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 18:08:00 UTC | #445516

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 3 by MattHunX


You're talking about the article that made it onto here just a few days ago, right?

If so, I liked that one. I'm really starting to like PZ. He explains everything in plain terms and doesn't shy away from name-calling either. If some people are idiots or something is idiotic, he says so.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 18:18:00 UTC | #445523

helen sotiriadis's Avatar Comment 4 by helen sotiriadis

yeah... same study.
i don't buy it.

i'm more impressed by how easily people lap stuff up that makes them feel good about themselves.

where's the skepticism?

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 18:37:00 UTC | #445533

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 5 by prettygoodformonkeys

Just skimmed it, didn't read the whole thing, but the gist, yet again, seems to be: being male is a sign of a high IQ.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I got that part right.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 18:47:00 UTC | #445536

sidelined's Avatar Comment 6 by sidelined

The thing about this study is that it will be judged in an "us vs. them" context based on individual biases and perceptions.
Feynman had it right when he said that "What one fool can understand, another can"
This from a person who could run rings around the vast percentage of us should be cause to greet with skepticism such reports.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 18:58:00 UTC | #445540

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 7 by crookedshoes

Also, if atheist scientists are so smart, why can't they solve every single world problem definitively, once and for all, and right now on this spot????? Why all this wavering???? AIDS? should be cured by now. Global warming???? hell, they can't even AGREE that it occurs. And EVOLUTION???? please!!!
(to be read with sarcasm to the fifteenth degree)
Another thing, while ranting, why, if you tell someone that you are smart, are you being conceded??? I mean if I were seven feet tall and said I was tall, would that be bragging. I am under the impression that IQ is like "the size of your container" (not what is in it)...So many people with high IQ's are "empty". You can't change your IQ can you????

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 19:18:00 UTC | #445551

gurkuda's Avatar Comment 8 by gurkuda

You can change your IQ, all you need is a lot of alcohol :)

I like the way religion is described as paranoia in the article.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 19:21:00 UTC | #445553

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 10 by crookedshoes

Cliff Clavin (from the tv show CHEERS):
Everyone knows alcohol kills brain cells. Just like in nature, it kills the weak, slow brain cells. In this way, it selects out the slow ones and allows the faster, stronger brain cells to survive. That's why you are so much smarter after a few drinks" (paraphrased)

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 19:37:00 UTC | #445563

MondSemmel's Avatar Comment 9 by MondSemmel

Yes, PZ didn't approve of this study at all (see: - and apparently with good reason: Satoshi Kanazawa, the author of the study, is an incredible fool (e.g. here:, where he says that the proper response to 9/11 would have been to bomb the whole Middle East with nuclear weapons, or here:, where he claims that third world countries are doing poorly in things like life expectancy and mortality not mainly due to poverty but due to differences in IQ (that's essentially like saying that they're too dumb to live...)).

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 19:37:00 UTC | #445562

George Lennan's Avatar Comment 11 by George Lennan

This study concurs with my world view. I therefore believe it must be factually correct. Inerrant, in fact.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 19:37:00 UTC | #445564

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 12 by crookedshoes

George Lennan,
One might say Infallable.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 19:52:00 UTC | #445576

Sci_Guy_Bri's Avatar Comment 13 by Sci_Guy_Bri

Religion, the current theory goes, did not help people survive or reproduce necessarily, but goes along the lines of helping people to be paranoid, Kanazawa said. Assuming that, for example, a noise in the distance is a signal of a threat helped early humans to prepare in case of danger.

"It helps life to be paranoid, and because humans are paranoid, they become more religious, and they see the hands of God everywhere," Kanazawa said.

It sounds like he tossed in this bit so as to not ruffle too many religious feathers. I hope that's the case anyway.

There's plenty to be paranoid about in the real world, never mind adding superstitious crap on top of that.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 21:14:00 UTC | #445608

friendlypig's Avatar Comment 14 by friendlypig

So, a higher IQ indicates fidelity and a leaning towards atheism, then lower IQ's indicate religious observance and infidelity.


Mon, 01 Mar 2010 21:25:00 UTC | #445613

s.k.graham's Avatar Comment 15 by s.k.graham

It is not difficult to google the original paper. Kanazawa makes some silly leaps in his ideas about the evolutionary origin of these correlations. However, he does draw from a large sample size, shows his error bars, and the correlations are statistically quite significant.

So it appears that people who score higher on IQ tests tend to be more liberal, less religious, and males who score higher on IQ tests tend to be more monogamous. There is about a 6 to 11 point different in average IQ score between the extremes of liberal/conservative, religious/atheist.

6 to 11 points may sound small, and is not very significant when comparing individuals, it is quite significant when considering population averages.

While many like to dismiss anything to do with IQ testing, and while IQ tests certainly fall far short of telling the whole story of mental capabilities; it is wishful thinking to suppose that IQ tests do not reflect a significant component of intellectual ability.

In layman's terms: "smarter people are more likely to be atheist and/or liberals".

Not sure what to make of the smart men/monogamy correlation... on the one hand I would expect smart people to have better judgment assessing the consequences of infidelity and acting accordingly; but I would also expect smarter people to be more likely to recognize that conservative sexual morality is rather arbitrary and thus more likely to reject constraints on consenting adults. However, it may be that the way they measure monogamy in this paper has more to do with keeping promises in general than with sexual morality in particular.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 22:44:00 UTC | #445636

blayzekohime's Avatar Comment 16 by blayzekohime

I find the third one most unexpected. However I would like to point out that while people are honest about their religion and political leaning, people tend not to be as honest when asked the question "Are you sexually exclusive?". It could be that females were simply more honest in answering the question.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 23:11:00 UTC | #445643

raindrops's Avatar Comment 17 by raindrops

just-so story

Tue, 02 Mar 2010 08:25:00 UTC | #445770

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 18 by Tyler Durden

I'm just finishing a journal article on brain size and IQ ("head circumference and task performance") for my psychology course in college, I may just mention this...

Tue, 02 Mar 2010 11:29:00 UTC | #445807

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 19 by irate_atheist

By the standards demanded by this article, I must clearly be a genius.

Edit: Or woolly minded, curmudgeonly and singularly unattractive. Take your pick.

Tue, 02 Mar 2010 13:24:00 UTC | #445826

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 20 by crookedshoes

This article won a mention on the prestigious Howard Stern radio show yesterday. He is a bright guy but not bright scientifically. His take was -- DUH, really??? Smart people see through the hocus pocus of religion??? no??? I took a study to figure this out??? I knew it from day one... and so on....

Tue, 02 Mar 2010 13:43:00 UTC | #445831

tomrees's Avatar Comment 21 by tomrees

PZ is a bit of a duffer on this one (and the comments thread is hilarious). Of course, PZ never actually read the study, so it would be pretty hard for him to rebut it. I'm not sure why he has such demi-god like status among his fans. Arguably, a sure fire way to repudiate a link between intelligence and atheism is to point to the comments on his blog...

Anyway, s.k.graham above, and a number of other people elsewhere, have summarized the main points. Never mind the unorthodox views of Kanazawa, the study is pretty robust.

There is a link between atheism and general intelligence (that's pretty well established, despite PZ's huffing and puffing). Explaining the link is more problematic.

Kanazawa's hypothesis - that general intelligence allows us to overcome our evolved cognitive biases - is a reasonable one that he presents some evidence for in the paper. It's by no mean proven, and there's reasons to suppose it might be false. But it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand (especially not by name calling and mob hysteria).

Tue, 02 Mar 2010 14:35:00 UTC | #445851

bethe123's Avatar Comment 22 by bethe123

tomrees-- Yes, the study is perhaps not as bad as its critics claim. I have never been impressed by PZ, and the only time I go to his site is in response to a link here.

Show me the reliability of IQ as a measure of actual, you know, intelligence. --PZ
This is really a very sad and ignorant statement.

Thu, 04 Mar 2010 06:02:00 UTC | #446494

MAJORPAIN's Avatar Comment 23 by MAJORPAIN

As a liberal atheist woman who sleeps around, I have to agree...I'm smarter than everyone else!

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 20:46:00 UTC | #446841

sonnygll's Avatar Comment 24 by sonnygll

I definitely fit with the study results. I'm a boarder-line genius, and I am not only an atheist, but a rationalist who has eliminated all beliefs. I am very liberal and have a bit of a libertarian bent, meaning my focus is on personal civil liberties. I have never been unfaithful to any committed sexual partner.

A very interesting study....

Sat, 06 Mar 2010 05:27:00 UTC | #446921

William T. Dawkins's Avatar Comment 25 by William T. Dawkins

I always thought it was left-handed people with hypersensitivity to allergens.

Sun, 07 Mar 2010 05:29:00 UTC | #447172

BigJohn's Avatar Comment 26 by BigJohn

I can readily see that that you are a boarder-line genius...

Mon, 08 Mar 2010 22:29:00 UTC | #447524

John Birch's Avatar Comment 27 by John Birch

Remarkably this is confirmed by the findings of a completely different suvey, also just published1.

This looks at the expressed race and religion of several thousand people who completed essays about themselves for a dating website... and the stronger your religious belief the less sophisticated language you use, and the stronger your disbelief the more complex your language.

Sun, 12 Sep 2010 10:45:51 UTC | #516507