The Instigator
PurpsTheDragon
Pro (for)
The Contender
BradleyMSmith
Con (against)

Are Religious people retarded?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2018 Category: Funny
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 544 times Debate No: 106445
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

PurpsTheDragon

Pro

(1) Intelligent people are generally more analytical and data-driven; formal religions are the antithesis: they are empirically fluffy and their claims are often in direct contradiction with scientific evidence unless they are interpreted metaphorically " but maybe intelligent people are not that keen on metaphor. Another way of putting it is that people with a high IQ are more likely to have faith in science, which isn't religion's best friends (yes, yes, I do know about Einstein"s quotes).

(2) Intelligent people are less likely to conform, and, in most societies, religiosity is closer to the norm than atheism is. Although this interpretation is based on extrapolation, it still makes sense: first, smarter people tend to be less gullible; second, in most societies, religious people outnumber atheists and agnostics - through global levels of religiosity have been declining, and there is substantial cultural variability in religiosity levels.

(3) Intelligence and religiosity are "functionally equivalent", which means that they fulfill the same psychological role. Although this intriguing argument contradicts points 1 and 2, it deserves serious consideration. Humans will always crave meaning. Religion " like science and logical reasoning " provides them with a comprehensive framework or system to make meaningful interpretations of the world. At times, religion and science are in conflict; but they can also act in concert, complementing each other to answer non-falsifiable and falsifiable questions, respectively. The authors conclude that some people satisfy their desire to find meaning via religion, whereas others do so via logical, analytical, or scientific reasoning " and IQ predicts whether you are in the former or latter group.

It is noteworthy that these three explanations assume that IQ influences religiosity rather than vice-versa, which seems plausible: IQ levels remain very stable after childhood, whereas religiosity levels keep fluctuating " childhood IQ predicts adult IQ, but childhood religiosity is a very poor predictor of adult religiosity.

However, the authors forget to consider an important possibility, which is that the relationship between IQ and religiosity could be caused by a third variable, namely personality. Indeed, Openness to Experience, a personality dimension that predicts an individual"s propensity to display higher levels of intellectual curiosity, aesthetic sensitivity, and be driven by counter-conformist and rebellious attitudes, is positively correlated with IQ, and, like IQ, stable from an early age. Furthermore, there is also ample evidence suggesting that higher Openness may cause IQ gains in adulthood because open individuals are more likely to invest time and resources acquiring expertise and knowledge.

By the same token, it is feasible to expect open individuals to be less interested in religion. Their hungry mind makes them gravitate towards scientific or factual explanations, and artistic sensations, rather than religious dogma. This would be in line with the positive association between Openness and tolerance for ambiguity " open people can handle complexity and ambivalence " and the negative link between Openness and need for closure " open people are less likely to see the world in black-or-white terms and are generally more comfortable with uncertainty. Since religion tends to eliminate ambiguity and uncertainty, its "utility" or psychological benefits should be greater for less than more open people, which would explain why religion appeals more to less intelligent individuals " who are generally less open. But what do the data say?

Although there are no meta-analytic studies on the joint or interactive effects of Openness and IQ on religiosity, there are plenty of studies examining the relationship between personality and religiosity. The first large-scale review reported that Openness is negatively correlated with religious fundamentalism and formal religious adherence, albeit weakly. However, Openness was positively correlated with spirituality and "mature religiosity", e.g., emotionality, a quest for meaning, and community, without strict adherence to formal religion. In the same study, religiosity was negatively related to Psychoticism " a trait that captures an individual"s typical levels of self-control, law-abidingness, and empathy. To make matters more complex, Psychoticism and Openness are positively correlated, so the relationship between personality and religiosity may not be straightforward.

It also seems plausible that different elements or facets of Openness to Experience are differentially related to religiosity and spirituality. For example, a study found that people"s emotional appreciation of religion was negatively related to the more rational or intellectual aspects of Openness, but positively related to artistic imagination and aesthetic sensitivity, two other facets of Openness. Furthermore, non-linear relationships between Openness and attitudes towards religion can also be expected. In particular, individuals with higher Openness may be generally more reticent to embrace formal religious beliefs " but, on the other hand, people who are extremely open would be more able to understand and tolerate individuals who hold such beliefs, even if they don"t share them. In that sense, hardcore atheism and agnosticism are as symptomatic of rigidity and narrow-mindedness as extreme religiosity and highlight an inability to understand alternative Weltanschauungen or opposite systems of values. In any event, associations between IQ and religiosity are at least in part determined by personality traits and values. And let's not forget that there are plenty of people who are both smart and religious - as well as many individuals who are agnostic and dim.
BradleyMSmith

Con

Before we begin our exchange, I would first like to thank you for your well versed and reasoned argument. I shall respond to your points in the format you have chosen for the sake of simplicity and remind all readers and contributors that minds of far greater renown than our own have struggled with this question and there are subjectively no correct answers.

(1) I am of the opinion that IQ, in a practical sense, is not the appropriate metric in deciding which is true or false in this context. Indeed, I have met and known many academically brilliant individuals who are still privy to the pitfalls of their lesser blessed counterparts. At some point in most of our lives, regardless of intelligence, we question our beginnings and our place in the world and one cannot make the argument that that of itself and its subsequent avenues are either invalid, nor one more worthy than the other. Our opposite roads, regardless of all prior advancements, input, data and statistics still ultimately result in the exact same summary; we still do not know the answer to the question. Can one be considered stupid for not knowing the answer to a question that, as far as we know, has none?

(2) I very much beg to differ in this regard as whilst religious numbers are statically beginning to dwindle as mentioned, militant atheism is not only on the rise but is often awarded the greater accessibility due to individuals such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchins. I believe in the coming decades we will witness a very pronounced bias in favour of atheism that will occur over a far shorter period of time due to the availability and accessibility of information and opinion.

I also must question your statement regarding gullibility, as most of what we 'know' regarding science, we know exclusively because we are told. We believe that everything we are told is factual without understanding that for the vast majority of us, we have absolutely no means of verification. For example, we have failed to map and delve into the depths of our own oceans, oftentimes in the process discovering new and never before discovered species and vegetation and lifeforms, in all there wonder. However, we're sending drones to Mars and walking on the moon and know the weight of the Sun.

Marvellous as all of these apparent discoveries are, we believe in them because we are told they exist and we are shown pictures and videos of them. We are not made aware when, for example, they have been doctored, as was the case in the various instances of the blue marble where an artist was responsible for applying colour to the mapped images of the earth. We as individuals believe what we are told, without the opportunity of verification, by authorities in a position of power, often where a conflict of interest can be documented and proven.

As an example of this, let us hypothesise that arguably the greatest scientific feat in our history, man's landing on the moon, was either not as reported, or indeed entirely fictional. In this theory, a government, who's conflict of interest is purely financial, creates a fictional piece of footage and supplies it en masse to its citizens, who believe unequivocally that the footage is authentic and proceed to finance and fund said governmental agency for the foreseeable future. Books are written, the astronauts are revered and mankind rejoices in its accomplishment.

Now imagine that the footage was nothing more than a very well planned hoax. Men, who have never been made aware of this redacted truth, would be willing to base their entire lives, alongside that of all mankind's that what they were told was undeniably and without question the truth. Authority has a way of making man believe in things he himself has no evidence of. What do we call a thing that we cannot prove, beyond a reasonable doubt and without relying on the testament and writings of another?

Faith.

Now where you put your faith comes down to a whole host of factors and influences, but to presume one's faith in the word of man is greater than another's faith in the word of man is nonsense and somewhat narcissistic in nature.

(3) I can agree with your sentiment here, to an extent and commend the notion that we should be working together towards a common and undeniable good for the betterment of our species. I am of the opinion, however, that with science and technology man will ultimately create and harvest his own destruction long before his salvation. Instead of man using his knowledge of science to serve and sanctify mankind, he has instead utilised it to create ever more efficient and creative means of extermination. To me, the priest in the church may have a lower IQ than the scientist with his eye to the microscope, but unlike the priest, the scientist is focused on genetically altering and weaponizing a deadly virus that but for his slightest mistake could destroy entire civilisations.

Ones IQ, if we were to liken it to a piece of classical music, is a single percussive composition. In and of itself, it is commendable, informed, confident and practiced, but without the company of the orchestra it cannot and shall never be a sweeping, beautiful, moving piece of music.

In regards to your statement on openness, it is very involved and expansige and I apologise if in my attempt, I do not provide you with what you would consider a satisfactory answer.

If I may call on my own experience, I spent countless hours refuting religion. I would spend my nights listening to debates and rejoicing in the righteous indignation of individuals like Christopher Hitchins as he tore the foolish religious zealots asunder! With this said, in my opinion, science never satisfies.

Atheists believe they are the more intelligent, reasoned and analytical group when sharing a room with modern day theists and indeed, the regurgitation of academic study and scientific keynote speakers can provide the illusion of superiority when faced with the average believer and his often anecdotal arsenal.

However, for all of the questions we are desperate to know, vital to giving absolute meaning to our lives and removing undue fear and strife, science and atheists often draw a blank. Neither of us are any closer to knowing how our world began. Although we may reason a satisfactory philosophical argument for our meaning, neither of us are certain of our purpose, what lies beyond the physical realms of our organic state.

In medicine and healing, if one were to pray to a deity for relief from say cancer, atheists and the scientific community would mock and mock in no small measure. However, the stricken individual turns to science and asks why? Why me? Science stirs, perhaps with an air of discomfort "Well, we're not sure. It could be any of these things really, but we're not sure what was the cause"

Alas, science in its infinite wisdom must be able to cure the afflicted though, for our analytical, data driven, IQ orientated profits are certain that hold the keys.

Except, the patient dies. Regardless of our advancements, our funding, our passion and drive and ambition to repeal what is often such an untimely fate, science tries and often fails. Religion tries and often fails. Occasionally, science prevails. Occasionally, religion prevails and to that end we have hundreds of examples of healing and respite and recovery in which science has no explanation.

Perhaps there is a positive correlation between atheism and IQ, but that doesn't prevent some of the most intelligent minds from feeling lonely, from feeling aimless, from feeling lost. IQ does not make a good man or a good woman, or indeed a good person and in my experience, as I'm certain you'll agree from your own, there are plenty of atheists right now, likely some with vast IQs, in the comments of YouTube and posting in forums calling a Christian a moron, and to that end, let's work towards a more peaceful world, a happier world and not exclusively a more academically intelligent one.
Debate Round No. 1
PurpsTheDragon

Pro

(1) Intelligent people are generally more analytical and data-driven; formal religions are the antithesis: they are empirically fluffy and their claims are often in direct contradiction with scientific evidence unless they are interpreted metaphorically " but maybe intelligent people are not that keen on metaphor. Another way of putting it is that people with a high IQ are more likely to have faith in science, which isn't religion's best friends (yes, yes, I do know about Einstein"s quotes).

(2) Intelligent people are less likely to conform, and, in most societies, religiosity is closer to the norm than atheism is. Although this interpretation is based on extrapolation, it still makes sense: first, smarter people tend to be less gullible; second, in most societies, religious people outnumber atheists and agnostics - through global levels of religiosity have been declining, and there is substantial cultural variability in religiosity levels.

(3) Intelligence and religiosity are "functionally equivalent", which means that they fulfill the same psychological role. Although this intriguing argument contradicts points 1 and 2, it deserves serious consideration. Humans will always crave meaning. Religion " like science and logical reasoning " provides them with a comprehensive framework or system to make meaningful interpretations of the world. At times, religion and science are in conflict; but they can also act in concert, complementing each other to answer non-falsifiable and falsifiable questions, respectively. The authors conclude that some people satisfy their desire to find meaning via religion, whereas others do so via logical, analytical, or scientific reasoning " and IQ predicts whether you are in the former or latter group.

It is noteworthy that these three explanations assume that IQ influences religiosity rather than vice-versa, which seems plausible: IQ levels remain very stable after childhood, whereas religiosity levels keep fluctuating " childhood IQ predicts adult IQ, but childhood religiosity is a very poor predictor of adult religiosity.

However, the authors forget to consider an important possibility, which is that the relationship between IQ and religiosity could be caused by a third variable, namely personality. Indeed, Openness to Experience, a personality dimension that predicts an individual"s propensity to display higher levels of intellectual curiosity, aesthetic sensitivity, and be driven by counter-conformist and rebellious attitudes, is positively correlated with IQ, and, like IQ, stable from an early age. Furthermore, there is also ample evidence suggesting that higher Openness may cause IQ gains in adulthood because open individuals are more likely to invest time and resources acquiring expertise and knowledge.

By the same token, it is feasible to expect open individuals to be less interested in religion. Their hungry mind makes them gravitate towards scientific or factual explanations, and artistic sensations, rather than religious dogma. This would be in line with the positive association between Openness and tolerance for ambiguity " open people can handle complexity and ambivalence " and the negative link between Openness and need for closure " open people are less likely to see the world in black-or-white terms and are generally more comfortable with uncertainty. Since religion tends to eliminate ambiguity and uncertainty, its "utility" or psychological benefits should be greater for less than more open people, which would explain why religion appeals more to less intelligent individuals " who are generally less open. But what do the data say?

Although there are no meta-analytic studies on the joint or interactive effects of Openness and IQ on religiosity, there are plenty of studies examining the relationship between personality and religiosity. The first large-scale review reported that Openness is negatively correlated with religious fundamentalism and formal religious adherence, albeit weakly. However, Openness was positively correlated with spirituality and "mature religiosity", e.g., emotionality, a quest for meaning, and community, without strict adherence to formal religion. In the same study, religiosity was negatively related to Psychoticism " a trait that captures an individual"s typical levels of self-control, law-abidingness, and empathy. To make matters more complex, Psychoticism and Openness are positively correlated, so the relationship between personality and religiosity may not be straightforward.

It also seems plausible that different elements or facets of Openness to Experience are differentially related to religiosity and spirituality. For example, a study found that people"s emotional appreciation of religion was negatively related to the more rational or intellectual aspects of Openness, but positively related to artistic imagination and aesthetic sensitivity, two other facets of Openness. Furthermore, non-linear relationships between Openness and attitudes towards religion can also be expected. In particular, individuals with higher Openness may be generally more reticent to embrace formal religious beliefs " but, on the other hand, people who are extremely open would be more able to understand and tolerate individuals who hold such beliefs, even if they don"t share them. In that sense, hardcore atheism and agnosticism are as symptomatic of rigidity and narrow-mindedness as extreme religiosity and highlight an inability to understand alternative Weltanschauungen or opposite systems of values. In any event, associations between IQ and religiosity are at least in part determined by personality traits and values. And let's not forget that there are plenty of people who are both smart and religious - as well as many individuals who are agnostic and dim.
BradleyMSmith

Con

Am I to assume, by the reposting, without alteration, of your opening argument that you are not actually seeking a debate but only to voice your opinion and be comforted in the reverberations of your own echo chamber?

That's a shame.

All the best.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Ray2 3 months ago
Ray2
They have to be children to be happy
Posted by sansskelepun 5 months ago
sansskelepun
Look the deal hear is if you yourself are not religious you have no right to speak about those who are like this. I myself am religious but at the same time am analytical and logical, it is very possible to be spiritually inclined and still look at things through science and logic.
Posted by Coolguy11 6 months ago
Coolguy11
Nah, mental retardation by definition is an IQ below a certain threshold (70?). The definition of the term has nothing to do with religion. I can respect the argument that religious people are not thinking clearly but that does not mean they are retarded.
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