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Liberalism and Atheism Linked To IQ

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the let-the-flamewar-begin dept.

Idle 33

Pharmboy writes "CNN is reporting that Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national US sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly."

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Liberals hate stereotyping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31319924)

Except when stereotyping can be used to ridicule someone they dislike.

Re:Liberals hate stereotyping (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#31320982)

From TFA: Neither Bailey nor Kanazawa identify themselves as liberal; Bailey is conservative and Kanazawa is "a strong libertarian."

So where exactly is the part where Liberals are stereotyping and ridiculing anything? Or are you suggesting scientific research should be suppressed when somebody's feelings might get hurt?

Re:Liberals hate stereotyping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31321330)

No, just in general life. In my home country, there was a televised quiz ten years ago where people would dial in, give their political affiliation by touchtone, and then answer logical quiz questions on screen. After this debate the "IQ by political party" was shown. The party that is most opposed to the traditional liberal parties scored far lower than the others. Despite everything wrong with that measure (including e.g. touching in for a different political party and answering every question wrongly) this is regularly brought up in debates ten years later.

Since we are in the business of voting on universal moral laws (in this case the law "should scientific research be suppressed where feelings can be hurt?"), should I presume that the law we agree on should also apply to research on connections between IQ and ethnicity or IQ and GDP?

Re:Liberals hate stereotyping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31321412)

Despite everything wrong with that measure (including e.g. touching in for a different political party and answering every question wrongly) this is regularly brought up in debates ten years later.

So one "side" figured out how to game the results of a poll on intelligence, and the other side didn't figure it out ... hmmm ... I wonder if there are any implications on intelligence of the respondents here.

Re:Liberals hate stereotyping (2, Interesting)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326982)

Shut the fuck up. I'm betting that this stupid research was faked by 4chan as a joke.

Liberal Athiest Says he is Smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31320248)

This Satoshi Kanazawa has previously made statements attacking conservatives and is an evolutionary psychologist. So he is a liberal atheist, who is claiming that same group is smarter... what a suprise. He has in many cases been accused of confusing causality and correlation. This really just sounds like contrived statistics at it's worst.

Yep, and really smart people choose for themselves (1)

marcus (1916) | more than 3 years ago | (#31320256)

They don't associate themselves with or identify themselves as a member of some class. They make their own decisions.

Sorry, but stereotyping and other forms of generalization don't work very well when you are dealing with the long tail, on either side of the peak.

Re:Yep, and really smart people choose for themsel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31320482)

Participants who said they were atheists had an average IQ of 103 in adolescence, while adults who said they were religious averaged 97, the study found.

Not sure how significant this finding is, but you most certainly are not dealing with the far end of either side of the tail.

Re:Yep, and really smart people choose for themsel (1)

marcus (1916) | more than 3 years ago | (#31321096)

Yes, that was my point. Note "really smart people". Minor variations to either side of the norm might produce measurable statistics. Once you get to the extremes, you can no longer make such generalizations.

So, if he wants to establish some equivalence between higher IQ scores and higher "liberalness" he fails because people that score higher than the stated 103 will not classify themselves in such a simple minded manner. This is probably why he did not include any stats about people that score 120, 130, or even more. Unfortunately for him, they don't fit his vision.

Re:Yep, and really smart people choose for themsel (1)

omris (1211900) | more than 3 years ago | (#31321526)

So, if he wants to establish some equivalence between higher IQ scores and higher "liberalness" he fails because people that score higher than the stated 103 will not classify themselves in such a simple minded manner. This is probably why he did not include any stats about people that score 120, 130, or even more. Unfortunately for him, they don't fit his vision.

Citation needed.

You might be brilliant and have personally decided upon many values. But it doesn't mean that those values don't tend to follow the patterns generally accepted as being called "liberal" or "conservative". This report says the participants self-identified as liberal. That does not translate to 'They checked the box marked liberal". I would hope that anyone with a published paper would have a better study design than that.

You claim that he does not report trends with people with higher IQs: have you see an advanced copy of the publication? I can't find anything other than news reports about an upcoming paper, but not the paper itself. I doubt he excluded these people. I think he just grouped all of the participants by different factors and averaged. I might be possible to collect data on ONLY people who have certain IQs and see what patterns of values are common to them, but I will guarantee that that study would be a lot more problematic.

I see what you're getting at, overall, but it doesn't negate the trends they found. Which is that the average IQ of people classified as liberals is higher than non liberals, the average IQ of sexually exclusive men is higher than non sexually exclusive men (but not true for women), and the average IQ of atheists is higher than non-atheists. The end.

They hypothesize by extrapolating that all of those traits are only more recently salient in terms of reproductive fitness and survival. This you can take as much issue with as you want. I personally can't see how being intelligent makes you more likely to reproduce in a first world country, so I have trouble with the idea that intelligence is a positive selection factor at all right now.

No citation available (1)

marcus (1916) | more than 3 years ago | (#31323236)

I know it is a small sample, but I've just been fortunate enough to know well and frequently fraternize with several(4 in particular I'm thinking of) really bright people. They are hard for me to classify. As simply as I can state it, they are all very interesting. There are certainly variations among them as they are from the 4 corners of the continent. Yet there are some common features. All came from relatively poor to mid class families. All are well read, but with different interests. All consume drugs for entertainment, alcohol and/or other. A couple are serious devoted sports fans, while two have no interests there. All work in the semiconductor industry. All have a strange, twisted, and sharp sense of humor. You do not want to get into an insult joust with any of them. If I might attempt some generalizations in the current context, they would be socially liberal as in "free". That is, they don't give a damn what your skin color is, unless it makes you sexy exotic somehow. Nor do they care what kind of sex you like; rather they are more likely to want to join in if you show them something different. Finally, they don't care much what you think of their tastes either.

On other matters they are universally quite conservative, intolerant of sheer stupidity and ignorance in themselves and others. The most anger I have ever seen in any of them was in one when he, or the government did something stupid. They are all fiscally sound, think the government should be also, and freedom loving nearly anarchistic. All seem to have a certain recklessness, what one described as "a healthy disrespect for the law". One was the first to reveal to me the concept that "just because it's the law doesn't make it right". If my dad ever heard that, he'd go up in flames.

If you asked any of them "Are you a liberal?" They'd all say no. I'm sure of it. Same for the conservative question. They certainly don't fit any modern representation of "moderate" either as some of their ideas are, at least in these modern contexts, pretty harsh.

Skipping to the end of your post, if intelligence has any effect at all on the reproductive success rate in the modern world, it seems to be counter productive. So I certainly agree with you there.

Re:No citation available (1)

omris (1211900) | more than 3 years ago | (#31323786)

I happen to agree with the sentiment that the farther out on the bell curve, the less categorizable you are. But that surely has to work both ways. Maybe the reason that the average is 6 points apart is because everyone in the bell curve shakes out even, but more people with genius level IQ tend to fit "liberal", or maybe more people with numbers below 70 fit "non-liberal". Without the actual data, it's impossible to say. However, no matter how it shakes out, I don't think it effects the fact that the numbers manage to be statistically significant at the end of the day.

I would also guess that this guy had a task force of post docs checking every variable they could come up with against average IQ to find these three factors that correlated amongst the hundreds that showed no correlation. Some people see that as a stretch. I happen to think it's just thorough science.

The problem with any personally selected experimental group is the personally selected part. Maybe you just attract brilliant libertarians. I know *I* tend to...

Re:Yep, and really smart people choose for themsel (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31320642)

Sorry, but stereotyping and other forms of generalization don't work very well when you are dealing with the long tail, on either side of the peak.

The article is about a whopping single digit difference. Not exactly the long tail in the 160s range or the 40s range.

"Participants who said they were atheists had an average IQ of 103 in adolescence, while adults who said they were religious averaged 97, the study found."

Now if they tested for gullibility instead of intelligence, I'm sure the correlation would be far stronger.

Re:Yep, and really smart people choose for themsel (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31331854)

This study was obviously intended to include as many people as possible to get a difference between 'average' liberals/conservatives and atheists/religious. That the bell curves are only slightly divergent in the middle is still significant. If you want to talk about the highest range, it's already well known (isn't it?) that most PhDs are 'non-religious' if not outright atheists. Look it up.

Re:Yep, and really smart people choose for themsel (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31340910)

They don't associate themselves with or identify themselves as a member of some class. They make their own decisions.

Right, and that's a good point. I would imagine that there would be a just as significant, but higher-strength correlation between high IQ and having different religious views than what you were brought up with.

High IQ enables you to examine what you grew up with critically. Sometimes that results in atheism, sometimes it results in moving from fundamentalism to the mainstream, and sometimes it leads to non-traditional religious positions such as Bahai, John Shelby Spong-style ultra-liberal Christianity, and "spiritual but not religious".

Most religions were started by exceptionally smart people, and most religious reformers were, too.

Meh (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#31320630)

There'll be more of a connection between social standing and life experiences to liberalism and atheism than IQ. I have a pretty high IQ to be honest, so here are my experiences.

I grew up in a home where religion was never ever talked about even though my grandmother was treasurer of the church. I was atheist from a young age, 4 or 5 is when I recall a conversation coming up with my uncle's new wife. Cancers and other experiences kept me on that path, but I'm not anti-religous, I understand its role in society.

Politically I'm a moderate, which for most people on /. means I'm either a right-wing nutjob or a RINO lefty. Whatever. Politics are framed from my life's history.

Re:Meh (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327228)

Certainly there will be far more connection with social standing and life experiences...but at the same time those things might "average" out. Not in ~mathematical sense though; I imagine life stories are too diverse to be usefull, and with too many possible outcomes from similar storylines; a helluva of interweaving.

The results would probably greatly depend on subtle sorting criteria. With great opportunity for biases of all kind. So also easily dismissed if somebody doesn't like the criteria and results.

IQ is, comparativelly, a very straightforward and clear factor.

Just for an example: from last two sentences of your post it seems we might be quite similar on the things you wrote about (even if with some differences: recognizing the role of religion...yup, though also because I, in a way, enjoy deconstructing it - to exploit its mechanisms too, quite anti if you ask me...; likewise I fall into "extremes" on many issues if only because I don't approach anything via any partyline...but people probably think I'm "RINO lefty" (whatever that means ;p ) more often, simply because at my place the right more often crosses my path)

But, from few bits you shared, our life stories are probably quite dissimilar.

Re:Meh (1)

eam (192101) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328800)

>Politically I'm a moderate, which for most people on /. means I'm either a right-wing nutjob or a RINO lefty.

Not just on /.

Re:Meh (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31331076)

Exactly, everything is so polarized now that people like Reagan or TR would either be called a "lefty" or a "fascist", theres no more "in the middle" in US politics.

RINO ? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31356802)

I'm either a right-wing nutjob or a RINO lefty

"RINO" being an acronym for "Republican In Name Only"?
Which, if I understand American politics correctly means "someone pretending to be a lunatic right-winger", as opposed to someone who actually is a lunatic right winger.
Which raises the question of why would someone pretend to be a lunatic? Well, that's America for you.

Re:RINO ? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31359840)

The mainstream Republicans are not "lunatic right-wingers". Mainstream Republicans are the folks who engaged the People's Republic of China, believe trade is good, don't like abortions but don't call people names over it.

The National Review crowd generally are "main stream Republicans".

Tea Bag Party is a spin to the right of the "main stream Republicans".

"Lunatic Right Wingers" are your Ron Paul types, you can find them over at Lewrockwell.com and past them to the right killing Abortion Doctors.

Saying all Republicans are "lunatic right-wingers" is like saying all Democrats are "lefty moonbats who commit eco-terror and are vegan".

The fringy folks who spin more paleo-conservative call moderate Republicans like Scott Brown, or back in the day, Mark Hatfield or Teddy Roosevelt RINOs.

"In 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt, then-President William Howard Taft and Senator Robert LaFollette fought for ideological control of the Republican Party and each denounced the other two as "not really Republican." The Taft faction went on to control the national ticket until 1936."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_In_Name_Only [wikipedia.org]

Certainly (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 3 years ago | (#31320646)

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.,; the director of the Human Genome Project, and author of "The Language of God," would disagree...

Re:Certainly (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327248)

Certainly you don't think that this study was about few handpicked individuals and not about large scale dynamics of human populations, do you?

I think Georges Lemaitre would disagree (1)

Slotty (562298) | more than 3 years ago | (#31321512)

Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître was a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, honorary prelate, professor of physics and astronomer at the Catholic University of Leuven. He sometimes used the title Abbé or Monseigneur.
.

Lemaître proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, which he called his 'hypothesis of the primeval atom'.

No reasons why faith & science can't co exist

Re:I think Georges Lemaitre would disagree (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 3 years ago | (#31321918)

They do co-exist.

They just completely contradict each other, as well.

Re:I think Georges Lemaitre would disagree (2, Insightful)

omris (1211900) | more than 3 years ago | (#31323948)

Yes, a literal interpretation of any religious book usually can't coexist with reason and rationality. But taking religion as a moral tradition, it really doesn't have to have any issue with science.

And please remember, no matter how many single instances of intelligent conservative religious sluts you want to break out, it doesn't change the data of a large pool or respondents like this. That isn't how statistics work. You average them in. And the fact that they achieved statistically significant results means that when you average in ALL the numbers (including the people who don't fit the pattern) the pattern will remain. That's what significant means: that it isn't just random chance, dependent on how you chose your samples.

And a friendly science reminder: to say that smart people are more likely to be liberal is inaccurate, as it assumes that the high IQ causes the liberal thoughts. Maybe being liberal MAKES you smarter. So maybe if that guy wasn't a priest he would have been even smarter. But realistically, you just don't have to read that much into it. Every group has outliers.

Re:I think Georges Lemaitre would disagree (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327276)

That's a rather complex example (nvm that the story is not about individual examples...); it's quite possible that one of the inspirations for Lemaître was the need to reconcile the state of science at his time with the story of clear beginning from his religious texts.

Now - would you be so good and give us examples contrary to your punch line? There's plenty of them. Also happening right now.

That and (2, Interesting)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 3 years ago | (#31322404)

vegetarianism:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061215090916.htm [sciencedaily.com]

And people's prejudices affect how food tastes:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080716205208.htm [sciencedaily.com]

But IQ is a load of crap.

Same item, but on ScienceDaily:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224132655.htm [sciencedaily.com]

Conclusion? (1)

fireball84513 (1632561) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326326)

So wait, are you saying that if I decide to become liberal and atheist, I will spontaneously acquire a higher IQ?

Re:Conclusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31326802)

No, its saying that if you acquire a higher IQ, you will spontaneously become liberal and atheist.

Bullshit (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326970)

As a liberal and an atheist with a high IQ, I'd like to call bullshit on this study. It is VERY suspicious. It's like all that Bell Curve bullshit from a few years back that tried to say that black people averaged a lower IQ because of their genetics. Bullshit.

So you got it from me first. This thing is bullshit. I haven't looked him up, but if the author doesn't turn out to be a pure bullshit artist, I'll have sex with Cowboy Neal.

It's bullshit.

Re:Bullshit (2, Informative)

billius (1188143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328552)

Ask and ye shall receive: Kanazawa appears to support the link between race and intelligence [guardian.co.uk] :

In the paper he cites Ethiopia's national IQ of 63, the world's lowest, and the fact that men and women are only expected to live until their mid-40s as an example of his finding that intelligence is the main determinant of someone's health.

Having examined the effects of economic development and income inequality on health, he was 'surprised' to find that IQ had a much more important impact, he said. 'Poverty, lack of sanitation, clean water, education and healthcare do not increase health and longevity, and nor does economic development.'

He also seems to be a fan of nuclear war?

Here’s a little thought experiment. Imagine that, on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers came down, the President of the United States was not George W. Bush, but Ann Coulter. What would have happened then? On September 12, President Coulter would have ordered the US military forces to drop 35 nuclear bombs throughout the Middle East, killing all of our actual and potential enemy combatants, and their wives and children. On September 13, the war would have been over and won, without a single American life lost. Yes, we need a woman in the White House, but not the one who’s running.

-Satoshi Kanazawa (source [psychologytoday.com] ) This guy seems to make a habit out of making crazy claims to get attention. Move along, nothing to see here.

Boo-yah! (1)

Mourice (264300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327298)

'nuff said.

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