Study Suggests Atheists Are More Intelligent Because They Can Override Religious Instinct


A new study conducted by researchers from the UK and the Netherlands found that religion could be an instinct or rejection of instinct, being able to “rise above it,” is correlated with intelligence. 



The researchers paper was published in Evolutionary Psychology Science, and they introduced the Intelligence-Mismatch Association model. It was debated by them that religion is an “evolved domain,” which is what we’d refer as an instinct.



“If religion is an evolved domain then it is an instinct, and intelligence – in rationally solving problems – can be understood as involving overcoming instinct and being intellectually curious, and thus open to non-instinctive possibilities,” says co-author Edward Dutton, from the Ulster Institute for Social Research in the UK.


The researcher’s ideas are similar to the work of evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa’s Savanna-IQ Principles. We haven’t changed as much from our free roaming on the savanna, so this argument points out that our psyche is highly influenced by how the first homo sapiens handled the world in ancient times. In a meta-analysis consisting of 63 studies, it was found there is a huge negative link between how intelligent and religious people are.

It’s clear that this is an ongoing trend, which means that on average, those who aren’t religious (atheists) are considered to be more intelligent than those who are devout religious individuals. However, this isn’t meant to tell each single person that religion doesn’t change the ability to be intelligent. There are many religious people who are smart as well as there are unintelligent atheists. 

Dutton worked with co-author Dimitri Van Der Linden from out of Rotterdam University on developing a model that looks into the genetic distinction between intelligence and instinct. They focused primarily on stress and instinct because people are more instinctive and less rational in overwhelming times.

Rationality and intelligence works to help cope with acting on instinct in those times.“If religion is indeed an evolved domain – an instinct – then it will become heightened at times of stress when people are inclined to act instinctively, and there is clear evidence for this,” Dutton continued. “It also means that intelligence allows us to able to pause and reason through the situation and the possible consequences of our actions.”

To the researchers, they think this factor has quite a huge consequence in peoples ability to solve problems. Problem-solving skills are vital in today’s world as society has evolved over the past 10-20,000 years and our instinct could sometimes prove to be a hindrance to productivity. It’s often termed by researchers as an evolutionary mismatch: what was an advantage for our nomadic, hunter-gatherer ancestors could as well be a disadvantage to us now. The human psyche is a complex mystery and we all know this debate isn’t over.





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Study Suggests Atheists Are More Intelligent Because They Can Override Religious Instinct Study Suggests Atheists Are More Intelligent Because They Can Override Religious Instinct Reviewed by Jamm Real on 16:36:00 Rating: 5
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