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 U.S. 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.Now as I am a liberal AND an atheist, I'd like very much to believe this is true. But as I am a member of the reality based community, I have to be shown something that at least looks like data before supporting it.
And that's where this comes up short. CNN gives us some "numbers" (and you get a donut if you can spot the red flags):
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. Atheism "allows someone to move forward and speculate on life without any concern for the dogmatic structure of a religion," Bailey said.So adults who said they were religious scored a 97 while adolescents who were atheists scored a 103.
Setting aside the murky word usage here (how are "religious" and "atheist" defined? Dunno I do know a few Buddhists who'd say it's possible to be religious AND atheist, but I digress.) isn't it messy to compare adult IQ with adolescent IQ?
Then there's this:
The study found that young adults who said they were "very conservative" had an average adolescent IQ of 95, whereas those who said they were "very liberal" averaged 106.I am curious about the inclusion of the adverb "very." What do the numbers look like when one just looks at self-described liberals vs self-described conservatives (i.e. without the "very")? How do those populations compare to each other in size? And how large is each "very" segment compared to those larger populations?
It's necessary to know this stuff before believing any of this CNN article.
I'll let this post have the penultimate word:
Seriously? Show me the error bars on those measurements. Show me the reliability of IQ as a measure of actual, you know, intelligence. Show me that a 6 point IQ difference matters at all in your interactions with other people, even if it were real. And then to claim that these differences are not only heritable, but evolutionarily significant…jebus, people, you can just glance at it and see that it is complete crap.I can't say complete crap but there's enough to doubt in the piece on Kanazawa to safely toss all this in the "ignore this" pile.