Thursday, June 12, 2008

Are Atheists Cleverer than Theists?

Professor Richard Lynn thinks atheists are brighter than the Godly.

We’ve heard this sort of thing before, most especially that scientists tend to be less religious than non-scientists. This has always left me feeling a little confused as to how I became a Christian studying for a physics degree. Maybe I’m not a real scientist as my PhD is in an arts subject.

Dr Giles Fraser thinks Lynn’s argument is a front for racism. Fraser, sadly, has yet to recover the credibility he squandered when he claimed Mel Gibson’s movie Apocalypto was really about the Jews. Still, with Lynn he might have a point, as he is on record saying that black people are less clever that whites.

But I think Lynn might have a point (on religion rather than race). It seems to me that your average atheist is of above-average intelligence. He reads books by Dawkins and Sagan that do require a bit more in the way of brain cells than the football pages of the tabloid newspapers. Likewise, he is likely to have a reasonable education.

All of which only goes to prove the adage “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” For while I’m willing to concede that atheists may be brighter than the norm, they think they are a tribe of geniuses, which patently they are not. And, as Christopher Howse has pointed out, a few years ago many of our brightest academics were paid-up Marxists. Not the best of precedents, you might think.

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