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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Science: Liberals and atheists are more intelligent

Nothing that we hadn't thought, but this is a nice way to confirm it. Of course, later might come another study that challenges this, but so far, this is a pretty good sign of what might be the result of such study

Liberals and Atheists Smarter? Intelligent People Have Values Novel in Human Evolutionary History, Study Finds

More intelligent people are statistically significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.

Yeah, more likely. That doesn't mean that every liberal will be smarter than any conservative, but put a bunch of them together and you get a result like the above.

The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly

Peer-reviewed. Like in many scientists check that and agreed.

In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals.

While that bully at your school that used to get F's and push around? Might end up with a radio show that tells teabaggers what to do.

Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see "the hands of God" at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. "Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid," says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. "So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists.

You can actually see the paranoia nowadays. With earthquakes around, some religious people wouldn't fail us and came to say "This is the work of God". Actually, anything bad that happens might be the "work of God" for something they don't like, such as gay-marriage or beliefs other than christianity.

So, what are the lessons after this story? No, it's not that you can now be smug and look down on others without even knowing them. You might be the exception to the rule. The moral of the story (if there is one) could be that if you are a liberal non-believer, then you have nothing to be ashamed of. You have no reason to say nothing to your bible-thumping in-law. You have no reason to not stand up against aggressive conservatives. If you disagree, it's likely that you do because you are more intelligent, because you care about others (people of other beliefs, foreigners, gays, etc), or because you are evolved enough not to be paranoid of everything that is around you. But always remember to check that twice. You might be the exception to the rule.

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Blasfema libremente

"Que esté permitido a cada uno pensar como quiera; pero que nunca le esté permitido perjudicar por su manera de pensar" Barón D'Holbach
"Let everyone be permitted to think as he pleases; but never let him be permitted to injure others for their manner of thinking" Barón D'Holbach