The Religious A priori

An evaluation of Atheist Claims

Who is Smarter? Page 2.

The Site goes on to compare student bodies.


Percentage of students who believe in a divine god: Harvard 30; UCLA 32; Dartmouth 35; Yale 36; Cornell 42; Wayne 43; Weslyan 43; Michigan 45; Fisk 60; Texas 62; North Carolina 68.2. National Review Study, 1970

Percentage of students who believe in a Spirit or Divine God: Reed 15; Brandeis 25; Sarah Lawrence 28; Williams 36; Stanford 41; Boston U. 41; Yale 42; Howard 47; Indiana 57; Davidson 59; S. Carolina 65; Marquette 77.

[O look what happens here! The scores go way up for God, especially at S. Carolina and Marquette why is that? And all the Ivy league and big name schools its near 50%, is this really evidence? Why a greater percentage of believers at Harvard and Yale than at UT? Better schools?]

3. Caplovitz and Sherrow, 1977

Apostasy rates rose continuously from 5 percent in "low" ranked schools to 17 percent in "high" ranked schools.

4. Niemi, Ross, and Alexander, 1978:

In elite schools, organized religion was judged important by only 26 percent of their students, compared with 44 percent of all students.[but this is contradicted by the stats given above. Maquettee is a religious school.]


1. Terman, 1959:

Studied group with IQ's over 140. Of men, 10 percent held strong religious belief, of women 18 percent. Sixty-two percent of men and 57 percent of women claimed "little religious inclination" while 28 percent of the men and 23 percent of the women claimed it was "not at all important."

2. Warren and Heist, 1960

Found no differences among National Merit Scholars. Results may have been effected by the fact that NM scholars are not selected on the basis of intelligence or grades alone, but also on "leadership" and such like.[yea, right, couldn't be because there is no real correllation? But this is again, counter evidence]

3. Southern and Plant, 1968

Studied 42 male and 30 female members of Mensa. Mensa members were much less religious in belief than the typical American college alumnus or adult.This doesn't even give percentages. It says what percentage was studied but doens't say what percentaged believed or not. It kind of makes one wonder doens't it? How much is "much less?"

This next one is extremely amusing because he just dogmatically decides that Unitarians and main line protestants are not religious and than shows that almost all of these accomplished scientists have high numbers of these sorts of people in them. But in fact he's actually proving that a lot of them are religious, and he just assumes that non-fundamentalist Christians equates to non-religious! he's actually giving coutner evidence! STUDIES Of SCIENTISTS:

1. William S. Ament, 1927

"C. C. Little, president of the University of Michigan, checked persons listed in Who's Who in America: "Unitarians, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Universalists, and Presbyterians [who are less religious] areŠ far more numerous in Who's Who than would be expected on the basis of the population which they form. Baptists, Methodists, and Catholics are distinctly less numerous."So in fact all he's really proven is that intelligence corrollates to liberal notions, but I knew that! That in now way argues for reigious belief corrollating with lesser intelligence and he has no right to assume that these liberal groups are less religious!Ament confirmed Little's conclusion. He noted that Unitarians, the least religious, were more than 40 times as numerous in Who's Who as in the U.S. population.Which actually means that there are many religious people in that category! All he's really proven is that intelligent people may not like organized religion or more conservative religion!"

2. Lehman and Witty, 1931

"Identified 1189 scientists found in both Who's Who (1927) and American Men of Science (1927). Only 25 percent of those listed in the latter and 50 percent of those in the former reported their religious denomination, despite the specific request to do so, under the heading of "religious denomination (if any)." Well over 90 percent of the general population claims religious affiliation. The figure of 25 percent suggests far less religiosity among scientists."

Of course fully half or more didn't report it so we dont' know, but he concludes that slience equals proof for his thesis!Unitarians were 81.4 times as numerous among eminent scientists as non-Unitarians.Which proves? NOthing.

3. Kelley and Fisk, 1951

Found a negative (-.39) correlation between the strength of religious values and research competence. [How these were measured is unknown.]But that's ok, we can trust it anyway can't we? And why? Because we want to! 4. Ann Roe, 1953

Interviewed 64 "eminent scientists, nearly all members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences or the American Philosophical Society. She reported that, while nearly all of them had religious parents and had attended Sunday school, 'now only three of these men are seriously active in church. A few others attend upon occasion, or even give some financial support to a church which they do not attendŠ All the others have long since dismissed religion as any guide to them, and the church plays no part in their livesŠ A few are militantly atheistic, but most are just not interested.'"

NAS is also self selecting, so it can become a club and keep out those with oppossing views.

5. Francis Bello, 1954

Interviewed or questionnaired 107 nonindustrial scientists under the age of 40 judged by senior colleagues to be outstanding. Of the 87 responses, 45 percent claimed to be "agnostic or atheistic" and an additional 22 percent claimed no religious affiliation. For 20 most eminent, "the proportion who are now a-religious is considerably higher than in the entire survey group." Which actually proves that fewer than 50% were atheist or agnostic, so by his logic, this means atheists and agnostics are less intelligent. But of course he's assuming that silence equals proof for his view!

6. Jack Chambers, 1964

"Questionnaired 740 US psychologists and chemists. He reported, "The highly creative menŠ significantly more often show either no preference for a particular religion or little or no interest in religion." Found that the most eminent psychologists showed 40 percent no preference, 16 percent for the most eminent chemists."

Matter of opinion.

7. Vaughan, Smith, and Sjoberg, 1965

"Polled 850 US physicists, zoologists, chemical engineers, and geologists listed in American Men of Science (1955) on church membership, and attendance patterns, and belief in afterlife. Of the 642 replies, 38.5 percent did not believe in an afterlife, whereas 31.8 percent did. Belief in immortality was less common among major university staff than among those employed by business, government, or minor universities. The Gallup poll taken about this time showed that two-thirds of the U.S. population believed in an afterlife, so scientists were far less religious than the typical adult."


"The consensus here is clear: more intelligent people tend not to believe in religion. And this observation is given added force when you consider that the above studies span a broad range of time, subjects and methodologies, and yet arrive at the same conclusion."

Of course this conclusion is totally unsupported by the data. Over half the studies of students were actually counter evidence, the scientists are rife with religious believers and more often than not we don't know how the conclusions were arrived at!! More significatly that website doesn't even mention the studies that found no significant relationship, or a positive one, between religosity and intelligence!!! Now of course he's also assuming that scientist are the most intelligent people. It couldn't be that more materialistically inclined people go into science because they are attracted to the naturalistic thinking, the reductionism, and because it supports their ideological views? No of course not, scientists are just the only intelligent people! What about historians? What percentage of historians are believers? OR artists, poets, English professors, why can't they be intelligent? Because they don't control things and play with numbers! Because science is the atheist er zotz religion that protects him from God so naturally he thinks that the scientist is like a priest of his er zots religion! In reality of course scientists are not the only intelligent people, and it makes more sense that the more intelligent religious people would go into theology or something related. He doesn't even bother to study that, that would be a biased group (of course science isn't'!??). If he studied theologians I bet he would find the incidence of smart practitioners who believe in God going way way up!

Summary of major facts that destroy this hypothesis

1) Better studis destory the hypothesis of a reliationship between intelligence and athiesm.

a. The most recent study (fracis already sited)1998

b. The trend is toward positive or netural findings

All of the negative finding studies were from the 20s-50s. All the positive or neutral studies were from 60's to 90s. The more recent studies in the past four decades is toward nuetral or positive findings. The reason for this is porbably because religious children are expossed to more complex questions and faith challenges at a younger age so their faith is stronger (Hoge) and/or study methology is greatly improved since the 50's. Social sciences are better at measuring attritudes and better at finding relationships, less baised, and when the Fruedian bias is removed, the studies find less of a relation beween low intellegence scores and religosity.

c. Frudian bias tainted earlier studies

National Instititue for Healthcare Research.

New study debunks clims linking Relgious Fath and Intelligence

This study of 711 students ages 15 to 16 from schools throughout England found "no evidence of a relationship, either positive or negative, between intelligence and religiosity," found Dr. Leslie Francis of the University of Wales Lampeter. For decades psychologists claimed religious beliefs meant lower intelligence, Dr. Francis noted. For instance, M. Argyle asserted four decades ago that "intelligent students are much less likely to accept orthodox beliefs, and rather less likely to have pro-religious attitudes." Dr. Francis traced this to Freud, an avowed atheist, who asserted that "religious beliefs are magical and irrational and not conducive to the development of the rational intellect." Yet some research--like this study--investigated Freud's opinion and found it faulty. These studies found that religious faith and intelligence were independent of each other and holding religious beliefs did not necessarily mean a low IQ. In this recent study students were given intelligence tests designed to assess their ability to form comparisons, reason by analogy, and develop a logical method of thinking. These tested the ability to reason and solve problems with new information without highly relying on a particular knowledge base, which might vary among schools and personal experience.

Freud is less accepted now than he was in the 20's -50's, psychology is much less suspcious of religious belief and more apt to assume that the unbliever is mal adjusted (see the religious instinct argument under 35 arguments for God)

d. Francis replicated triwce (3 Francis studies)

"The major conclusion to emerge from these data concerns the absense of a significant religionship between intelligence and attitude toward Christainity. This is significant with the findings by Fracis (1979.,1986) taken together these studies clearly challenge the research consesus formulated in the late ' is now consistantly found to be the case that intelligence and religosity are uncorreleted...(192)"

e. Measure used by Fracis best meaure of intelligence

Many experts consider this measure to be among the purest measures of intelligence. These students also filled out a scale of 24 questions used in 100 other studies as a reliable measure regarding their feelings about religious beliefs such as God, the Bible, Jesus, prayer, and church. The study also took into account the student¼s social class.When intelligence and religious attitudes were compared, Dr. Francis found no links: "These statistics confirm there is no significant relationship between intelligence and attitude toward Christianity."

Francis, Leslie J. "The Relationship Between Intelligence and Religiosity Among 15-16-Year-Olds," Mental Health, Religion and Culture 1998; 1(2): 185-196. 1 Argyle, M. Religious Behavior, London 1958: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 2 Freud, S. The Future of an Illusion, New Haven 1950: Yale University Press 3 Francis, L.J "School Influence and Pupil Attitude Towards Religion." British Journal of Educational Psychology 1979; 49: 107-123; and 4 Francis, L.J "Denominational Schools and Pupil Attitude Towards Christianity." British Educational Research Journal 1986; 49: 145-152

f. sample sizes for postive and neutral studies much larger

2) Professors Represent the Same proportion of Religious Belief as General Public.
Students in the first year of collage or last year of high school will be more rebellious, since they are testing the limits of their new found adulthood for the first time. This means they may tend to reject their parent's teachings, but might come back to them in latter life. It might also be that the even ore intelligent cream of the crop will go on to graduate school and these will tend to be more religious than the overall student body of undergradute school. In fact this is borne out by the stats on religious belief among professors in colleges and universities. We can assume that professors are a more highly educated and more intelligent group than the general public. Yet religious belief among professors reflects that of the generanl public, overwehalmingly believes in God.

Sociology 265--News Articles
Natalie Angier

c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service

"Several recent surveys of American college professors, ..., show that professors are almost as likely to express a belief in God as are Americans as a whole."

Which means that this large group of more intelligent people reflects the general population, the vast majority of which believe in God. So why doesn't this mean that when you look across the board, not at special interests that are more likely to be materialist, most intelligent people believe in God?

This fact also confirms my previous argument on page one, that we could expect many or most of these kids to become beleivers latter in life. After all, we find that bright kids have a high consentration of atheists in late highschool and than early college, but we also find that professors accorss the board tend to reflect the religious attitudes of the general population. That tells us that with more education, age, maturity, and settaling down, more intelligent people tend to resume their faith.

Just for the thrill of it, here's my list of recent nobel science winners who are Christians:

The scientific fraternity conducted a poll and found that on any given Sunday 46% of Ph.D. holders in science can be found in church. That compares with 47% for the general population (in Alan Lightman Origins: The Lives and World of Modern Cosmologists (Harvard University press, 19990).

Fritz Shafer, nominated for Nobel Prize in Chemistry, University of Georgia, himself a Christian: "it is very rare that a physical scientists is truly an atheist."Martin Rees at Cambridge: "The possibility of life as we know it depends upon a few basic values which are constants. And it is in some aspect remarkably sensitive to their heir numerical values. Nature does exhibit remarkable coincidences."

Charlie Towns, Nobel prize winner: "The question of science seems to be unanswered if we explore from science alone. Thus I believe there is a need for some metaphysical or religious explanation. I believe in the concept of God an in his existence."

Arthur Schewhow, Nobel prize winner from Stanford, identifies himself as a Christian, "We are fortunate to have the Bible which tells us so much about God in widely accessible terms."

John Pokingham, theoretical physicist at Cambridge, left physics to become a minister. "I believe that God exists and has made himself known in Jesus Christ."

The world's greatest observational cosmologist Alan Sandage, Caregie observatories, won a prize given by Swedish parliament equivalent to Nobel prize (there is no Nobel prize for cosmology) became a Christian after being a scientist, "The nature of God is not found in any part of science, for that we must turn to the scriptures."

In a lecture by Fritz Shafer from a website by Leadership University:


The last part of that web site about atheists beign smarter is very confussing indeed. He goes on to say:

"This is the result even when the researchers are Christian conservatives themselves. One such researcher is George Gallup. Here are the results of a Fall 1995 Gallup poll:

Percentage of respondents who agreed with the following statements:

Religion is Religion can "very important "answer all or most Respondents in their life" of today's problems" ------------------------------------------------------------ Attended college 53 percent 58 percent
No college 63 65
Income over $50,000 48 56
$30,000 - $50,000 56 62
$20,000 - $30,000 56 60
Under $20,000 66 66

I don't' know why he includes the income levels, but it seems that he is showing that more people who say that religion is not very important go to college than those who say it is important. But that could also be explained by the fact of early adulthood rebellion. He never presents any stats on life long commitment to atheism. And how does he explain the fact that taken across the board college professors reflect religious belief the same as the general population? "Why does this correlation exist?" He says, "The first answer that comes to mind is that religious beliefs tend to be more illogical or incoherent than secular beliefs, and intelligent people tend to recognize that more quickly." But wait, no they aren't! Just because he can't read the works of the great theologians and think rationally about them doesn't mean they aren't rational. This is mere opinion, mere propaganda!

"The simplest and most parsimonious explanation is that religion is a set of logical and factual claims, and those with the most logic and facts at their disposal are rejecting it largely on those grounds." But that shows total and complete theological naivete. What he's actually demonstrated is the opposite of his thesis in his own analysis. Why can't he read the theologians? Why can't he buy a book and find out what religion is? Why doesn't he consult the works of comparative religionists? Religion is not reducible to a mere set of propositions or of "factual claims." There is no correlation between intelligence and religious belief or lack there of. The majority of people are of average intelligence and the majority are religious. Atheism is "in" for young people in teenage rebellion so any comparison will be like comparing the chess club with the rest of the student body. There can be some very bright kids not in the chess club, perhaps even the brightest, but in comparing the chess club to the student body at large the chess club will obviously seem to be much brighter proportionally. IN fact it may well be but what does that prove?

The whole concept that the truth of the case can be decided by which camp has the brightest members is idiotic. But his site does nothing to prove that atheists are smarter. All he really proves is that at a certain time in life more adventurous kids are more likely to expediment, and that materialistically minded people are drawn to reductionistic occupations.

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The Religious A priori