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(RNS) Are people with high IQs more likely to be liberal, atheist and monogamous?
They are, according to a recently published paper by Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In a controversial article in the March issue of the journal Social Psychology Quarterly, Kanazawa suggested that young adults with higher intelligence scores are more likely to say they do not attend religious services; they also identify themselves as liberal.
His research is based on U.S. data that showed young adults who self-identify as “not at all religious” had an average IQ of 103, while those with an average IQ of 97 identified as “very religious.”
Kanazawa, who called himself a libertarian and atheist, said there are evolutionary reasons for his findings. Smarter people, he argued, are more willing to adopt “evolutionarily novel” thinking and values.
Humans, he said, are naturally designed to be conservative and put a high value on family and friends. So, Kanazawa wrote, “What is conservative in the U.S. — caring about your family and your friends and your kin — is sort of evolutionarily familiar.”
By contrast, caring about unrelated strangers (what Kanazawa calls
liberalism) is “evolutionarily novel,” as is thinking rationally about natural phenomena, like drought and pestilence, rather than seeking supernatural intentions behind such disasters.
Belief in God comes out of paranoia, he said. Hunter/gatherers needed a supernatural explanation for natural phenomena, like lightning, drought and pestilence.
“Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid,” said Kanazawa. “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.”
The study also found that men with higher IQs tended to be monogamous.
Since it was released, Kanazawa’s research has been criticized for his use of IQ scores as a measure of intellect and for his limited sample of American young adults who self identified as liberal or conservative and “very religious” or “not at all religious.”
— Leanne Larmondin
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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