Are Natural Scientists Smarter than Religous Beleivers? Richard Lynn at it again!

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There seems to have come to be a lucrative field for passing off atheist propaganda as "science." There are numerous studies doing this and most of them are what we might call "inadequate." A new one has been added that claims that scientists who study natural science tend to be more intelligent than those who do social sciences becuase they tend to be atheists, it assumes atheists are smarter based upon flawed discredited studies like the one I took apart a few months ago. This new study is called "Intelligence and Religious and Political Differences Among Members of the U.S. Academic Elite," Author: Edward Dutton (University of Oulu) and Richard Lynn (University of Ulster)[1] Dutton says of himself: "I read Theology at Durham University (BA 2002) before beginning a PhD in Social Anthropology of Religion at Aberdeen University (PhD 2006)"[2] We have met Lynn before, "Atheism IQ Scam Bad science and Racist Assumptions,Kanazawa, Nyborg, Lynn, and Hamilton." AW, Jan 2, 2012 

Lynn is one of the atheist racist squad, he's done much more in the past promoting ideas of the intellectual superiority of atheists over religion and people of color. Lynn lent data to Kanazawa who was cenered for racist views by BBC. Lynn supports Euginics and told the BBC "It's time for a 're-think' on eugenics."[3] Along with R.Vanhanen,He wrote IQ and the Wealth of Nations in which he basically said that poor nations are poor because they have lower IQs, and they tend to be colored becuase colored people are not has smart.[4] [5] In an article by Barry Mehler (Soutern Poverty Law Center) Lynn is quoted as saying:

What is called for here is not genocide, the killing off of the populations of incompetent cultures. But we do need to think realistically in terms of "phasing out" of such peoples. If the world is to evolve more better humans, then obviously someone has to make way for them. ... To think otherwise is mere sentimentality.
— Richard Lynn, professor of psychology, University of Ulster-Coleraine, Northern Ireland[6]

 Mehler says:
 What is clear is that the academics who see inherent IQ differences between racial groups have lent support — unwittingly or not — to overt white supremacists. In some cases, this support has gone so far as to become an unapologetic academic embrace of professional racists.
 Now Lynn has assisted Dutton in this new study that supposedly shows that atheists are smarter than Chrsitians and physicists and physical scientists are smarter than social scientists. All of that is based upon IQ.

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We can't get the article online yet, Colleen Flaherty,  quotes the article as saying, “There is sound evidence of a negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity and between intelligence and political extremism,” ... “Therefore the most probable reason behind elite social scientists being more religious than are elite physical scientists is that social scientists are less intelligent.”[7]
In an interview, Dutton said social scientists aren’t stupid, or necessarily extreme in their politics or possessing a belief in God. But, statistically speaking, they have lower IQs than their colleagues in biological and physical sciences and are likelier at elite U.S. and British institutions to be extremely conservative or liberal or religious, or both. Dutton said that there are many similarities between political extremism and religious fundamentalism; in other research, he uses the term “replacement religions” to describe the phenomenon.
Several things are wrong here. First of all the idea that one holds an extreme opinion becasue because it's different from some cultural norm is a very problamtic and most likely ideolgoically based idea. Such allegations are usually ideologically motivated. Secondly, He's assuming IQ is a valid measurement of intelligence, a proposition thoroughly disproved. I've written on this many times. First there is the Atheist IQ scam which seeks to make atheists seem smarter than Christians. Then there's theZuckerman Study on comparision of IQ between religious and non religious people. The study itself was thoroughly discredited, and the concept the link bewteen IQ test scores and prediction of intelligence was disproved in Part 2.
The article goes on to quote Dutton on the intelligence of physical scientsits: "'[Physical] scientists are overwhelmingly atheist,' Dutton said. 'This is predicted by their high IQ, which allows you to rise above emotion and see through the fallacious, emotional arguments.' Arguments about God are all emotional arguments, he added." They base the assumption of the truth of the information on the IQ of the people who teach it. That really has nothing to do with the truth content of the disciplined. The same qualities that they assert phsyical science professors have of rationality and no extreme options might also be indicative of a physiological need for tranquility and/or inability to relate to people that governs the selection of their study matter. In other words like Sheldon on "Big Bang Theory" tv show they chose phsyical sciences not becuase they are more true or they themselves  are smarter but because they socially inept. We also see that Dutton knows little about God arguments. How could anyone think the ontological argument is emotional? Obviously he's never read about it. I also want them to compare IQ of physical scientists to those of mathematicians. Mathematical Genius Godel made ontological arguments for God.

It is not a foregone conclusion to assume that most physical scientist are atheists. That statistic is more limited to the NAS rather than all scinece degree holders.If Church attendance is a measure of belief science degree holders are morel likely to go to church than are non science degree holders: "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 "[8]

The Dutton-Lynd study seeks to make claims to be ground breaking based upon it's meta analysis tying together three areas never before linked: Natural scientist, IQ compared to social scineces, religious beliefs. Flaherty says:

The paper is a meta-analysis of existing data showing several things: that natural scientists have higher IQs than social scientists; that low intelligence “predicts” political extremism and religiosity; and that physical scientists at elite institutions are less likely to believe in God or be politically extreme than their counterparts in the social sciences.
The connection between all three research areas has never been made until now, Dutton said. But – in just one example of potentially problematic methodology – the logic can’t be extended to academe in general. Several studies cited in the paper drawing from a wider mix of colleges and universities than simply the most elite show that life sciences professors are more likely to attend church than their peers in the social sciences, not less. The paper assumes this is because professors at elite institutions are smarter than their peers elsewhere.
That could mean it's ground breaking it could also mean it's bringing together ideas not brought together before because they require stupid assumptions. One assume make is that phsyical scientists are atheist because atheism is more rational and less emotional. The study purports to use IQ as it's soul meaure of intelligence, but then it seem they also use rationality, lack of emotion, they study of subject matter. One example is of obviously biased assumptions is where Dutton tries use assert that their data would used to clear the controversial anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon who has been lambasted for his book Nobel Savages.
The government of Venezuela what Chagnon wrote about the Yanomamo tribe to justify their oppressive measures toward the tribe.[9] Chagnon has been criticized for not taking the responsibility to think how his work by effect the people he lived with, who allowed him to observes their lives. Some resigned form NAS when Chagnon was admitted to it in protest of his membership. Dutton asserts that it would never be a controversy if doctros (ratioanl unemotional smarter non religous people) were making the decisions.

Still, Dutton said the data is intrinsically valuable and has certain real-world applications. For example, he said, it could explain the backlash against notorious anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon upon the publication of his book, Noble Savages, last year. Fellow anthropologists criticized Chagnon’s methodology and conclusions in his research on the Yanomamö tribe in Brazil and Venezuela, and one prominent anthropologist resigned his post at the National Academy of Sciences after Chagnon was elected as a member.  

Dutton said that Chagnon’s controversial findings regarding the tribe likely would not have incited such an “emotional” response from medical doctors, for example.[10]

The data could explain the baclash? How? One has nothing to do with the other, of course what he means is people who are upset about what happened to the tribe are stupid. Smarter people (presumably those who agree with him) would not be upset. Why would they not be upset? would that be perhaps because primitive brown people don't count? The the study is valuable because it would explain to Dutton that smart people would agree with him? That example makes no sense because short of saying "smart agree with me" it doesn't prove anything. That's not proof smart people would say anything, he just asserting they would agree with his view because they are smarter. That's the way I thought when I was 10 years old.

Meta analysis

Dutton and Lynn, like the IQ test to which they allude, by Zuckerman, and others of their circle use a method called "meta analysis." Part of the allure of the Zuckerman study was that it was the first big meta analysis of IQ studies. Meta analysis is a technqiue for combining the results of different independent studies. Meta analysis works best in health care,[11] it's not certain that IQ data would work in the same way. Logically the system depends entirley upon the quality of the work, and a thorough inclusion of all relevant data. 

The danger of unsystematic (or narrative) reviews, with only a portion of relevant
studies included, is that they could introduce bias. Certain (perhaps favourable) reports may be more likely to be included in a review than those which show no significant differences; and informal synthesis may be tainted by the prior beliefs of the reviewer. Meta-analysis carried out on a rigorous systematic review can overcome these dangers –offering an unbiased synthesis of the empirical data
Yeaton and Wortman show us that meta-analysis is a newly popular method that lacks sufficient standards.[13] People are getting carried way with it and trying to make it do all kinds of things. One of the major problems seen by this fascination with the new statistician's toy is that it can be used to mask the problems of individual studies by hiding hem in the statistics of a group of studies. That sounds like the old trick of grading on a curve to get the class average up. 

Meta-analysis on in the social sciences typically report findings on a side range of independent and dependent variables providing a single mean overall reliability score at best.This practice masks the unreliability of individual variables especially those used to calculate measures of effect size that are critical to inference about treatment effectiveness.[14] 
It's not just masking individual studies but whole variables One variable that is obviously masked by Dutton and Lynn is IQ as a predictor of intelligence. This has been criticized, along with their whole data gathering procedure. Flaherty quotes two critics:

Elaine Howard Ecklund, a professor of sociology at Rice University who co-wrote the 2007 study on religion and science professors at 21 elite U.S. research institutions that is key to Dutton’s argument, said via email that she also was “pretty unimpressed by the methods used in this work to access intelligence. It seems sensationalist rather than scholarly.”
Drawing lines between the data to make conclusions about intelligence and religious and political life is “not so simple,” she said.

William H. Swatos, managing editor the Interdisciplinary Journal on Research and Religion, an independent, peer-reviewed online publication affiliated with Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion, said Dutton’s and Lynn’s paper was not typical, either in subject matter or rigor, for the journal. “That was a hard one,” he said, noting that earlier drafts of the paper had even more inflammatory language. But, as both authors have “real” academic credentials, he accepted the article in the interest of scholarly debate and “openness,” he said.[15]
So this is not the great panacea that guarantees all the answers. As a matter of fact I had proved that the Zuckerman IQ study actually leaves out important counter studies to hide the cumulative average.  Zuckerman isn't just masking variables with statistics he's actually leaving out whole studies.

Here are some of the problems I found with the Zuckerman IQ "Meta-Analysis:"[16a]

Problem 1: hints biased interpretation of data

The most recent period of studies (this century) appear to have their biases. Above I alluded to the possibility of bias in the early period (1920's-60s). Now it's time to find examples that might indicate the probability of this bias. Zuckerman and his colleagues quote the first Argyle study (1958), For example,  the first Argyle study found that "intelligent students are much less likely to accept Orthodox beliefs and rather less likely to have pro-religious attitudes."[16b] That could just as easily mean that "Orthodox includes conservative religious ideas but not theologically liberal ones." Does "rather less likely to have pre religious attitudes" equal being atheists? One could self identify as a remember of a religious tradition and have some attitudes that are classified as "not pro religious." I have atheists habitually asserting that liberal theological views are not pro religious. One site on the net where an atheist has argued the IQ issue for a long time, and he makes that assumption. The Inconclusive nature of Argyles findings is born bout by the fact that his second study (with Beit-Hallahmi--1997) draws no conclusion in the matter of the corrolation between intelligence and religous belief, saying "there is no great difference in intelligence between religious and non religious." [17]

How do Zucekrman et al classify that? Do they count the first study as "pro-negative" (correlation between intelligence and religion) and the second as no correlation? What of the implications of the first study in relation to a more liberal understanding of religion? Moreover the Thomas Simington Study (1935) finds that: "There is a constant positive relation in all the groups between liberal religious thinking and mental ability There is also a constant positive relation between liberal scores and intelligence." Thus establishing the link that liberal theological types are high IQ scorers. Oddly enough Zuckeman leaves out this study. Not listed on his bibliography.[18] Thus there is good reason to suspect that they are only using studies that measure the conservative end of belief thus are leaving out the IQ ranges of the more liberal theology inclined. They might also be leaving out the more deeply spiritual as their definition of belief seems to revolve around a more literalistic supernatural "agent" rather than mystical experience. I can't help but remember a statement from one of the studies on mystical experience:

 Overall then we have reason to believe that the studies finding negative correlations has anti-religious biases of the times. They didn't accept liberal theology as religious and sought to compare secular thinking to conservative forms of religion, or they supported the savannah theory genetics and thus see atheism as an advance in human revolution (among other biases). While the 60's studies that tend to find a positive correlation (religion and intelligence) might also have the bias of its own day we would have to examine the specific data to determine its significance.
Problem no 2: Leaving out all the major coutner studies.
There is also a point to be made about the numbers of studies and what's being left. Rathi claims that Zuckerman found 53 out of 63 studies with negative correlation. That's overwhelming unless the 63 studies are bad and the other 10 are good. While that's probably not likely we can raise more questions about the quality of the studies used. Another striking feature is the conspicuous absence of studies known to have findings of a positive correlation. Several studies that I know are positive in correlation are not found in the Zuckerman study:no Simington, no pratt, no Rummell, no Corey. All of these are found in the list by Steve Kangus (the atheist list) (see Note 17). Using his list (some of this were put in the wrong category) I have 6 negative (that high IQ not religious) vs. 17 either positive (High IQ are religious) or no correlation. Yet Rathi counts only 10 that dont' support Zuckerman's correlation. That means somewhere seven studies at least are being overlooked. Fancis says in his first study that the  greater number was with the negative. That doesn't mean the quality studies were negative. So even though it may be that the majority of studies find negative correlation, that doesn't prove that this is the answer. The studies left out (I know there are more than 10 that are not in line with the negative) are conspicuous by their absence.

Zuckerman et al says the reason for leaving studies out is:

Studies were included in the meta-analysis if they examined the relation between intelligence and religiosity at the individual level, and if the effect size (Pearson r) of that relation was provided directly or could be computed from other statistics. For several studies, intelligence and religiosity were measured, but the authors did not report the relation between these two variables. Authors of such studies were contacted to obtain the relevant information. If authors did not respond to our first request, two more reminders were sent. When necessary, second and/or third coauthors were also contacted. Studies that examined the relation between intelligence and religiosity indirectly (e.g., comparisons at group levels, comparisons between scientists and the general population) were excluded
Simington seems to report it. We can't really know more without actually getting hold of the studies but I think this is enough to raise concerns.

Summary: four arguments have been made to the effect that the Zuckerman study may have some problems that bear scrutiny.

This has major effect upon Dutton and Lynn because they rely totally on IQ as their only measure of intelligence. Their whole study stands or falls upon the issue of IQ studies. Yet the Zuckerman study was supposed to be the best, teh biggest, the most complex and the first meta-analysis ever done taking account of all the IQ studies. It's a exercise in bias and full of so many holes it could pass for Swiss cheese. How could this not indicate the weakness of Dutton's work?

all web pages accessed 2/13/14 unless otherwise noted. 

 [1] Edward Dutton and Richard Lynn. "Intelligence and Religious and Political Differences Among Members of the U.S. Academic Elite." The Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion,
 Volume 10, Article 1 (2014). URL:
Author:Edward Dutton  (University of Oulu) Claims to have studied theology at Durham.  Richard Lynn (University of Ulster).

 [2] Edward Dutton, "Edward Dutton," Academia. edu,

 [3] "Call for Re-Think on Eugenics," BBC News, Firday 26, April, 2002. URL

 [4] Richard Lynn And Tatu Vanhanen, IQ and The Wealth of Nations,Westport Conn.: Prager Publishers 2002.

 [5] Richard Lynn and Greg Misenberg, "National IQ's Calculated and Validated for 108 Nations."
 Intelligence 38, Science direct PDf online 2 June (2010) URL:

 [6] Barry Mehler, "Academia at the Forefront of Racist Ideals, White Supremacy."SPLC (Soutern Poverty Law Center) Intelligence Report, Winter, 1999, 93.

[7] Colleen Flaherty, "Are Natural Scientists Smarter?" Inside Higher ed, Fed 12, (2014) online:
Flaherty is a Reporter,who covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at The Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. She also has covered government and land use issues for newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008.

[8] Alan Lightman, Origins: The Lives and World of Modern Cosmologists. Cambridge Mass.:Harvard University press, 1999).

[9] Greg Laden, "Nobel Savages: Napoleon Chagnon's Fierce Book." Greg Laden's BlogScience Blogs, April 5, (2013).

[10] Flaherty, Op Cit.

[11] Ian K. Crombie and Huw  T.O. Davies, "What is Meta Analysis?" What is...? series, published by Sanofi-aventis,  second edition, no date, URL
Iain K Crombie PhD FFPHM Professor of Public Health,University of Dundee
Huw TO Davies PhD Professor of Health Care Policy and Management, University of St Andrews.

[12] Ibid.

[13] William H. Yeaton and Paul M. Wortman, "on The Reliability of Metanalycial Reviews: The Role of Inter-coder Agreement" 1993 Pdf
William H. Yeaton, Ph.D. in Psychology, works as independent consultant on study methodology. U. of Michigan, Paul M. Wortman,Ph.D. psychology, State University of New York Stony Brook.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Flaherty, Op Cit.

[16a] Metacrock, "New Zuckerman IQ Study, Are Atheists Smarter?" Cadre Comments, august 25, (2013)

[16b] Miron Zuckerman, Jordon Silberman, and Judith Hall, "The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations."Personality and Social Psychology Review. Sage Publications (August 6, 2013 online first version of record). URL: 
these Notes are from the original article

[17] Steve Kangus, editor, Liberalism Resurgent,  (accessed 8/12/13) this is a page combatting the myth that religious people are more intelligent. The site apparently sees religious belief and scinece as oppossies and as opponents, mutually exclusive.
note was no. 17 in original article.

[18] The Simington study was originally listed on the original website I was rebutting (see previous note). that was years ago and the site has changed its list over time. He now includes studies that show no correlation as though that proves his point. It is actually a disproof as he is trying to that atheists are smarter. No correlation means there's no link bewteen intelligence and beilef. The list still includes Simington.
note was no. 18 in original artilce