24 May, 2006

Religious Belief = Intelligence?

There is a debate going on right now on "our" side, those that fight for the integrity of science and science education between "moderates" (theists and deists who see compatibility between science and religious belief) and "hard-liners" (those that do not). One of the comments equated intelligence and religious belief. See here and here for examples.

As an atheist myself, I personally do find it hard to understand why, given the vast amount of scientific knowledge - none of which has required any sort of supernatural explanation - people do still choose to believe in supernatural things. I do understand it to some degree from a purely emotional perspective but, not from a rational one.
  • Consider the staggering success that science has had in explaining the natural world around us and the utter failure religion has had in that regard.
  • Consider that nobody, anywhere, throughout the entire written history of humankind, has ever been able to produce one single, shred of independent, testable, verifiable evidence for the existence of anything supernatural.
  • Consider the many, many cases where scientific knowledge does directly conflict with specific religious beliefs. As you said, Ed, I will always choose the natural explanation over the supernatural one.
I simply see no reason to believe in any sort of deity. Do I know there is no god, of course not, that is impossible to know. However, I strongly suspect (and conduct my life with the working assumption) that there is no god or any other sort of supernatural anything.

I don't believe there is necessarily a correlation between intelligence and belief in the supernatural but, there could very well be a case made for education levels and belief in myth and superstition - especially where education in the sciences are concerned as evidence by the much larger percentage of atheists and agnostics in the physical sciences than in the general population. As one commenter said,
I don't believe that *people* who believe in God are idiots. I do believe that *belief* in God-myths is idiotic.
Very well said.


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