I’ve been struggling a great deal lately with the concept of religion. Having always been of a rather rigorously logical mindset, blind acceptance of supernatural forces doesn’t neatly mesh for me. But these are concerns for a later post, perhaps. I want to start a new series of posts which will serve to quickly summarize new academic research and break it down into easily digestible chunks. So much of academic writing (and I’m guilty, too) is inaccessible to anyone except experts in the field, what I see as a disservice to what we’re supposed to do as generators of knowledge. So today starts Che Bello’s Chronicle of Higher Education. Enjoy the first installment.
- Professor Richard Lynn of Ulster University has published a controversial paper in the journal Intelligence. His major claim is that increased intelligence leads to decreased likelihood of belief in God.
- A survey of members of the UK’s Royal Society fellows found that only 3.3% believed in God, and a parallel survey of members of the American National Academy of Sciences found a rate of only 7%.
- Gordon Lynch of Birkbeck College warns of the dangers of characterizing religion as primitive, which he says is “perhaps not the most helpful response” in an age dealing with problems of religion and cultural pluralism.
- Lynn’s study does not take into account social, historical, or economic factors which are widely believed to influence the likelihood of religious belief.
What do you think, dear readership? Are those of higher intelligence really less likely to believe in God? Do other conditions have greater impact on that likelihood, such as poverty, living in areas of endemic conflict, or being chronically ill? Do we risk angering the religious through studies like these and, if so, which should be more highly valued, pure intellectual curiosity or the social stability of a society which may subvert the truth?