leading scientists (overwhelming majority)
disbelieve in a personal God
(Top Posts - Distance From
in theism - 041909)
(the following link/summary originally
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1998 survey regarding disbelief, doubt/agnosticism,
or belief regarding a personal God
Leading scientists still reject God
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Summary of some of the results:
In 1998, 72.2% of National Academy of Sciences
members have disbelief in a personal God.
In 1998, 20.8% of National Academy of Sciences
members have doubt or agnosticism in a personal
In 1998, 7.0% of National Academy of Sciences
members have belief in a personal God.
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So, to sum it up, 93.0% of National Academy of
Sciences members have disbelief, doubt, or agnosti-
cism regarding a personal God.
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Average Intelligence Predicts Atheism Rates
across 137 Nations
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Dawkins' (2006) recent book The God Delusion suggests
that it is not intelligent to believe in the existence of God.
In this paper we examine
(1) the evidence for this contention, i.e. for whether
there is a negative
relationship between intelligence
and religious belief;
(2) whether the negative relationship between intelligence
and religious belief is a
difference in psychometric g;
(3) whether there is negative relationship between intelli-
gence and religious belief
2. Intelligence and Religious Belief within Nations
We are by no means the first to suggest the existence of
a negative relationship between intelligence and religious
belief within nations.
Evidence pointing to a negative relationship between intel-
ligence and religious belief within nations comes from four
sources. These are (1) negative correlations between intel-
ligence and religious belief; (2) lower percentages holding
religious beliefs among intelligence elites compared with
the general population: (3) a decline of religious belief with
age among children and adolescents as their cognitive abil-
ities increase; (4) a decline of religious belief during the
course of the twentieth century as the intelligence of pop-
ulations has increased.
(1) Negative correlations between intelligence and reli-
A number of studies find
negative correlations be-
tween intelligence and
At this interview they were
asked: "To what extent are
you a religious person?" The
responses were coded
"not religious at all",
"slightly religious", "moderately
religious", and "very
religious". The results showed that
the "not religious at all"
group had the highest IQ ... fol-
lowed in descending order by
the other three groups ...
(2) Lower percentages holding religious beliefs among intel-
ligence elites compared with
the general population.
(3) Decline of religious belief with age among children and
adolescents. Also consistent
with the negative correlation
between intelligence and
religious belief is the decline in
religious belief during
adolescence and into adulthood as
cognitive ability increases.
(4) Decline of religious belief during the course of the twen-
tieth century as the
intelligence of the population has
The decline of religious
belief has been shown by statistics
for church attendance and for
belief in God recorded in
opinion polls. For instance,
in England self reported weekly
attendance at church services
in census returns (these num-
bers may be exaggerated)
declined from 40 per cent of the
population in 1850, to 35 per
cent in 1900, to 20 per cent
in 1950, to 10 per cent in
1990 ... In Gallup Polls 72 per
cent of the population stated
in 1950 that they believed in
God ... but by 2004 this had
fallen to 58.5 per cent ...
There has also been some
decline of religious belief during
the course of the last century
in the United States.
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America Is Becoming Less Christian, Less Religious
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3. Religious Belief and Psychometric g
To determine whether there is negative relation between religious
belief and Psychometric g (the general factor in intelligence) ...
Atheists scored 6 g-IQ equivalent points higher than the com-
bined group of subjects professing to one or another of a large
number of different religions. ...
4. Intelligence and Religious Belief between Nations
To investigate the relationship between intelligence and religious
belief between nations ... We have taken figures for belief in God
... [from] data for 137 countries representing just over 95% of
the world's population. These data were collected from surveys
mostly carried out in 2004, although in a few countries the sur-
veys were a year or two earlier.
... in only 17% of the countries (23 out of 137) does the propor-
tion of the population who disbelieve in god rise above 20%.
These are virtually all the higher IQ countries. ... most of
variation in religious disbelief is among the higher IQ nations.
The percentage disbelieving in God in the United States is much
lower than in north, west, and central Europe (e.g. Belgium, 43%;
Netherlands, 42%; Denmark, 48%; France, 44%; UK, 41.5%).
One factor that could provide a possible explanation for this is
that many Americans are Catholics, and the percentage of believ-
ers in Catholic countries in Europe is generally much higher than
in Protestant countries (e.g. [disbelief in the following Catholic
countries] Italy, 6%; Ireland, 5%; Poland, 3%; Portugal, 4%;
Another possible contribution to this has been continued high
immigration of those holding religious beliefs. A further
factor might be that a number of emigrants from Europe went to
the United States because of their strong religious beliefs, so it
may be that these beliefs have been transmitted as a cultural and
even genetic legacy to subsequent generations.
Parent-child correlations for religious belief are quite high ... It
has been found that religious belief has a significant heritability
... so it could be that a number of religious emigrants from Eur-
ope had the genetic disposition for religious belief and this has
been transmitted to much of the present population.
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Reference: Why is the U.S. the most Pro-Religious /
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