Friday, February 02, 2007

IQ vs. Religion

[Click to enlarge]

I found this through one of the social networking sites.

The graph shown above relates the arithmetic mean IQ measured in various country's populations, to the fraction of each country's population that believes religion is very important.

The green diamonds represent individual countries; the yellow line is a linear regression (y = mx + b), calculated by the least squares method. The United States data point is circled in red.
There are many charts and graphs that go along with this post.

The religious attitude data is from a poll that was part of the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

The question wording used in the poll was as follows:

How important is religion in your life—very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?

The report available online only lists the percentage that said religion was 'very important'.

The IQ data is from IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen.
I don't know what this person's agenda is, and a little reverse linking took me to a simple homepage with no explanation of who it is or why it exists.

It all seems well researched, and if it is accurate, it is pretty useful information. The author does ask an important question regarding how this might relate to individuals:
The data shown above begs the question: what would be revealed by a survey that correlated IQ and religiosity on an individual basis? Within a given population, is religion more important to persons of high intelligence, or low intelligence?
Exactly. We all know very bright people who are religious. So there cannot really be a direct one-to-one relationship between IQ and religiosity. Even Sam Harris would concede that there is no direct relationship between IQ and religiosity, and his argument would benefit most from such a relationship.

At best we have a correlation, but that in itself is interesting.

Finally, the IQ tests used to assess intelligence among non-English speaking people are notoriously inaccurate, so what we really get with this information is the relative IQ compared to Western standards, not the inherent intelligence of the people being tested.

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