Religion appeals to the smart, but not the really smart: It's my impression that the smarter the person, the less religious they tend to be. I figure that smart people read a lot, and as one digs deeper into any religion, it is unlikely to bear careful scrutiny. On the other hand, there are many intelligent people who are very involved in a particular faith, so let's have the data decide. The General Social Survey asked 22,845 people how often they attend church, as well as administering to them a ten word vocabulary test. I calculated mean attendance at each level of questions answered correctly:
Mean church attendance
A "4" means the respondent attends monthly, "3" is a few times a year, and "5" is 2 or 3 times a month. The two smartest categories go to church the least: even less frequently than the low-IQ folks who would be expected to show less middle-class conformity. I'm not surprised that peak attendance is seen among smart, but not really smart people. (The modal category for vocab is 6 out of 10 correct). Highly intelligent people can be religious, but evidently it is an uphill battle.
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