Half Sigma has done an interesting GSS analysis that shows that of the following three choices: 1) "the Bible is a book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by men"; 2) "the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally"; or 3) "the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, word for word"-- a disproportionate percentage of high-IQ college graduates choose answer number 1. He concludes from the results that the Christian Right's view that liberal professors increase the skepticism of students is therefore false.
He would be correct if the Christian view were that a liberal education were the only cause of biblical skepticism. But I don't know of any Christian who claims this. A liberal education would be added to a list of other items like the influence of the wider culture--both elite and popular--and the dominance of the naturalistic worldview that non-mechanistic events are not possible. (Of course, a Christian would also include stubbornness/rebelliousness.)
Using the same GSS question, I created three dummy variables: 1) fables vs. literal word, 2) fables vs. inspired word, and 3) inspired word vs. literal word. The predictors are years of education and Wordsum--the proxy for IQ.
Logistic regression coefficients
Fables vs. literal word
Fables vs. inspired word
Inspired word vs. literal word
In all three models, greater education predicts the more liberal position, net of the influence of IQ. The strength of the net influences of education and IQ are similar in each model. While the larger IQ coefficients makes it look like IQ is the more powerful predictor, the coefficients reflect the scale of the predictors, and education has twice as many categories as Wordsum. (The influence of education is actually probably a little stronger than IQ.)
Notice also how the coefficients in the fables/inspired word model are tiny: Smarter people and more educated people are only a little bit more likely to take the fable position. (In Half Sigma's table, very low-IQ people are more likely to think the Bible is a book of fables than average or above-average respondents. Based on his table, Half Sigma's conclusion really should be that the fable view is the view of geniuses and retards.)
The valid conclusion to draw from GSS data is that the Christian view is correct: liberal education (among other things) does increase skepticism.
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