Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another look at scIQ: In the last post on correlates of scIQ, readers wondered if people who are just as knowledgeable about science as anyone else but who holds fundamentalist religious beliefs were receiving an artificially low scIQ score. I eliminated the three questions that touched on the question of creation or the age of the earth (i.e., the Big Bang, continental drift, and human evolution) and re-calculated scores with the remaining eight questions. Here are the results:

Mean scIQ

Whites 100.0
Blacks 82.0
Hispanics 92.9

Religion--all races
Protestants 98.1
Catholics 96.2
Jews 103.7
None 98.0

Religion--whites only
Protestants 101.3
Catholics 97.8
Jews 104.4
None 100.3

Church attendance--all races
Never 95.9
More than weekly 96.8

Church attendance--whites only
Never 98.0
More than weekly 101.9

It does raise the scores of blacks and Hispanics a little when the 3 questions are removed, but it really makes a difference in the area of religion. The Protestant mean goes up a few points when non-whites are omitted, and it goes up again when the 3 questions are removed. And, compared to the very religious, the folks who never go to church no longer have higher scIQs. In fact, the churchgoers' means are higher for whites and all races together.

I mentioned in the last post that there is practically no correlation between IQ and church attendance, and after removing the 3 questions from the scIQ quiz, there is now no correlation between it and going to church--it is .01.

So it's not that people who are informed about science at a basic level are staying away from church; they just reject what science says if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.


  1. Nice job. I was actually going to suggest that but Steve beat me to it. ;)

  2. Excellent stuff.

    This analysis suggests to me that religious people have a highly-specific and encapsulated minimal dis-belief system in relation to science.

    This is healthy, it seems to me, since religion offers many personal and societal benefits (happiness, altruism, fertility, conservatism - which is a good counterbalance even if you happen not to be a conservative) - and of course science is absolutely essential to the continuation of our civilization.

    So it is a good thing that they can coexist harmoniously (for the most part).

    Hence the US is the leading scientific nation in the world, and the most religious of developed nations too.

  3. Anonymous9:26 PM

    this is very interesting. i'd really like to see this on a white protestant/catholic basis. would you be able to strip out black (primarily protestant i assume) and hipanics (primaril catholics i assume) to get the white protestant/catholic scores for this and the full survey?

  4. Anon, that was here:

    Religion--whites only
    Protestants 101.3
    Catholics 97.8

    It does make sense. Catholics are predominantly southern Europeans, who score just a bit lower on IQ, and IIRC, international achievement tests.


New study: High rate of underweight black newborns due to genes, not racism

A new study finds that several gene variants in African-Americans help explains why they have underweight newborns twice as often as whites...