Friday, April 24, 2009

Education does not explain the link between atheism and liberalism: At Secular Right, I posted the GSS finding that atheists are about 5 times more likely to be extremely liberal than theists. A commenter asked if the correlation might be due to some other factor. I regressed political views on belief in God and got this:

Unstandardized OLS regression coefficients (N = 12,516)

Belief in God .209**

And when I add level of education:

Belief in God .205**
Level of education -.011**

**p < .01

The belief in God coefficient is reduced very little by the inclusion of education, so the connection between atheism and liberalism is not due to higher levels of education.

And I don't even need to look at IQ (although I did) because IQ is unrelated to political orientation.

UPDATE: Trust in science explains more:

Belief in God .168**
Trust in science -.164**


  1. Liberals are more Open (as in, the Big Five personality trait.) Atheists are more Open. That might be it.

    Or, you have to be able to swallow ridiculous propaganda to be either a conservative or a theist? :-)

  2. the implication is that blacks might be innately more close-minded. Well they *are* more religious. ;-)

  3. IQ is related to political correlation, it is just not a linear correlation.

  4. I am glad you've conclusively pointed out that atheists are considerably more likely to be liberal than conservative. Previously, you seemed to have argued otherwise.

  5. Audacious: I wasn't clear before. When I said you can easily get beyond the stereotype of the atheist being a liberal by doing a little homework about the person, I meant that while you might follow the odds and assume that an atheist is a liberal, the way to know for sure is to get more information about the individual. When I said stereotype, I meant probabilities.

  6. Ron,

    Thanks for the clarification. That makes perfect sense.

  7. Anonymous2:11 PM

    R. Dawkins makes reference to some studies linking atheism and education/intelligence in his book "The God Delusion". He also states that atheists are typically more politically liberal. But, aren't most higher learning institutions more politically liberal. Which would produce more politically liberal highly educated individuals.

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  9. Anonymous12:14 AM

    "Well, a lower percentage of blacks are atheists, so the implication is that blacks might be innately more close-minded."

    I figured you'd applaud this sort of statistic in favor of intellectual stratification or HBD. I guess facts are only "objective" to you when they support the Catholic Paleoconservative agenda, against those evil, wicked, atheistic, hedonistic bogymen.

    Moved by data not ideology, eh?

    P.S. I like your quote from Mother Teresa.

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