Are Atheists’ Brains More Highly Evolved?

June 7, 2007 at 5:37 am | Posted in Atheism, Beliefs, creationism, evolution, god, intelligent design, Religion, science | 20 Comments

Last month I wrote a post about the physical differences in the brains of those that are highly intelligent from those less intellectually gifted. 

Those of us who don’t believe in god, the creation story, intelligent design and all that other nonsense are non believers not because we made a conscious choice; we don’t believe because we simply cannot.  We cannot believe these stories are true any more than we believe the story of Little Red Riding Hood, or Hansel & Gretal (though I must admit Hansel & Gretal have more of a ring of truth than the creation stories).  They are fun stories, but all pure fantasy.  It may be that we are, in fact, hardwired for belief or non belief.   Some scientists believe the answer might be in our DNA.

I have yet to meet an atheist who wasn’t smarter than the average bear, and I have yet to meet a fundamentalist who was capable of any sort of complex reasoning.  They believe the simplistic fairy tales about god creating the earth and all of its wonders in seven days and all that other stuff because it is what they are capable of believing and comprehending.  These two groups are at opposite ends of the spectrum with the majority somewhere in between.  It’s my belief that these differences might be indicators of where any given individual is in the continuum of human evolution.



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  1. Shouldn’t you have some evidence other than your biased personal experience before you make the conclusion that atheists are “smarter than the average bear”.

    I would be surprised if that were the case.

    I have seen studies that indicate that atheists are on average better educated, though. Better educated does not necessarily imply smarter.

  2. I’m not sure it’s increased intelligence but instead, as Dawkins phrases it, a raised consciousness. A greater awareness of the world and existence around us.

  3. That’s a convenient–and amusing–argument. “We’re right because we have a raised consciousness/greater intelligence?”

    Honestly, this post fails to add anything to the discussion, except for several invalid personal observations. I have met bigoted, idiotic atheists. I have met intelligent, well-spoken fundamentalists.

    Your claims leave a bad taste in my mouth somewhere amongst their inaccuracy, their ignorance, and their ultimate irony–you claim that fundamentalists are incapable of any kind of “complex reasoning” when you yourself have apparently not mastered basic cognitive function.

    And your other posts reminds me of the old articles claiming black people were of significantly lower intelligence because of their “differing brain structure”–pure drivel, then and now.

  4. –note that some of those jabs are strongly sarcastic…

  5. Shouldn’t you have some evidence other than your biased personal experience before you make the conclusion that atheists are “smarter than the average bear”.

    NO! I’m not here to do research, educate, or provide statistical data of any kind. I’m here to write whatever I happen to be thinking about whenever it suits my fancy. And yes, what I write in this venue will absolutely be based on my personal experience. If I were doing a research project, a blog is not where I would choose to publish my findings. I’m not out to educate, convert, or change
    anybody’s mind about anything. If what I write turns out to be thought provoking, conroversial, or entertaining… all the better. I’m not forcing anyone to read what I write, and if you don’t like it feel free to leave at any time.

    That’s a convenient–and amusing–argument. “We’re right because we have a raised consciousness/greater intelligence?

    Did I say anything about being right? Sounds like someone is a bit sensitive.

    Your claims leave a bad taste in my mouth

    Try peppermint, it will make your mouth feel spring-time fresh.

    And your other posts reminds me of the old articles claiming black people were of significantly lower intelligence because of their “differing brain structure”–

    You must be referring to the late racist, Schockley, who started out with the belief that blacks were inferior and set out to prove it. I refer to recent studies on the brains of individuals with a known IQ. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

    –note that some of those jabs are strongly sarcastic…

    Really? Which ones?

  6. Many people choose to do research on a topic before writing about it. They are some of the best writers, too. More depth and more substance.

    Your writing makes you sound arrogant and sloppy.

  7. My writing is indicates I’m sloppy and arrogant? Your reading shows a lack of comprehension. ONE MORE TIME …when I am writing something other than a blog, which for me is just a diversion, somewhere to let off steam and amuse myself, I have an entirely different approach. I agree, when writing something important one should do their homework. Correct me if I’m wrong but your counters to my argument don’t indicate a whole lot of research on your part either. (Since you advocate research..cite your sources please)
    I sound arrogant and sloppy…it’s a BLOG which is short for weblog. Weblogs started out as journals or diaries. So as far as I’m concerned I’ll be as arrogant and sloppy as I please. First you’re a writing critic now you’re the arrogance police? How’s that for arrogance?

  8. Even though I hate your arguments, I was interested to see how you would respond to my particularly (and perhaps even unfairly) vitriolic response…

    I’m surprised by the respect [veiled in caustic humor 😉 ], especially given my implication that you hadn’t mastered “basic cognitive function,” and I do appreciate it.

    Regardless of all that, I think the major implication here–that atheists are more intelligent or more conscious than their fundamentalist counterparts–is a bit dangerous. There are many fundamentalists, I’m sure, that are more intelligent than the mean of the atheist population. To write off fundamentalism as a belief of the unintelligent is honestly quite ignorant.

  9. First off, Honjii, I apologize for the name calling on that other post. I got carried away, it won’t happen again. Kinda ironic, Kevin. You talk about Honjii being respectful. On another post I did engage in a little hittin’ below the belt name calling. Honjii called me on the carpet and indicated that kind of behavior wouldn’t be tolerated here. Apparently Honjii practices what she preaches.

  10. I didn’t make ans assertions that needed supporting.

  11. Thank you, Monique.

    Kevin, GOOD ONE!

    Just as there is no need to be defensive over implications about one’s particualar persuasion when one is secure in their sexuality, when one is secure in one’s “basic cognitive functions” no offense is taken and no defense is needed.

    I’ve said this before. All comments, opinions, crituques, or whatever you’ve got are welcome. Let’s just keep it respectful (no name calling).

    As someone once said, (I might be paraphrasing here) “I might not like what you say but I will defend your right to say it.” After all, if you lose that right, then so do I.

  12. It’s attributed to Voltaire–“I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

  13. I would not doubt for one second that atheists are in fact smarter or more intelligent than theists, or mainly fundamentalist. I know many fundamentalist that are very ignorant, because they limit themselves to what they want to hear, learn, and see. Every other word out of their mouth is “God” or “Faith” or even “pray”. Now theists, such as some of my freinds in which we have never once had a conversation about God except for maybe once (I asked them what religion they were at that was it). When people don’t talk about their God 24/7 and have open minds, they can actually be just as smart or smarter than atheists. But I would be amazed to see a fundamentalist that was smarter than most atheists, I’m sure there are some, but not many…not many at all.

  14. We all must admit that there are some theists who are highly intelligent or even more intelligent than their atheist counterparts. However, there is a reason for such people.

    Aspergers and some forms of autism. I’ve noticed a particular draw to Judaism and Catholicism, due to the repetition and tradition-based consistency.

  15. hmmmm…very interesting!
    Thanks google

  16. Hi all. Cool site Google

  17. While I too find this to be bias I understand that you know that it is bias and that we all make these statements at one time or another. You also state you aren’t claiming anything you say is argued to be fact, so people are riding you for no reason, it is simply a hypothesis based on personal experience people, deal with it!

    As for the subject matter I think it is mostly correlation and a number of circumstantial factors. What I mean by that is those of higher than average intelligence may be more skeptical and less drawn to answer-based-faiths or faith-based-answers. A better education and more mental exercise in life may be a behavior more atheists seek out as a predisposition.

    As for evolution this falls into more social trends than biology, populations evolve, individuals would not have accelerated evolutionary adaptation based on a belief in later life unless this provided a survival advantage. What may be going on is that couples choose each other based on similar beliefs most of the time, if atheists have a higher educational standard, which is another question that mayor may not already be answered, then so will their children.

  18. Though it looks kind of stupid but i totally agree believing in god is kind of stupid.They say god sent you here but he didn’t it was mere stuff done by your parents…

  19. I have yet to meet an extremely intelligent fundementalist. I am from Canada though and I have never met one in person. I have seen them on the internet though. In my opinnion the ones on the internet are so ignorant that they don’t even realize what they sound like to rational human beings. They are sexist, intolerant, traditional, and narrow minded. I hope to meet one in person because I would love to talk to one.

  20. @Ella,
    Talking with them gets you to the same place you’d be if you walked in a continuous circle. For the most part they are incapable of taking in and giving consideration to any alternative line of thought and will, in response to anything you say, repeatedly spout the same few lines of dogma over and over. So do yourself a favor and smack your head against a brick wall a few times… that would actually be more productive.

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