This will, no doubt, result in calm, reasoned discussion:
In short, the argument goes: religion evolved as an instinct, providing evolutionary advantages. Intelligence, however, allows one to over-ride instincts. Thus on average an intelligent person is more likely to be an atheist because they can bypass their instincts in favor of reason.
Note the direction in which the logic flows: “if you are more intelligent, you are more likely to become an atheist.” It’s *not* “if you’re an atheist, it proves you’re intelligent.”
So. Surely nobody will be upset or annoyed by this.
But then there’s this:
“It’s true that people who are less intelligent tend to have more children than people who are more intelligent,” Dutton tells Newsweek . “And intelligence is negatively associated with religiousness. So on that basis, you would expect religiousness to increase.
“If you have higher intelligence, you’re less instinctive. You’re lower in what you might call ‘evolved instincts’ that have evolved over thousands and thousands of years until the Industrial Revolution, when natural selection slowed down.”
He says that with intelligence being around 80 percent genetic, eventually there will be a decline in intelligence—and, as a result—a rise in religiousness. And this, he adds, could eventually lead to the fall of society. “It was commented on at the end of Rome, that the upper class weren’t having any children. It’s the same now,” he says.
I’ve seen that movie.
This is, perhaps shockingly, a concept I touch on in my Zaneverse novel.
There is another way to look at the evidence: prison. Prisons are jam-packed full of violent, stupid, thuggish brutes. They don’t, however, seem to be overflowing with atheists; rather, prison ministries of all kinds seem to be going gangbusters. Intelligence and prison seem to be negatively correlated; prison and belief in a deity that *explicitly* told your dumb ass not to do exactly what got you chucked into prison seem to be positively correlated.