Does religion make people dumber?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Magical Realist, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Or does it just attract dumber people? Numerous studies have correlated atheism with higher IQs. What do you think are the reasons for this? Here's one author's opinion:


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nigel-barber/why-atheists-have-higher-_b_853414.html


    I think religion DOES have a dumbing down influence on people. It encourages the acceptance of dogmas and beliefs based on faith in authority, either the authority of their scriptures or the authority of their church. Such a habit of never critically examining one's beliefs has a squelching affect on one's reasoning and analytical abilities imo. If you don't have to think about what you believe religiously, what else do you not have to think about to believe? And a person who rarely thinks is afterall not very intelligent.
     
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  3. Balerion Banned Banned

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    No, I don't think it makes people less intelligent. That would suggest theists are biologically inferior, which is absurd.

    It can and has resulted in a person receiving less education, and a lesser education (failing to properly teach evolution in high school comes to mind) but, again, there's a difference between education and intelligence. And even then, being religious doesn't seem to have any statistical impact on people pursuing higher education--though I did read that the higher the level of education, the less specific that religion became; as if to say, as religious people achieve higher educations, they tend to stop being so dogmatic and viewing themselves as Christians or Jews, but rather as "spiritual." But I probably shouldn't even have brought it up, because I can't for the life of me remember where I read that.
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Religion certainly doesn't affect your natural potential to be intelligent, it just makes you believe stupid things, like people existed along side dinosaurs, like the USA was established as a Christian country, like climate change and evolution are liberal conspiracies...
     
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I was religious as a teen. Studied the bible all the time not because I had to but because I really did feel it was the word of God. To me it was quite a rush to sift out new interpretations of the same old verses even using Hebrew and Greek lexicons to find the original "untranslated" meaning.


    As I look back now I regret having limited my intellectual hunger to just one book, a narrowness that was the direct result of my belief that all important truth was contained in this one book. I regret not having been able to unleash all this curiosity on all the science and history and philosophy that's out there and so acquired a broader education that would've made me more knowledgeable in many different fields. In this sense I feel religion DID make me dumber, at least in the sense of restricting most my knowledge to a 2500 yr old book of Hebrew goatherder fables. While I did make up for lost time since then, I guess I still have some anger issues about this. But hell who wouldn't?Imagine wasting a third of YOUR life studying Grimm's Fairytales!
     
  8. Balerion Banned Banned

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    I see where you're coming from. I'd be bitter, too, but it's never too late to get an education. And think of it this way: you probably know more about scripture than the people you debate it with. Certainly more than several of the regulars here at Sciforums, anyway.
     
  9. Motor Daddy ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ Valued Senior Member

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    From every experience there is wisdom to be gained. That time you spent in the Bible was not in vain, and what you took away from the book has real value in your life, whether you realize it or not. I am an atheist that recently went to a Christian church for the past 4 years. While I never did and never will believe there is a god, I learned much about humanities in that church. There is more to religion than just "God" and "Jesus." There is great value in many (not all) of the lessons that the book teaches. There is more to life than simply the physical world, there is also the spiritual world that coincides with the physical world. The difference between a robot and a human is that while both are machines, only the human has a supernatural existence in them. A robot is clueless as to what a spirit is.
     
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe you just haven't met the right robot.
     
  11. Balerion Banned Banned

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    It appears what you learned was simply that you have a soul. I don't see any lessons about "humanities" here.

    That's just mysticism. It has no practical value.
     
  12. Motor Daddy ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't learn anything of the sort. What is this "soul" you speak of? Is it tangible?



    Emotions are mysticism? Fear is not real? Being analytical is BS? How about compassion, art, music, humor, and language? Where can I find these tangibles in the physical world? Where in the universe is happiness? Where is truth?
     
  13. Balerion Banned Banned

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    You're the one who said there's more to this world than the physical. You tell me.

    You didn't say anything about emotions, art, music, humor, or language. As to where they are in the universe, the answer is your brain. These are all chemical processes.
     
  14. Motor Daddy ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ Valued Senior Member

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    I already told you some. You said I learned what a soul was, and you failed to justify that statement. Where can I find this "soul" you speak of?



    So music is found in chemicals? Which chemical do I need to create a new Led Zeppelin song? Which chemical created the original Tesla-Hang Tough song?
     
  15. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Again, I'm just going by what you said:

    So, again: You tell me.

    Wow, I thought you were referring to our appreciation of music. Are you saying you don't know how music itself is made? You don't see music's tangible connection to the world? Crap, I might have to change my answer to the OP.
     
  16. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Motordaddy, about the only thing I learned from religion is how to hate myself. That whole innocuous doctrine of original sin and of a blood atonement, of being by nature a wretched and evil sinner who can never ever do anything right apart from God, left a deep scar on my psyche that I obsessively rub and pick at to this very day. This totally monstrous idea that I am of no intrinsic value and must totally rely on God's mercy to spare me from the pits of death and hell. That's what happens when you take religion so seriously see. It warps and twists your personality into some deformed and hollow version of what it might have been had it been allowed it's natural development. It CLAIMS to be all about love, but not really. It is just a sick fantasy of being doted over by some magical father figure for whom you will never ever really be a good enough son. I had to escape from all that to finally learn how to respect and love myself for who I am.
     
  17. Motor Daddy ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ Valued Senior Member

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    Where did I say the word "soul" prior to you mentioning it?" I don't have a clue as to what a "soul" is, so please, relieve me of some of this ignorance I posses.



    I already told told you. Are you limiting your definition of "supernatural" to some word to only mean some type of God? You aren't that limited in scope, are you? Do you really believe there is only a physical world, void of human spirit? That would be very sad indeed.



    I'm saying that prior to the human spirits existing, namely the spirits of the members of the band Tesla, that there was no Hang Tough song. I'm saying that the physical world created a spiritual world, as evident by our arts, launguage, emotions, love, hate, etc etc...
     
  18. Motor Daddy ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ Valued Senior Member

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    Why would you hate yourself because you read information? Information is to be read, analyzed, separated, good stored and bad discarded. There is no personal issues there other than separating the good from the bad. Maybe your analytical techniques were not up to the task? Maybe because the pastor I listened to was one of the best speakers I have ever had the pleasure to listen to? Just saying, and I'm an atheist, remember?
     
  19. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Oh, we're playing dumb now. I see. Well, when someone says they have a "supernatural existence" within them, that tends to mean they believe they have a soul. Especially when they say that said supernatural existence coincides with the material world. If you mean something different, feel free to explain.

    Where did I say anything about a god? I merely pointed out that you claimed to have discovered the existence of the soul. Are you so limited in scope that you can't imagine a supernatural world that doesn't include agency?

    I have to admit, I don't know what the hell you mean by "human spirit." Perhaps you have your own definitions of these terms, but I'm not privy to them, so if you wish to continue this dialogue, you should probably share.

    So everyone has a spirit? In other words, a soul. Why are you nitpicking this one point when we're apparently talking about the same thing? And why could these songs not have existed without the presence of a spirit?

    You're creating a level of complexity that isn't required. We know things like language and emotions are produced and regulated by our brains, which is why changes to the brain affect them. If you're in a bad car accident and suffer brain damage, for example, your ability to communicate may be hampered, or your ability to control your impulses may be negatively affected. Professional fighters have been known to temporarily lose their hearing, their sight, even their sense of smell, as the result of a particularly nasty blow to the head.
     
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    The information was more than just that--it was also beliefs that I learned to embrace based on little more than the authority of the Bible. So no, I didn't have the luxury of sifting out some ideas over others, which is a skill I learned later on. From the inside of religion, there is simply no view of a competing alternative philosophy. It is a sort of self-empowering meme that drives you to stay inside of it by constantly terrorizing you and shaming you. You can't even believe in yourself enough to trust your own reasoning see, because believing in oneself is a sin. You just keep believing in God and the Bible as hard as you can since for you believing is about the only good thing you CAN do.
     
  21. Motor Daddy ☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ Valued Senior Member

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    Not we, you. I never mentioned the word soul. Are you playing dumb now? You have this notion of a soul, what is it? Is a soul just some slip of the tongue you had? Did you mean to say soup, or maybe soil?

    There you go again using the word soul. What the hell is a soul?


    I don't know what a soul is so how can I say if it is the same or different than a supernatural existence? Since you in fact know what a soul is (unless you are using words that you have no clue what they mean) then it appears you are harboring information, so as to put yourself in a power position, maybe? Why else would you withhold vital information such as what a soul is?



    I asked you a question. Do you know the difference between a sentence that has a "?" at the end vs one that has a "." at the end?



    Of course not, because your entire world consists of physical objects. Your scope is limited to physical objects. You know not what a supernatural existence is. In that way you are similar to a rock.



    Well certainly my definitions don't include the one for soul, so if you would please be so kind to add to my vocabulary, I would be much obliged.



    Are you suggesting that we can remove either of the words "spirit" or "soul" from the dictionary, since to you they are the exact same thing? I don't know what a soul is because you haven't enlightened me yet.



    So this is really simple stuff? You have it all figured out?

    So you've made the distinction between the physical "brain" and the spiritual "emotion." Good, you've now separated the two worlds into physical and spiritual. You can see that there is more to the universe than physical objects, right?
     
  22. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I'll speculate that religion might attract and retain people whom on average have less intelligence. In a 3rd world country that may result in a pooling of resources and cooperation that give those people a greater chance of survival.
     
  23. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Really? You're actually going to act like you don't know what a soul is?


    It's exactly what you described humans as having.

    Understand now?

    I'm sorry, I assumed you knew what you were talking about. I see now that this was a mistake. Trust me, it won't happen again.

    Could you not glean the answer to said question from my response?

    No no, I understand the concept of the supernatural. I'm simply trying to pin down what you mean when you use a certain term, since you apparently aren't all that well-versed in English (see: you not knowing what the word "soul" means) I'm trying to find a common ground.

    You apparently don't realize it, but your explanation of the spirit is the same as the definition of the soul. I'll be expecting your apology for your misunderstanding and subsequent rudeness.

    No more than I would suggest removing any of the thousands of other words that share a meaning with other words. Have you never opened a thesaurus before?

    I really find that hard to believe.

    Never said either of those things.

    Wait, what? I never made such a distinction. I did the opposite: I said one is a product of the other. Can you really not read?

    No, I can't see that. And neither can you.
     

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