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High IQ = Liberal, Atheist, Monogamous

Liberals Atheists More Intelligent IQYet another academic study finds correlation between IQ and political and religious beliefs. This one throws in sexual practice, too.

Political, religious and sexual behaviors may be reflections of intelligence, a new study finds.

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning — on the order of 6 to 11 points — and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people, experts say. But they show how certain patterns of identifying with particular ideologies develop, and how some people’s behaviors come to be.

The reasoning is that sexual exclusivity in men, liberalism and atheism all go against what would be expected given humans’ evolutionary past. In other words, none of these traits would have benefited our early human ancestors, but higher intelligence may be associated with them.  “The adoption of some evolutionarily novel ideas makes some sense in terms of moving the species forward,” said George Washington University leadership professor James Bailey, who was not involved in the study. “It also makes perfect sense that more intelligent people — people with, sort of, more intellectual firepower — are likely to be the ones to do that.”  Bailey also said that these preferences may stem from a desire to show superiority or elitism, which also has to do with IQ. In fact, aligning oneself with “unconventional” philosophies such as liberalism or atheism may be “ways to communicate to everyone that you’re pretty smart,” he said.

The study looked at a large sample from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health [Add Health], which began with adolescents in grades 7-12 in the United States during the 1994-95 school year. The participants were interviewed as 18- to 28-year-olds from 2001 to 2002. The study also looked at the General Social Survey, another cross-national data collection source.

[...]

Participants who said they were atheists had an average IQ of 103 in adolescence, while adults who said they were religious averaged 97, the study found. Atheism “allows someone to move forward and speculate on life without any concern for the dogmatic structure of a religion,” Bailey said.  “Historically, anything that’s new and different can be seen as a threat in terms of the religious beliefs; almost all religious systems are about permanence,” he noted.

The study takes the American view of liberal vs. conservative. It defines “liberal” in terms of concern for genetically nonrelated people and support for private resources that help those people. It does not look at other factors that play into American political beliefs, such as abortion, gun control and gay rights.  “Liberals are more likely to be concerned about total strangers; conservatives are likely to be concerned with people they associate with,” he said.

Without access to the study itself, it’s difficult to know what to make of it.  Most obviously, if it didn’t control for education, the findings are meaningless.  For a variety of reasons, education leads people to be more scientifically oriented, materialistic, skeptical, and tolerant of differences.  Further, success in the educational arena is an indicator of being able to conform to social expectations — showing up on time, not disrupting others, and so forth — so it’s not surprising that there would be an uptick in the ability to maintain a monogamous relationship.   And, of course, religiosity and political conservatism tend to go hand-in-hand, further confusing the relationships.

[UPDATE:  A commenter at Ron Chusid's discussion of the piece points to an online PDF of the study, titled "Why Liberals and Atheists are More Intelligent."  There is indeed a control for years of education.   Parental education isn't factored in, except to the extent it correlates with earnings.   With all the controls factored in, the author finds "adolescent intelligence has a larger effect on adult political ideology than any other
variable in the model except for religion."]

The causality issue aside, the correlation seems to remain.   But let’s not get terribly excited about what all this means.   The vast majority of Americans — including high IQ Americans and well educated Americans — are religious.   For that matter, the vast majority of Americans — including those of below average intelligence — are in monogamous relationships or strive to be.    We’re talking about small differences in aberrant behavior, not a chasm.

It’s also noteworthy that the correlation is between intelligence measured at adolescence and ideology, religiosity, and monogamy as young adults.   It would be interesting to see if the correlation strengthens or fades with time.  This particular cohort is being studied on through 2002; I don’t know if they’ll continue to be tracked.

Elsewhere:

  • Tom Maguire makes the interesting point that the liberals who hated the very notion of IQ in the context of The Bell Curve some years back seem to love it when studies coming out showing that they’re smarter.  But that’s not surprising.
  • Don Sensing, who is both conservative and not only religious but a minister, notes that species don’t “move forward,” they merely adapt to changing conditions, and argues that Zanazawa’s definition of “liberal” — support for private charity to help others — is quite dubious.
  • Ilya Somin argues that there are numerous methodological flaws in the study: conflating liberalism with universalism, relying on self-identification of ideology, and a seeming assumption that being endorsed by intelligent people makes an ideology “correct.”    The second point is especially interesting:  “For example, more African-Americans describe themselves as ‘conservative’ than ‘liberal,’ even though this description fits neither their issue positions nor their voting patterns. In recent decades, the term ‘liberal’ has acquired a negative connotation, so much so that many liberals have taken to calling themselves ‘progressives.’ This makes it likely that some liberal survey respondents won’t identify with the term, especially among the less-educated and less politically knowledgeable.”

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Skopoz says:

    Once again some bogus study put together by some Lib academics who want to think they’re smarter than the rest of us. The problem with these people is that they have no common sense. They score high on IQ’s test, and can write research papers that have solutions to all the worlds problems. When it’s time to implement their ideas they never work out. Well, maybe some times they get lucky and do something genius..Haha.

    The point is I’ve seem some of the most ridiculous Libs lecturing me on subjects they have no idea about. Just check out the progress were making right now in this country. People are begging to put conservatives back in charge. This study is just one more desperate attempt to make the Libs feel good about themselves.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 144

  2. kth says:

    Liberals tend to be secular and non-observant for the most part on religious matters, and people who attend church weekly are overwhelmingly conservative. But I would guess that as a group, militant atheists are more libertarian than liberal.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 11

  3. Aszfac says:

    That unpossible. Me want recount. Me conservative. Me no like bright utopia.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 71 Thumb down 18

  4. steve says:

    The author should have used a different definition of liberal. I would have used something along the lines of:

    Liberals believe that it is possible to initiate positive changes in society as a whole through government intervention.

    Conservatives believe that government intervention inevitably makes society worse. We should preserve tradition.

    IOW, conservatives inherently oppose change, other than to make things back to the way they (think) they used to be. I suspect that those who are willing to go through the effort to get an advanced degree are less likely to do so in the hope that everything will stay the way things are.

    I suspect this also means that bright people who support the status quo are probably more likely to go into fields that do not necessarily require academic credentials, especially business. From there, they can continue to oppose change, which means that they also inherently wish to preserve current privileged status or return to prior privilege. Go back and read Burke again. He mostly made the case for preserving the aristocracy.

    Steve

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 6

  5. Gerry W. says:

    When it’s time to implement their ideas they never work out.

    It happens across the board.

    Forcing religion in government.
    Trickle down, voodoo economics.
    Neglecting science-embryonic stem cell research.
    Wage and price controls. Nixon
    WIN buttons “whip inflation now.” Ford
    Free trade and the loss of jobs
    We are going to be an information society and therefore we don’t need manufacturing jobs. Wall Street
    Having tax cuts and then laissez-faire in not solving problems. Bush
    “Deficits don’t matter” Cheney
    “We will have a balance budget in 2012″ Bush

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 13

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    I was going to do a post trashing this study, and in fact, I still think I will if I get a chance later this afternoon. It is pure, unadulterated, self-congratulating bullshit with no scientific meaning whatsoever.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 70

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    Steve:

    Perhaps for parallelism you might want to change your definition to

    Liberals believe that government intervention inevitably leads to positive changes in society as a whole. We should reject tradition.

    Conservatives believe that government intervention inevitably makes society worse. We should preserve tradition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  8. Skopoz says:

    Gerry W you’re definitely right about it happening across the board. I just prefer to have less social programs, and low taxes. If I have more money to work with I have the ability to invest into new businesses. 75% percent of the jobs are created by small businesses in the private sector. Why punish them with fines and penalties so they cannot grow and be able to hire new workers. Health care for 1 trillion during an economic crisis. That takes some high IQ.

    Big government = Big Problems

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 49

  9. ggr says:

    Big government is probably a bad way of putting it, as both conservatives and liberals like big gov’t. They just like different forms of it. Conservatives like it focused on big military, liberals on big society … but both want it big and paid for by tax payers.

    And as was pointed out, if the IQ issue was wrong with the Bell Curve, its just as wrong now. And as usual, people change their view point. Those who like the “Bell Curve” are against IQ in this case, those who were against the “Bell Curve” are for it now.

    And they wonder why a growing majority of people dislike both conservatives and liberals.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

  10. Gerry W. says:

    Skopoz,

    Well we do have big government and an incompetent government. People want government to work. And they never fix anything or just patch something up. And it ain’t good enough.

    I don’t think any business should be punished as they provide the jobs. However, government, if it does not cut back spending then has to tax somebody. Things are in disarray and what we should be doing we are not, and what we are doing is harmful to the economy.

    Even supporting small business will not help my small town. The big business have left and we are left with nothing. No small business will survive in my town. Something they don’t talk about in Washington. So they can support small business all they want and it won’t help my town. We have had years of phony economics and today we are paying the price. And no one in Washington gets it yet. However, as disgusted as I am with republicans, Paul Ryan, seems to be closest in what to do with our economy and jobs.

    I have repeatedly have said on various web sites that you need to invest in your country, in your people, and in the future. It is not hard to understand. It is just failed ideology that gets in the way.

    http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/plan/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  11. Grewgills says:

    Even if the study weren’t worthless for other reasons, a 6 point IQ difference is meaningless.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 26

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    Of course liberals are smarter than conservatives and atheists smarter than believers. What is surprising about that?

    The essence of liberalism is empathy and imagination. They construct a world that does not exist and take steps to bring it into existence. This is highly sophisticated ideation confined only — so far as we know — to humans.

    The essence of conservatism is to attempt either to impede liberals in their efforts to change the future, or actually return to some (always absurdly misunderstood) past state. The intelligence required to say, “Let’s all go back to 1955″ is less than the intelligence required to say “Let’s envision a world that does not now exist, but could, and let’s make that happen.”

    The core of conservatism can be seen in an ant colony: let’s make the same ant heap again and again and again . . .

    There’s a reason why “creatives” are overwhelmingly liberal. Creatives — artists, directors, designers, writers — spend their days creating not re-creating, inventing not pining for the good old days. That takes more horsepower. Sorry, conservative engineers and number crunchers, it does.

    The conservative mind is more likely to require a supervising father figure: God. The liberal mind is more likely to be self-sufficient, probably because what the liberal mind is doing is not an attempt at faithful maintenance of the status quo but a revolutionary reassessment. A creative doesn’t need a god because he thinks he is one.

    Liberals create the world that conservatives then defend. There are going to be IQ differences between creators and defenders.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 87 Thumb down 14

  13. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I find it curious secularist believe in something that has never been proved to work, and that is government can solve problems, but criticize those who believe in something that has been working for as long as time. I am waiting for a scientific explanation for the image on the Shroud of Turin.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 40

  14. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Reynolds, Liberals try to replace freedom with government. Conservatives try to preserve freedom. You must suffer from Marxist ideology.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 49

  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    Perfect example from Kristoff’s column today:

    The head of World Vision in the United States, Richard Stearns, begins his fascinating book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” with an account of a visit a decade ago to Uganda, where he met a 13-year-old AIDS orphan who was raising his younger brothers by himself.

    “What sickened me most was this question: where was the Church?” he writes. “Where were the followers of Jesus Christ in the midst of perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time? Surely the Church should have been caring for these ‘orphans and widows in their distress.’ (James 1:27). Shouldn’t the pulpits across America have flamed with exhortations to rush to the front lines of compassion?

    “How have we missed it so tragically, when even rock stars and Hollywood actors seem to understand?”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 6

  16. Andy says:

    Michael,

    Was the temperance movement in the early 20th century a liberal or conservative movement? By your definition it was liberal. Constructing a world that does not exist and bringing it to creation isn’t always good, nor intelligent. See also: Communism. Besides, you should read the study – it’s definition of liberalism is not what you imagine.

    Here’s a good critique of the study.

    I would add that a major problem is that the study relies on verbal intelligence (specifically the English language) as a substitute for general intelligence. While verbal intelligence and general intelligence do correlate, how one quantifies that correlation in what is really a statistical modeling study is going to heavily bias the results.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    Andy:

    I don’t know enough about the temperance movement, but communism was absolutely liberal, using that word broadly. And no one doubts that Marx and Engels and Lenin were very intelligent. I don’t doubt that Lenin’s IQ was higher than Tsar Nicholas’.

    Intelligent isn’t the same as good or successful. IQ is like horsepower: it can let you go really fast. Into a brick wall.

    In fact conservatism is inherently more likely to be successful in the short term because it relies on the tried and true. Obviously walking is less dangerous than building an airplane and trying to fly. Conservatism is effective because it resists risk. Liberalism takes bigger chances and sometimes succeeds spectacularly and sometimes fails just as spectacularly.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 3

  18. steve says:

    Dave-Thanks for the improvement.

    “Was the temperance movement in the early 20th century a liberal or conservative movement? By your definition it was liberal.”

    Never thought of it that way. would think that it fits more with the conservative attempt to return to the past, just one that never really existed. Not uncommon unfortunately. I can see making the argument on the other side also in a discussion of liberty, but ultimately, restricting anything that could be fun fits better with modern conservative ideology.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  19. ggr says:

    I find it curious secularist believe in something that has never been proved to work, and that is government can solve problems, but criticize those who believe in something that has been working for as long as time. I am waiting for a scientific explanation for the image on the Shroud of Turin.

    That’s what I say every time the government wants to get involved in a foreign war … when has the gov’t ever solved a problem? Its just a waste of money and lives.

    Not sure what your point about the shroud is, almost everything that exists in the universe is still waiting for a scientific explanation … we know almost nothing about everything, as any scientist will readily admit. We don’t even really understand the basic forces of gravity, electromagnitism, the strong and weak nuclear forces – they’re still waiting for explanation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  20. Andy says:

    Michael,

    Your characterizations of liberalism and conservatism are not universally accepted, nor are they the standard used for this study, which is:

    In this paper I will adopt the contemporary American definition of liberalism. I provisionally define liberalism (as opposed to conservatism)as the genuine concern for the welfare of genetically unrelated others and
    the willingness to contribute larger proportions of private resources for the welfare of such others. In the modern political and economic context,this willingness usually translates into paying higher proportions of individual incomes in taxes toward the government and its social welfare programs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  21. Andy says:

    Steve,

    would think that it fits more with the conservative attempt to return to the past, just one that never really existed.

    That makes no sense to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Pete says:
  23. PD Shaw says:

    American temperance is based upon Christian postmillennialism, the source of abolitionism, women’s rights, opposition to dueling, opposition to Indian removal, support of public schools, asylums for the insane, etc. (See Lyman Beecher) (Also, a source of anti-Catholicism and anti-immigration)

    The notion that America has a providential role with special responsibilities is something I note among both Democrats and Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    Andy:

    I accept that definition as a place holder. It’s good enough for government work as my father would say.

    It emphasizes empathy and concern for the welfare of genetically unrelated others. I think that’s a big part of the spectrum. It goes to the motivation element of liberalism.

    I had an interesting experience last night attending a banquet/party for families who have adopted Chinese orphans, usually girls. It’s a surprisingly large event, big enough that it has to be split into two dates of 500 or so people each. I was curious to see who our peers were. My sense is that politically this was a left of center group on the whole. A lot of academics and creatives but definitely some business people too. If you’d told me it was a gathering of somewhat older Daily Kos readers I’d have believed it.

    It is in some ways a quintessentially liberal thing to do. Each family went out of its way — at great expense incidentally — to incorporate the “other” into their own family. It mirrors the liberal belief in inclusion generally, in immigration, in the primary importance of humanity over nationality. It’s also part of a forward-looking ideation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  25. Drew says:

    Sexual exclusivity, eh? At last!! A study that irrefutably proves that Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy were NOT liberals!!

    “There’s a reason why “creatives” are overwhelmingly liberal. Creatives — artists, directors, designers, writers — spend their days creating not re-creating, inventing not pining for the good old days. That takes more horsepower.”

    Yep. I’ve always said, if you want to experience the ultimate essence of intellectual stimulation, watch a sitcom, it sit down and listen to a movie star lecture on foreign policy. ……..or maybe global warming.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

  26. john personna says:

    Confirmation bias is a wonderful thing, but you know, while everyone is guilty, I’d say the people with the actual study must be some fraction less so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    Drew:

    In terms of sheer IQ writing a sitcom undoubtedly takes more than, say, banking. Try it some time. It only looks easy to the uninitiated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  28. Gustopher says:

    I wonder if the correlation between high IQ and male monogamy might be explained by a correlation between high IQ and male smugness, repulsing women and reducing the opportunities for the man to sleep around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

  29. Drew says:

    You misinterpret my remarks, Michael.

    I completely agree with you. In fact, this might be an opportune time to relate a little known piece of US history.

    In the 60′s, after a frustrating six month period of “low horsepower” lack of creativity NASA made a bold move, replacing its entire engineering team with a blue ribbon panel that included Lucille Ball, John Steinback, Muddy Waters and Andy Warhol. Just think; Neal Armstrong set foot on the moon just a few years hence.

    In an interview Ms. Ball recalled “John was getting on in years and didn’t make it in every day, but – and as a writer he clearly was the most creative of the group – his insights on the LEM landing pads was pure innovative genius. And I can’t even begin to tell you about that pearl of insight on the leaky docking station seals.”

    Its an amazing story when you really think about it. One can only surmise that the American public is not up to the task of accepting the truth. Imagine the amazement if they knew Bill Gates was just a figurehead for Microsoft, the real brains being the unlikely duo of Julian Bream and Keith Richards?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  30. john personna says:

    And you wonder why conservatives shouldn’t do comedy! (Perhaps the lack of empathy locks them into humor that is a little too self-congratulatory.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    John:

    I think Drew was actually attempting something much deeper: he was demonstrating just how hard it is to write humor. I thought it was a generous move on his part to showcase his own limitations that way.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 4

  32. Matt says:

    The vast majority of Americans — including high IQ Americans and well educated Americans — are religious.

    I take issue with this statement. I’m quite sure that if there wasn’t such a public stigma against atheists or being non religious more people would be willing to admit it. I claim to be Christian only because it’s the religion closest to my beliefs that my family and co-workers would understand/tolerate and I’m clearly not the only one.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  33. sam says:

    @Michael

    I think Drew was actually attempting something much deeper: he was demonstrating just how hard it is to write humor.

    I thought the Julian Bream/Keith Richard thingy was kind of funny.

    BTW, as I said in another forum, Anyone who takes a study like this seriously is not someone you want to share a long taxi ride with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  34. floyd says:

    “”Bailey also said that these preferences may stem from a desire to show superiority or elitism, which also has to do with IQ. In fact, aligning oneself with “unconventional” philosophies such as liberalism or atheism may be “ways to communicate to everyone that you’re pretty smart,””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Insightful, germane, and accurate.

    Wait!!!! …(ellipsis) perhaps I should defer to a higher IQ as supported by his liberal atheism.
    Michael????……. assuming you are monogamous??????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    Sam:

    It’s mostly useful for tweaking conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    . . .assuming you are monogamous?

    Me? Are you kidding? Do you have any idea how many hot women are into fat, bald, cranky, almost-discount-movie-ticket-age, married guys who don’t dance and have two young kids?

    So, yes: monogamous.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  37. floyd says:

    Matt;
    So, are you saying that a large enough percentage of the population is cowardly and conformist to remove the word “vast” or the words “vast majority”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Drew says:

    Humor? Not really. (Know thyself.) But nice try. Just pointing out absurdity with absurdity.

    But let me leave the “high powered IQ, creative” types – you know, superior beings – with a thought. The very notion of the study, that one group, personality type or career path has a materially superior position wrt IQ, creativity, sexual proclivity or any other narrow trait is staggeringly inane. That it got support on this forum from certain folks is revealing, and I blush for its proponents.

    Although I do have to say this: I watch precious little TV, but I’ve seen an episode or two of Friends. And I always come away saying to myself, if only the writers would have become biochemists, the tragedy of heart disease as we know it would be but a distant memory. What a pity.

    Further, which one of you guys is going to tell S. Hawking that Jennifer Anniston has it all over his narrow, linear mind?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  39. Rick DeMent says:

    I have to say that any study that talks about IQ is, right off the bat, flawed since the concept of IQ is ill defined and even more difficult to test for. So the study mentioned is almost certainly crap.

    Having said that … I have to go along with Michael, the vast overwhelming majority of creative people are liberal for a lot of the reasons he suggests, the imagination to see things that aren’t or to juxtapose different ideas in ways that make then new and interesting.

    Need proof … go watch an American Carol, I could have made a much funnier “conservative” comedy myself. Conservatives seem to find some of the most overly emotional, pandering dreak the ultimate expression of artistic expression (Hymns, patriotic recitations and Lee Greenwood tunes). Hell Jon Stewart makes better jokes out of Liberals then Rush Limbaugh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  40. Matt says:

    Call it cowardly if you want but others would call it smart to not obscenely offend your boss etc..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Matt says:

    Hell “christian” is such a generic term these days that you probably couldn’t even get these “vast majority” of people to agree on the central tenants..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Dave Schuler says:

    One of the problems, as noted above, is definitional. Liberalism as it was defined, say, 80 years ago, has essentially ceased to exist and whether conservatism actually wants to conserve anything is problematic as well.

    The notion that America has a providential role with special responsibilities is something I note among both Democrats and Republicans.

    Whiggishness has dominated American thought on all sides of the political spectrum for decades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    Drew:

    What makes you think Hawking is a conservative? He’s an agnostic/atheist, connected with the Labour Party, and (horrors!) a kid book author. And I understand he’s done some other work as well. Sorry but he’s one of ours.

    A more apt contrast might be Steven Spielberg and Sean Hannity. A genius whose creativity has generated billions of dollars and reached audiences in every country on earth. And a pug dog in an ill-fitting suit barking out bumper stickers for the amusement of hillbillies.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  44. Rick DeMent says:

    …pug dog in an ill-fitting suit barking out bumper stickers for the amusement of hillbillies.

    Yeah but Michael Moore is fat!!!!

    Contrast these two and we see that liberals are funnier overall :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  45. Drew says:

    Rick DeMent -

    So Mr Smart, is it the vast majority, the overwhelming majority, or the vast overwhelming majority…….jest havin’ a tough time figgerin’ out yer brilliance.

    I’m goin’ back to my NASCAR race now – sheeeeit, its excitin’, but let me know yer, uh, figgerins’…………….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  46. Rick DeMent says:

    Although I must admit Hannity’s suits are nicely tailored .. .So that takes away few points but sticking the “for the amusement of hillbillies” landing more then made up for it.

    I give it a 5.6

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Rick DeMent says:

    Drew,

    Well I wrote:

    … the vast overwhelming majority

    Which I suppose is a bit redundant but I thought in this case the the cadence of the phrase warranted it’s conclusion.

    And I don’t consider myself all that smart I just have a knack of recognizing it in others. Which is why when I hear members of my family say things like, “that Rush Limbaugh is just brilliant” I get the urge to commit ceremonial Heri Kari.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  48. Stan says:

    The Republicans have been dumbing down their message for years. The prominence of Sarah Palin and the deification of Joe the Plumber are examples. The poll cited in Joyner’s post shows that the policy is working. Republicans are really, really good at politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  49. floyd says:

    Stan;
    So, you think the dumb message and bad politics works to keep republicans on the reservation?
    Actually it looks like they can’t focus on anything for long and the flock is scattering before their eyes. What I see is a two party system… the Democrat Party, and those opposed to the Democrat Party. Most of the latter still reluctantly vote for republicans due to a lack of commitment or organization.

    Now, contrast that with David Axelrod, he’s pretty smart at politics, I hear he’s a direct descendant of the actual Pied Piper of Hamlin.
    With his “smart message” and good Chicago style politics, he is able to keep the DemocRATS leaping and drowning in a pool of Kool-Aid!
    It’s the townspeople, though, who will eventually pay the piper for a tune out of key.

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  50. floyd says:

    Matt;
    I understand, but Joseph never had to suck up to Pharaoh.

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  51. Drew says:

    “Which I suppose is a bit redundant but I thought in this case the the cadence of the phrase warranted it’s conclusion.”

    Sure you did, good buddy.

    “And I don’t consider myself all that smart I just have a knack of recognizing it in others. Which is why when I hear members of my family say things like, “that Rush Limbaugh is just brilliant” I get the urge to commit ceremonial Heri Kari.”

    Well, its hari kari, or seppuku, but you can still play!! Seein’s how you are part of the “intellectual class.”

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  52. tom p says:

    Anyone who takes a study like this seriously is not someone you want to share a long taxi ride with.

    Says it all.

    I have a # of friends of “higher” IQ. (doctors, lawyers, very successful bussiness men) One of them is a guy who never got past the 6th grade. He see’s things happening on the streets I never would (and I am “street savvy”) He is dyslexic, and schizophrenic… and smarter than I ever will be (i once tested at 135+… so what?) Yet he lives in a rundown house, travels the country looking for “answers”, and, on occasion, does a little dumpster diving.

    Some people (dare I say “most”?) confuse “intelligence” with “success”

    It ain’t the same thing.

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  53. tom p says:

    Well, its hari kari, or seppuku, but you can still play!! Seein’s how you are part of the “intellectual class.”

    Drew, if you want to get on your high horse, you might at least know what the F you are talking about. The word is “harakiri”….

    Intellectual you ain’t. Hell and damnation, you ain’t even literate.

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  54. Drew says:

    “What makes you think Hawking is a conservative? He’s an agnostic/atheist”

    Who said that? Not me. I, too, am agnostic. And it was you, not me, who claimed the technical class was inferior. Steven would be disappointed. The more I witness your argumentation, the less I respect your intellect. In fact, its not been a good show for you today old boy.

    But who am I, a pedestrian mechanic, to argue with (drum roll) an “author?”

    “A more apt contrast might be Steven Spielberg and Sean Hannity. A genius whose creativity has generated billions of dollars and reached audiences in every country on earth. And a pug dog in an ill-fitting suit barking out bumper stickers for the amusement of hillbillies.”

    Wow. I must admit this tack was unexpected, but interesting. So money earned is now the measure. Game over. You lose. You are an idiot. I’m a genius. Money rules.

    You don’t even want to know the number.

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  55. Michael Reynolds says:

    Drew:

    Are you bored with this now? I am. Sorry, I just did Costco on a Sunday (speaking of being not very bright) and I’m worn out.

    Then again I pretty much cornered the market on paper towel.

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  56. [...] #2: Here is a link to an ungated PDF of Kanazawa’s article [HT: James Joyner, who also has links to various other critiques of Kanazawa]. Categories: Libertarianism, [...]

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  57. Drew says:

    Michael -

    Nice exit.

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  58. steve says:

    Andy- When conservative arent pining for the fjords, they seem to spend a lot of time pining for the good old days, especially the 50s. Alas, they pine for a version of that time that never really existed. Most conservatives really dont want their wives and daughters to be limited to secretarial, nursing and teaching jobs, but that was part of the 50s. Most dont really want Jim Crow back, but that was part of the 50s.

    Steve

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  59. Drew says:

    tom p -

    Please don’t hurt me!!!

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  60. tom p says:

    tom p -

    Please don’t hurt me!!!

    Drew- stop digging. The hole only gets deeper. Reading is fundamemtal

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  61. anjin-san says:

    And a pug dog in an ill-fitting suit barking out bumper stickers for the amusement of hillbillies.

    It is mildly amusing when Hannity breaks out his knee pads for another Rascal Flatts interview.

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  62. anjin-san says:

    Some people (dare I say “most”?) confuse “intelligence” with “success”

    A lot of successful people get that way by hiring people who are smarter then they are. A lot of things go into success – drive, focus, decisiveness, vision, energy & determination are a few. Intelligence is certainly useful, but not essential. I have worked for a number of people who are not as smart as I am, but they had other qualities that took them places.

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  63. Go Go Go says:

    The funny thing about this: It was conservatives who held up similar IQ study analyses in the 50′s to justify racism and oppose the civil rights movement. For those of us who remember and were outraged by such rationalizations, there’s a certain guilty satisfaction in this result.

    Incidentally, this is the fourth study of its kind to reach a similar conclusion (with different databases and variations of the “liberal/conservative” definitions). It was also written by non-liberals: The three researchers included a libertarian and two conservatives.

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  64. [...] (however defined) but occasionally you’ll see stories claiming the opposite. This weekend James Joyner commented on one such [...]

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  65. John425 says:

    This study was done by the very same “climatologists” whose most recent works have been debunked.

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  66. Have a nice G.A. says:

    Hell Jon Stewart makes better jokes out of Liberals then Rush Limbaugh.

    lolHeehee, what are you high, or still in Junior High?

    None of you liberals who write are funny, except for Harry, and then he is just funny looking:)

    Well, I guess Alex has had a moment or two.

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  67. beejeez says:

    Oh, lighten up, conservatives. You still have all the money.

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  68. Tony says:

    Unless I get my first century history wrong then Jesus was a liberal, although not religious I seem to remember a bible story about Jesus upsetting a table with ‘moneychangers’ (bankers?) in the first temple and helping the poor (not the rich). Then it doesn’t make any sense to me that a majority of conservatives that favor the aristocracy are religious??, it seems that it should be the other way around or there should be no real link between religion and politics at all(obviously this is inconsistent with statics). We’ll thats my 2 cents worth from an ultra intelligent liberal atheist, nice to know i’m not alone.

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  69. [...] Myers, James Joyner and Ilya Somin are skeptical. So am [...]

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  70. heidi says:

    I must say all the conservatives sound really defensive. Bullying rhetoric, snarky comments and ad hominem attacks don’t actually make you sound more intelligent, they make you sound less intelligent. But that’s just the opinion of a mensa IQ’d, liberal atheist.

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  71. Steph says:

    In fact, aligning oneself with “unconventional” philosophies such as liberalism or atheism may be “ways to communicate to everyone that you’re pretty smart,” he said

    arggghh… I’m not atheist or liberal (IQ 140) because I “align” myself with “unconventional philosophies” to make people think I’m smart!!

    I find that very annoying.

    I remember growing up an army brat wanting VERY MUCH to be like everyone else around me. I just NEVER believed. I remember being 4 years old when it dawned on me – sitting in a church – that these people really do believe all this stuff and I do not.

    I spent years hiding my feelings and I still don’t talk about my non-believe with many people (luckily my husband is somewhere between agnostic and deist).

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