Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weighing up our values with our intelligence

My point of view from a conversation online with a friend (refer to the beginning of the article below - with a link to the rest of the article):

That's really interesting. I'd like to see the statistics about those who enter cults, because I had read somewhere that the majority of people who join cults independently in young adulthood actually have a high IQ and are evoluntionarily novel to their 'pack.' I'd take this with a grain of salt - I know some damn intelligent religious people and really annoyingly not so smart atheists who all they need to back their argument is that 'religion is stupid' - some of which were brought up with religion, so that's more understandable!

I find that sweeping statement of "Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid," in some instances is certainly true, but what about the capacity within our brains to 'feel' the presence of a universal consciousness? I just hate sweeping statements that put people in a box where they're suggesting that fear and paranoia is a part of ALL religions! 

Individuals can be a combination of the things they are suggesting: I 'care' about strangers to an extent as we are all a part of the one organism - so this article suggests that I am smarter in this case via being evolutionarily novel, BUT if I'm religious - which I am - I'm put into another box yet again which suggests that I can't be religious and liberal simultaneously. And I was an atheist during high school with an IQ at the time of 126 and now I'm Wiccan... I know it's all very general science, but it's... kind of weak! 

I simply don't like the suggestion that I cannot have social values from my religion and not be able to see past the values which are 'dictated' to me - certainly not the case with Wicca!  Just because I have these set of values does not mean that I do not have the capacity to question and reason other people's values.  Perhaps I'm reading into this far too much!

An excerpt of the article
From Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2010) — More intelligent people are statistically significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history.  Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.

The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values.  The theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years."
"Evolutionarily novel" preferences and values are those that humans are not biologically designed to have and our ancestors probably did not possess.  In contrast, those that our ancestors had for millions of years are "evolutionarily familiar."

Click here to read the rest of the article
- Thanks Steph!

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