Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

The % of intellectuals that are atheist/agnostic is higher than the % of others that are atheist/agnostic. Why so?

  

154 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you agree that in general (from your experience) , there are more intellectuals that tend to be atheists/agnostic than others?

    • Yes
      117
    • No
      37


Recommended Posts

The majority people that I know and consider to be intellectual/smart are either atheist or agnostic.

Is there a connection between intellectualism and atheism?

The more you learn, the more you tend to go away from religious beliefs? (or not?)

Are most education systems in the modern world (this includes systems of countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, China... + IB) designed to make individuals shun religion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The more you learn, the more you tend to go away from religious beliefs? (or not?)

Nope, Im completely opposite, the more I know the more i tend towards my religious beliefs because they agree with it and i find them in my beliefs and religion, especially in Biology HL. So no I wouldnt agree on that.

The majority people that I know and consider to be intellectual/smart are either atheist or agnostic.

Is there a connection between intellectualism and atheism?

Although I'm not sure I understood 'intellectualism' EXACTLY(although I know the general meaning) but I do consider myself one and im neither an atheist nor agnostic. So personally I dont see a connection.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree with the claim that well-educated people, not necessarily intelligent people, tend to be agnostic (I wouldn't go as far as saying atheist).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with deissi above. I speak from experience in the Indian subcontinent and there, the poorer you are, the more religious and 'godly' you tend to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes but that doesnt mean, the more educated you are, the more agnostic or atheist you are. I dont see it has any correlation what so ever, from my point of view that is.

I kind of agree about the poorer you are claim, but not with the other one.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't completely understand what you mean by intellectuals. It seems like you both "mean educated people thinking analytically" and "people wih high IQ." Arguably, there exists a correlation between these two groups. Thinking of Western Europe in general, writers, artists, lawyers, etc tend to be non-religious, but so does the rest of the population. Sadly, I can't find any surveys. It would be interesting to see if these are different from people in general.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I Do think that people with more education seem to be more religious than those who are less....intellectual I guess? I think it's because people who tend to think a lot tend to question things a lot more, whereas others may tend to just accept things how they're presented to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. That is what I meant. More well-educated (as compared to 'intelligent') individuals tend to be agnostic/atheist.

No one mentioned anything about our system of education - is that what is leading us away from religion?

I Do think that people with more education seem to be more religious than those who are less....intellectual I guess?

You mean 'less religious' ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No one mentioned anything about our system of education - is that what is leading us away from religion?

I hope you're not suggesting that secular education is indoctrination because secular.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes. That is what I meant. More well-educated (as compared to 'intelligent') individuals tend to be agnostic/atheist.

No one mentioned anything about our system of education - is that what is leading us away from religion?

You mean 'less religious' ?

Wow my bad, thanks for the correcton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope you're not suggesting that secular education is indoctrination because secular.

Because secular what?

People generally think of religion of something separate from other parts of their life. From my experience, they generally don't mix, say, their religious learnings and their history class (although I do know of people that do so). The only part of a secular education that might detract from religion would be science: most of it contradicts the more conservative movements of Intelligent Design, etc. although most of my liberal friends claim that they're generally compatible. I think there are very few people that completely change their way of thinking because of the education - they usually just keep believing what they've always believed, even if there are contradictions, obvious evidences that they're wrong, etc.

But that's just from a US standpoint. I can imagine that perhaps in other countries where there isn't a separation of church and state there might be mandatory prayer in schools? That might affect how religious people become.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope you're not suggesting that secular education is indoctrination because secular.

Religious education, i.e. education based on a single religion is generally considered to be indocterination of a particular and generally narrow minded viewpoint.

Secular education would be education that does not edorse the beliefs of any particular religion i.e. it is simple seperate from religion.

Personally, I strongly believe that educational institutions should be secular.

However, what I am trying to figure out is that what is there in the Western education system which ensures that the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be a devout follower of a specific religion.

Secular education is meant to be seperate from religion and hence should not have and affect on how individuals view religion.

...but there is surely a correlation between level of education and religious beliefs.

What is the cause of that correlation?

Reason for edit: Spelling mistake I just noticed.

Edited by 1-2-3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is the cause of that coorelation?

I would argue with reasonable confidence that the design of the education system has little or nothing to do with it. The nature of secular education is more of a factor, I think. If people find themselves moving away from dogma, it's because they have determined those beliefs to be incompatible with the realities that they've discovered through various subjects and paradigms of learning.

Take biology, for example. The education system doesn't tell you that when you die you cease to exist. Atheists have made that connection on their own when they realize that the matter comprising their bodies (including their brains and perhaps therefore their "souls") cycles through the ecosystem right here on planet Earth, giving new life to other organisms in place of their own. The idea of an immaterial spirit also begins to seem less likely to them when they consider the possibility that, biologically, humans are no different from other living organisms in terms of what constitutes being alive or dead.

As another example, someone who studies history could be far less inclined to believe that the development of religions lies in divine revelation rather than sheer human ingenuity.

These are just generalizations, of course. People can make it through the education system completely unchanged in their beliefs. But doing so requires a willful ignorance of the implications of your learning. And that's where I think the use of the word "intellectuals" is more appropriate to describe the phenomenon we're talking about here.

Edited by Mr. Shiver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want an easy answer, there are two.

One, people who are the rebellious sort and also kind of smart enjoy feeling smarter than religious people, so they go atheist to further their ability to look down on "the masses," since they may harbor some dislike for religion, for whatever reason. Alot of nihilists, social anarchists or very left wing people adopt atheism due to their anti-right stance, rather than any belief or disbelief in god. That's reason 1, and this is all generalization.

Reason two, in my opinion, is that enlightened people adopt agnosticism to some extent as soon as they start to gain an understanding of philosophy. This is because fundamentalism and philosophy don't mix when you add freedom of thought and speech in to the mix. The more education you have, the higher chance you have of realizing that the bible isn't absolute truth, and even if you don't reject religion in its entirety (due to backlash) you'd have adopted the ability to question faith, and by that regard, you would know that god may not exist, and thus you would be agnostic, even if you continued to believe in a god.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What the hell have we been learning in TOK. Nothing is right. After months an months of TOK and Philosophy I no longer believe in Love, have almost no belief in the concept of a God, I now believe there is no reason to life and have in a way become a Nihilist without even realizing it.

I don't know why most educated people are atheists... Maybe it's because Education demands proof for every little thing you do, so in the search for proof of religion you hit the wall of "There is none" and therefore drop the idea that any type of God exists and focus only on plausible arguments that can be physically proven... Which is funny because Quantum Physicists "most of the time" can only prove their conclusions mathematically, but atheist still find that plausible... I'm afraid I have circled around and hit a brick wall. We must find a different approach.

Edited by Psychobabble

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From a purely rational perspective, if you feel something that you define to be love, then love must exist, because the feeling is present and you have defined it... so it's really your choice as to what you define it to be, but there's good precedent in philosophy to argue that since love and reproductive desires are different, there's something else involved there that in general would be considered an attraction on a more enlightened level.

Anyways, if you want to look at it differently, there's just as much proof for nihilism as there is for anything else. Saying that nobody can prove life has meaning is worthless if you can't prove that life has no meaning. Likewise, you can't prove that there's no god, though the lack of an overall observer in quantum mechanics suggest that a god's perception would be limited to the sum of human perception, which in turn suggests taking a more agnostic approach to the question, since we see that there's a good possibility that the universe exists simply because we do, and by that regard exists for us, instead of alongside us. Taking that one step further and applying Nietzsche's ideas about Nihilism, human expression on the universe would be regarded as the purpose behind life, since life can have no other effect but to express itself upon existence. Basically, if life has a purpose, it must be that, and since we do that irrationally (Ie. Creating art, which is not really rational, though we are driven to do it anyways) it is very likely that we do so purposefully. There's my half-attempt at a modern argument against Nihilism, it's not flawless, of course, and I do know that.

As to the second thing, education does not demand proof for every little thing you do. That is only ever true in the study of math. Guess the issue is that the idea of plausible arguments and physical proof is that it leads to empiricism, which is in its nature irrational. It is much safer to understand physical evidence as "likely truths" than proof, and that proof and logic is what is used to turn these premises in to models which can be used to predict the outcome of experiments. Quantum physics is complicated, so unless you go through the steps of learning it, there's no point in passing judgment on how it's done. Math is better proof than experimentation, if the premises are valid.

I'd almost go so far as to say that there are a whole lot of "half-educated" atheists out there who by many standards are educated in full. Someone who learns things without learning philosophy could easily become crazy about science and believe that god can't exist because it can't be proven experimentally. This is dead wrong, of course, but many so-called educated people believe it to be true. There's also the case of superiority, in which someone with a good understanding of how things work can dismiss the possibility of god as something believed by uneducated or stupid people who otherwise can't explain things. On top of that, learning basic philosophy allows someone to prove that god can't exist as depicted by Christianity, so people who see this often end up just giving up on the thought after that, and citing the same little logic arguments whenever it comes up. Give someone a little knowledge and they'll be willing to change their whole belief system, but when you give someone everything, it's much easier for them to realize that there are too many questions and not enough premises on which to base answers.

In a more social sense, there are many who want religion to be wrong because they feel that religion has either wronged them or wronged others, so they take up atheism with a strong comfirmation bias. Such people could have moral issues with some things done in the name of religion, or just bear a general dislike for being told what to do. The political left has a large concentration of educated atheists, though many that I know personally have absolutely no philosophical background to speak of.

Even further, many agnostics will simply say they are atheist because they don't perscribe to any religion. This general misunderstanding of the word "theism" stems from the idea that unless you are religious you are atheist, and that agnostics just have no clue and accept everyone and their ideas. In reality, many atheists are agnostic because they are not materialist, and because if you ask them, they will acknowledge that they can't prove that god doesn't exist.

The final reason is that there are few reasons for educated people to take up religion unless they were educated in a religious environment. (though doing this often leads to rebelling against religion, educating in a religion-free environment seldom leads to the converse) This is because nobody wants to start accepting irrational principles, and unless you do that, you can't start believing in a god from not doing so, though it is quite easy to drop the irrational principles of a religion, given some knowledge. What most people fail to realize is that it's equally irrational to believe in no god, though they assume that since "no god" is the natural state of things, they can simply pass the burden of proof on to religious people and forget about it. This state of voluntary ignorance of logic is one that prevades atheism, and in general, is missed completely by most educated people, because it's much more complicated than the education required to become atheist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What most people fail to realize is that it's equally irrational to believe in no god, though they assume that since "no god" is the natural state of things, they can simply pass the burden of proof on to religious people and forget about it.

Well, the burden of proof does rest on the theists in a debate between theists and non-theists over God's existence. As far as I know, there is no "natural state".

Hence what I said earlier:

Now in theory if the debate shifted to being between atheists and non-atheists, the burden of proof would rest on the atheists to make their case for God's non-existence--but that scenario doesn't typically happen because it's much harder to argue that something isn't there that to argue that it is.

In other words, atheists have the benefit of not being able to give proof for their assertion in the same way that theists could, empirically speaking. Rationally speaking neither party is able to prove their case, because even if an argument is completely valid (see Anselm's ontological argument), it could still be meaningless. I personally think certainty or anything close to it is impossible here, but that atheism, epistemologically speaking, is a more consistent position to take than theism (and therefore perhaps more attractive to intellectuals). I'm agnostic though.

Edited by Mr. Shiver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, and I think it's to do with mindset. Intellectual people tend to be very critical of things and therefore very poor at accepting things on faith once they've found out something questionable relating to what they previously believed.

Similarly I find a lot of intellectual people come from backgrounds of fellow intellectual people, and there tends to be a low religion 'drive' amongst families, even if they do have religion. As a consequence kids aren't taught to be religious and so turn out sans religion.

I should also add that, from the point of view of many other countries and populations (although not all, obviously!), the US has poor separation of church and state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Let's just all embrace existentialism. :wtf:

I don't know if that was directed to me, but when I said meaningless I meant having no relation to reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.