For as long as I have been alive, the Left has been trying to “prove” they are the smartest kids in the room. One tactic is to attack religion and by extension the religious, who they naturally see as their enemy. This makes some sense, given that Progressivism is nothing but a poorly defined civic religion. Stuff like this is the sort of thing they like to wave around to prove they are super-smart. I’ll assume the authors of this study are making a good faith effort, but 30-plus years of this act naturally makes me skeptical.
I’m not a particularly religious person so I don’t have a dog in the fight. I just think the Left’s war on Christianity is a lot like what we see in the Arab world. Islam, like all living religions, is intolerant of other religions. After all, if you are sure your faith is correct and others are in error, or worse, an offense to god, then how can you in good conscience tolerate these false religions? The answer is obvious, which is why all religions, with the exception of race-based faiths, always try to dominate other religions through proselytizing or worse.
Of course, Muslims really hate Jews, because Jews put a lot of effort into pitting one Muslim against another, as part of Israel’s survival strategy. American have been taught that Muslims hate Jews because Hitler, but that’s nonsense. Muslims don’t hate Jews on religious grounds or even geopolitical grounds. That’s part of it, but the real issue is that faithful Muslims believe in unity of the faithful. Therefore, they look at Israel’s geopolitical shenanigans as a war on Islam itself. For Muslims, hating Jews is self-defense.
Now, in the case of this study, assuming it is a serious effort at examining the issue, is they start with the assumption religion is strictly about the super natural. Even more specifically, they narrow religion to Christianity. It leaves out secular religions like Marxism and anti-religions like atheism. Both are mass movements that hold the same appeal for adherents. They trade their identity for that of the group. My bet is if we broadened the scope of religion to include secular faiths, the difference in IQ would be trivial.
I’m fond of pointing out that even the most brilliant people subscribe to magical thinking and superstition. Blaise Pascal, the father of probability, computer science and statistics was a heretical Catholic fanatic. Many of the men who worked on the Manhattan Project were religious Jews, as well as Marxists. J. B. S. Haldane was a communist, were many intellectuals of his day. Belief in the worker’s paradise is every bit as wacky as anything the Bible believing Christians can muster. Belief is not just about religion.
That said, Jason Richwine is probably right. Higher IQ could lead to greater skepticism and therefore lower religiosity. The reason is high intelligence often has a strange humbling effect. Once you get outside the normal range, the genuinely gifted can see the limits of human intelligence more clearly, as they tend to be in frustrating fields like math and science. That’s inevitably going to result a great deal of skepticism about everything, not just religion. IQ and skepticism are probably co-dependent cognitive traits.
A caveat to that would be people with an exceptional verbal IQ and average quantitative reasoning. That would explain the high number of Jewish communists, for example. A people bred for solving complex word games as a part of their status system are probably inclined to accept magic as within the domain of possible answers. People with high spatial, could also be an exception. In other words, the empirically minded will probably be the most skeptically minded, and therefore the least religions, with some exceptions.
None of this really matters much. Most people are not so smart as to fall beyond the line between belief and skepticism. That’s certainly true for the hooting fanatics of the Progressive cult, who fall for every nutty fad that springs from egalitarianism and the blank slate. it much more reasonable to believe a Jewish hippy was the son of God, than to think better pre-school is going to solve black crime. The Left still think you can talk people out of mental illness. To be on the Left means the total suspension of disbelief.