A study published in Social Psychology Quarterly concludes that intelligent people are more likely to be night owls, more likely to be liberals, and more likely to be atheists. Intelligent men (but not intelligent women) are also more likely to be sexually exclusive.
“General intelligence, the ability to think and reason, endowed our ancestors with advantages in solving evolutionarily novel problems for which they did not have innate solutions,” says Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science. “As a result, more intelligent people are more likely to recognize and understand such novel entities and situations than less intelligent people, and some of these entities and situations are preferences, values, and lifestyles.” …
In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals.
Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa’s hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as “very liberal” have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as “very conservative” have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.
Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans’ tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see “the hands of God” at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. “Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid,” says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. “So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists.”
Young adults who identify themselves as “not at all religious” have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as “very religious” have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.
The funniest thing about this is the response on the American Conservative Values blog:
This study is totally absurd and ridiculous. Intelligence is the God given ability to learn, process, and think, which is not a respecter of ideology or class. For all you intellectual elitist here’s something to chap your hide:
For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly.” Proverbs 2:6
Just in case you were wondering whether there was really anything to this.
The article is “Why Liberals And Atheists Are More Intelligent,” Social Pyschology Quarterly, March 2010.