Atheism Should End Religion, Not Replace It

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Religion cannot and should not be replaced by atheism. Religion needs to go away and not be replaced by anything. Atheism is not a religion. It’s the absence of religion, and that’s a wonderful thing.
Religion is not morality. Theists ask me, “If there’s no god, what would stop me from raping and killing everyone I want to.” My answer is always: “I, myself, have raped and killed everyone I want to … and the number for both is zero.” Behaving morally because of a hope of reward or a fear of punishment is not morality. Morality is not bribery or threats. Religion is bribery and threats. Humans have morality. We don’t need religion.

Religion is faith. Faith is belief without evidence. Belief without evidence cannot be shared. Faith is a feeling. Love is also a feeling, but love makes no universal claims. Love is pure. The lover reports on his or her feelings and needs nothing more. Faith claims knowledge of a world we share but without evidence we can share. Feeling love is beautiful. Feeling the earth is 6,000 years old is stupid.

Written By: Penn Jillette
continue to source article at nytimes.com

43 COMMENTS

  1. Little-to-no chance of religion disappearing completely, best to hope for remnants to sustain the ever-present eccentrics. Some religious belief is acceptable (Buddhism) whilst some is not (Islam); focusing on the extreme versions and leaving the (relatively) benign alone is more likely to get results, IMO.

  2. Jillette makes a couple of fair points here. One is his clear refutation of the frequent and annoying assertion that “atheism is just another religion.” It is not, particularly when someone is like Richard or myself and will acknowledge being something like a 6.9 on the seven point scale–technically an agnostic, in that we do not claim absolute certainty, but functionally and practically an atheist in finding the god hypothesis profoundly improbable and unconvincing.

    The other is divorcing morality from religion. The notion that fear of punishment is all that prevents humans from wanton murder and violence is deeply offensive.

    And for those troubled by the notion that atheism should replace religion–that that represents an unrealistic and needlessly antagonistic stance–I think Jillette is arguing that case on an individual basis. I do not think he is expecting anything like universal adoption of atheism, but rather is saying that individuals can and should replace whatever religion was inflicted upon them in childhood with the rationality, skepticism and the reliance on evidence that are the hallmarks of sound atheism.

  3. I could not agree more with Penn. I hate the idea of faithless churches and non religious pastors and all that crap. There is no need to replace religion with anything.

    I even hate the idea of atheist conferences and meetings. I am that unherdable cat.

  4. Brilliantly well written article from Penn Gillette, expressing in two short paragraphs one of the great falsehoods at the heart of organised religion.

    And in reply to two other posters:

    Firstly James Martin:

    If you think all the books written by religious authors are legitimate ways to make money, why do you object when a non-religious author makes reasoned and reasonable criticisms of religion? And if you don’t think books written by religious authors are legitimate ways to make money, why make the comment in the first place?

    Secondly NoDimmi:

    While I agree “benign” religion shouldn’t be a priority target while fundamentalist religion is doing so much damage to the world. Fundamentalists as a group are the ones least likely to respond positively to reason, they already don’t listen to and don’t care about view-points other than their own.

    What I see happening in the future is the gulf between reason and religion will become ever more polarised because the “floating voters” will eventually reach a decision and move towards either reason or religion.

    If these people move towards reason, then the fundamentalists feel more exposed because of their loss of market penetration and become more extreme in desperation (after all they can’t be wrong), or they move towards religion, in which case the fundamentalists feel encouraged because their rhetoric is clearly working

  5. In reply to #7 by BroughtyBoy:

    Nice and concise, but surely the object is not to “get rid” of religion, but instead to neuter it, until it fades away into a benign backround hum.

    Hmmmm, religion as “white noise”? To me, it would be more like the constant, irritating drone of the local coal power plant.

  6. Hey, at least Jillette will pay his fair share of taxes on the money he earns. Talk about this type of thing when the playing field is level. When churches start paying their fair share, we can start the conversation.

  7. I believe in science and that means I want to apply it to everything, including defining what religion is. The scientific study of religion is still in its infancy, there is little consensus on anything yet, but any book I’ve ever picked up on the topic, whether buy an anthropologist, evolutionary biologist, or other researcher agrees that religion is more than just a bunch of irrational dumb ideas. It definitely IS that as well but its clearly more than that. As anthropologist Scott Atran says if religion is nothing more than irrational belief in made up beings then why are people willing to sacrifice their lives (and the lives of others) for Jesus but not for Mickey Mouse?

  8. In reply to #14 by bluebird:

    In reply to #7 by BroughtyBoy:Nice and concise, but surely the object is not to “get rid” of religion, but instead to neuter it, until it fades away into a benign backround hum.Hmmmm, religion as “white noise”? To me, it would be more like the constant, irritating drone of the local coal power plant.

    Indeed. One person’s benign background humming is another person’s constant repition of that tune that I hate but cannot get out of my head, repeated constantly on a tone deaf loop from the moment I wake until I drift off to sleep. Which is how I feel about religion. It just worries me that if it does go away, as Penn (in my head we’re on first name terms) wants then the hole it leaves will be as irritating as the aural hole when the idiot across from me goes home and the humming stops.
    Or perhaps I should just get some earplugs and stop reading comments on articles in the daily mail.

  9. In reply to #19 by sbooder:

    In reply to #18 by Keyboards:

    I’m surprised rd.net would post anything by this climate change skeptic.

    For the same reason he would post things by CH, we do not all have to agree on everything.

    Not sure who you mean by “he”. And I assume CH is Christopher Hitchens?

  10. In reply to #12 by N_Ellis:

    Brilliantly well written article from Penn Gillette, expressing in two short paragraphs one of the great falsehoods at the heart of organised religion.

    And in reply to two other posters:

    Firstly James Martin:

    If you think all the books written by religious authors are legitimate ways to make money, why do you object when a non-religious author makes reasoned and reasonable criticisms of religion? And if you don’t think books written by religious authors are legitimate ways to make money, why make the comment in the first place?

    Secondly NoDimmi:

    While I agree “benign” religion shouldn’t be a priority target while fundamentalist religion is doing so much damage to the world. Fundamentalists as a group are the ones least likely to respond positively to reason, they already don’t listen to and don’t care about view-points other than their own.

    What I see happening in the future is the gulf between reason and religion will become ever more polarised because the “floating voters” will eventually reach a decision and move towards either reason or religion.

    If these people move towards reason, then the fundamentalists feel more exposed because of their loss of market penetration and become more extreme in desperation (after all they can’t be wrong), or they move towards religion, in which case the fundamentalists feel encouraged because their rhetoric is clearly working

    Correct- I am not discussing fundamentalism here but Islam itself- which is extremist, period. Perhaps including it as a ‘religion’ is wrong as it is far more than that. There must be a confrontation soon; western values and freedom are in peril from creeping Islamisation and I fear we may be distracted by other beliefs that pose no real threat.

  11. What I do wonder is… what we imagine would happen if indeed religion fades away at some point. I mean, we already have examples of atheistic societies, mainly the so-called “communist” regimes, which either totally seperated state from church, or at many times actively persecuted religion(say, the Maoist Cultural Revolution, which also, by the way, proves that it’s not really true that “it takes religion for good people to do evil things”).

    We also have, right now, N.Korea as an example(unless you are going to argue that they’re not ‘true’ atheists because they pretend to worship the head of the state). No, I’m not saying those regimes were ‘evil’ because they were atheistic, I’m saying though that they did away with religion, and still things weren’t much better. And if we know that a society doesn’t necessarily gets better by getting rid of religion, well then what’s the point of all the talk about ‘total eradication’ of religion? Just my current thoughts…

  12. Atheism is the absence of religion. We don’t really need atheism. We just need to get rid of religion.

    But if atheism is the absence of religion (and I agree), if we “get rid of religion”, then we have atheism, whether that’s the intention or not? Or have I missed his point?

  13. In reply to #1 by James Martin:

    Atheism is………..a way to make more money.

    It’s certainly a way to avoid wasting money donating it prop up charlatan fundies and faith-head proselytising, dogmatist, ignoramuses.

  14. Be a good sport and try to be clearer, you might have something to say but we’ll never know if you don’t take the time… I’d be interested in a list of good ways to make money, perhaps you can start a separate discussion?

    In reply to #6 by James Martin:

    In reply to #3 by Nodhimmi:
    Some religious belief is acceptable (Buddhism)

    That’s a good one. Thanks for the lolz.

  15. In reply to #16 by Red Dog:

    As anthropologist Scott Atran says if religion is nothing more than irrational belief in made up beings then why are people willing to sacrifice their lives (and the lives of others) for Jesus but not for Mickey Mouse?

    Mr. Atran a bit of a pompous bloviating legend in his own mind is known for selectively denying (your quote from him above seems to show him accepting it for Christianity) the role that religious texts play in influencing people’s behaviour.

    In that regard he can be seen to receive a fine and rigorous putting in his place by Sam Harris here, here,
    here and here.

    To get a sense of the vapidity of Atran’s quote and your ill advised decision to trot it out as your presumed knock ‘em dead argument for religion being “clearly more than just a bunch of irrational dumb ideas” try this:

    If religion is nothing more than irrational belief in made up beings then why are people willing to sacrifice their lives (and the lives of others) for Mohammed but not for Mickey Mouse?

    Mickey Mouse has not 72 virgins on offer in the afterlife.

  16. In reply to #23 by JoxerTheMighty:

    What I do wonder is… what we imagine would happen if indeed religion fades away at some point. I mean, we already have examples of atheistic societies, mainly the so-called “communist” regimes, which either totally seperated state from church, or at many times actively persecuted religion(say, the Maoist Cultural Revolution,

    and you have examples of countries where religion has pretty much faded away like Canada, Europe, Australia, NZ etc. These are countries where, whatever people put on census forms, the reality of most people’s lives is that religion is an irrelevancy. It’s certainly not the thing that saves us from descending into totalitarian political chaos. That would be our democratic traditions, relative wealth, free press etc.

    Michael

  17. Red Dog:

    The scientific study of religion is still in its infancy, there is little consensus on anything yet, but any book I’ve ever picked up on the topic, whether buy an anthropologist, evolutionary biologist, or other researcher agrees that religion is more than just a bunch of irrational dumb ideas.

    AFAIC religion is little more than organised superstition.

    What “more” is there to it?

  18. Atheism will (should) end religion, but once religion is gone (or becomes a weird thing practised by very few nutters), there can be no atheism either. If no-one cares about gods, what’s the point in specifically saying “I don’t believe in gods”?

  19. Very good few rational words, that’s all that is needed from people such as Penn. We need more ‘celebrities’ – popular, well liked, just like Penn, to speak publicly in this way more often. It would surely help to erode the religious ‘foundation’ on which the world seems to be turning.

  20. In reply to #16 by Red Dog:

    I believe in science and that means I want to apply it to everything, including defining what religion is. The scientific study of religion is still in its infancy, there is little consensus on anything yet, but any book I’ve ever picked up on the topic, whether buy an anthropologist, evolutionary biologist, or other researcher agrees that religion is more than just a bunch of irrational dumb ideas. It definitely IS that as well but its clearly more than that. As anthropologist Scott Atran says if religion is nothing more than irrational belief in made up beings then why are people willing to sacrifice their lives (and the lives of others) for Jesus but not for Mickey Mouse?

    I must say that Scott Atran has always made me wince.

    Is Mickey Mouse a level comparison to Jesus? What does anybody ask of you in Mickey’s name? Are their groups of people who think they owe their salvation and existence to Mickey? More importantly do they harbor the thought that everyone and everything else holds this debt to Mickey as well?

  21. In reply to #30 by ShadowMind:

    Atheism will (should) end religion, but once religion is gone (or becomes a weird thing practised by very few nutters), there can be no atheism either. If no-one cares about gods, what’s the point in specifically saying “I don’t believe in gods”?

    What is then needed is some cultural agreed codes of conduct based on social groupings and objectives, because there will still be different opinions and interest groups.

    They should be more political and liberal, if totalitarian political cults are not to replace dogmatic religious ones. Many scientific and professional bodies (which have not been taken over by religious factions), already have codes of conduct which could provide models.

  22. In reply to #23 by JoxerTheMighty:

    What I do wonder is… what we imagine would happen if indeed religion fades away at some point. I mean, we already have examples of atheistic societies, mainly the so-called “communist” regimes, which either totally separated state from church, or at many times actively persecuted religion(say, the Maoist Cultural Revolution, which also, by the way, proves that it’s not really true that “it takes religion for good people to do evil things”).

    We also have, right now, N.Korea as an example(unless you are going to argue that they’re not ‘true’ atheists because they pretend to worship the head of the state). No, I’m not saying those regimes were ‘evil’ because they were atheistic, I’m saying though that they did away with religion, and still things weren’t much better. And if we know that a society doesn’t necessarily gets better by getting rid of religion, well then what’s the point of all the talk about ‘total eradication’ of religion? Just my current thoughts…

    We can imagine what would happen if religion fades away just by looking at the Scandinavian countries, where one can be religious privately, but since almost nobody is interested these days, religion is rapidly eradicating itself quite nicely, followed by several other enlightened countries in Europe – plus Canada, Australia, Iceland, etc.

    You also conflate Totalitarianism and Atheism. The Totalitarian regimes were against Theism because it was a competitor to dogmatic State Authority, or Leader Worship in North Korea. In Islamic theocracies there is inherently no separation of religion and state, so they are (very obviously) Totalitarian in effect.

    Atheism isn’t in any way a totalitarian, dictatorial or leader worship philosophy – quite the opposite, since Religions are precisely like that when they were/are fully in control, and there were/are glaring examples of those.

    When religions fade away – losing their unearned respect, power and influence over others – then atheism will become unnecessary. This won’t solve all our human problems, but will remove a lot of them from rational debate and much-needed social progress. Mac.

  23. In reply to #3 by Nodhimmi:

    Some religious belief is acceptable (Buddhism) whilst some is not (Islam)

    And who gets to decide what is and isn’t acceptable? You? Great, just what the world needs: another self-appointed arbiter of what human beings should and shouldn’t be allowed to think.

    I hate to break it to you, but people can believe whatever stupid shinola they want. Unless you’d rather live in some Orwellian dystopia where the government gets to mandate opinion and anyone deviating from such is guilty of committing a thoughtcrime.

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18: Right to freedom of thought and religion.
    “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

  24. In reply to #31 by HenMie:

    Very good few rational words, that’s all that is needed from people such as Penn. We need more ‘celebrities’ – popular, well liked, just like Penn, to speak publicly in this way more often. It would surely help to erode the religious ‘foundation’ on which the world seems to be turning.

    Celebrity Athesits

  25. In reply to #33 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #30 by ShadowMind:

    Atheism will (should) end religion, but once religion is gone (or becomes a weird thing practised by very few nutters), there can be no atheism either. If no-one cares about gods, what’s the point in specifically saying “I don’t believe in gods”?

    What is then needed is some cultural agreed codes of conduct based on social groupings and objectives, because there will still be different opinions and interest groups.

    They should be more political and liberal, if totalitarian political cults are not to replace dogmatic religious ones. Many scientific and professional bodies (which have not been taken over by religious factions), already have codes of conduct which could provide models.

    We have those “codes of conduct” already, they are called national legal codes

  26. In reply to #38 by N_Ellis:

    In reply to #33 by Alan4discussion:

    What is then needed is some cultural agreed codes of conduct based on social groupings and objectives, because there will still be different opinions and interest groups.

    They should be more political and liberal, if totalitarian political cults are not to replace dogmatic religious ones. Many scientific and professional bodies (which have not been taken over by religious factions), already have codes of conduct which could provide models.

    We have those “codes of conduct” already, they are called national legal codes

    Some are, as you say, “national legal codes”. Some are voluntary, or conditions of membership of professional bodies, – some are missing altogether in some countries – particularly in corrupt or failed regimes, where political or religious ideologies rule.

  27. I hope to Christ there is no need for atheism one day. Then we can begin to asses and face our predicament in this universe with some integrity. Some, primarily philosophers, have already begun to do this but as long as pronouncements by people who wear outlandish hats are given such heavy weight all of our efforts in this endeavor will be mired in a sea of indiscriminate assumptions.

    We have yet to see what we can do with a clean start. I don’t think it will be pretty but at least we will face our condition honestly.

  28. In reply to #35 by Katy Cordeth:

    In reply to #3 by Nodhimmi:
    … I hate to break it to you, but people can believe whatever stupid shinola they want. Unless you’d rather live in some Orwellian dystopia where the government gets to mandate opinion and anyone deviating from such is guilty of committing a thoughtcrime.

    It’s precisely this sort of mindless parroting and regurgitation of hackneyed meme’s that has the politically correct liberal democracies and quailing apologists of “moderate” religion painted into the corner that they have painted themselves into. How long have you been on RDFRS? Have you read any of the “New” Atheists? Perhaps not enough to have noticed that “believing whatever stupid shinola you want” is precisely no longer what we can afford to do in the 21st-century.

    We would be well advised to believe only what is supported by evidence and where there is inadequate evidence, fashion our hypotheses through reason. There is a community where deviating from this is indeed a thought crime. This community is neither Orwellian nor dystopian. Even less does it mandate opinions.
    It has developed and refined the most powerful, reliable and effective method of “keeping it real” in the history of mankind. It’s called science. You should try it sometime.

  29. In reply to #27 by godsbuster:

    In reply to #16 by Red Dog:

    As anthropologist Scott Atran says if religion is nothing more than irrational belief in made up beings then why are people willing to sacrifice their lives (and the lives of others) for Jesus but not for Mickey Mouse?

    Mr. Atran a bit of a pompous bloviating legend in his own mind is known for selectively denying (your quote from him above seems to show him accepting it for Christianity) the role that religious texts play in influencing people’s behaviour.

    In that regard he can be seen to receive a fine and rigorous putting in his place by Sam Harris here, here,
    here and here.

    To get a sense of the vapidity of Atran’s quote and your ill advised decision to trot it out as your presumed knock ‘em dead argument for religion being “clearly more than just a bunch of irrational dumb ideas” try this:

    If religion is nothing more than irrational belief in made up beings then why are people willing to sacrifice their lives (and the lives of others) for Mohammed but not for Mickey Mouse?

    Mickey Mouse has not 72 virgins on offer in the afterlife.

    Yeah that idiot Atran with his evidence, data, field work etc. And it’s all peer reviewed aswell, what a load of rubbish.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJl2-AdLt48

    Who cares about research? Give me Harris’ lazy polemics any day.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF6SNxNIV08

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJl2-AdLt48

  30. In reply to #7 by BroughtyBoy:

    Nice and concise, but surely the object is not to “get rid” of religion, but instead to neuter it, until it fades away into a benign backround hum.

    you cannot get rid of religion people tend to overlook the obvious and to deliberately missunderstand what they see they do not believe what they see but what they want tosee and believe and they listen to those who tell them what they want to hear

  31. In reply to #42 by James Martin:

    Yeah that idiot Atran with his evidence, data, field work etc. And it’s all peer reviewed aswell, what a load of rubbish.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJl2-AdLt48

    Thankfully Atran vouchsafes this fragrant petal of wisdom from on his high only 3 minutes into the first video obviating the need to go on suffering through the rest: “I think religion is basically a neutral vessel… and there is nothing intrinsic about religion for the good or for the bad.”

    With all Atran’s “evidence, data, field work etc.” perhaps he just didn’t get around to reading the “holy” Qur’an. And who can blame him. It is a dreary bit of a bloody slog:

    8:12: “Instill terror in the hearts of the unbelievers. Strike off their heads and cut off fingers and toes.”

    4:89: “Take not unbelievers as friends until they fly in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, seize them, kill them wherever you find them”

    9:5: “Fight and kill the disbelievers”

  32. In reply to #44 by godsbuster:

    In reply to #42 by James Martin:

    Yeah that idiot Atran with his evidence, data, field work etc. And it’s all peer reviewed aswell, what a load of rubbish.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJl2-AdLt48

    Thankfully Atran vouchsafes this fragrant petal of wisdom from on his high only 3 minutes into the first video obviating the need to go on suffering through the rest: “I think religion is basically a neutral vessel… and there is nothing intrinsic about religion for the good or for the bad.”

    With all Atran’s “evidence, data, field work etc.” perhaps he just didn’t get around to reading the “holy” Qur’an. And who can blame him. It is a dreary bit of a bloody slog:

    8:12: “Instill terror in the hearts of the unbelievers. Strike off their heads and cut off fingers and toes.”

    4:89: “Take not unbelievers as friends until they fly in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, seize them, kill them wherever you find them”

    9:5: “Fight and kill the disbelievers”

    Translation: I don’t like the evidence so I’m just going to ignore it and call people ‘pompous bloviating legends’. Critical thinking for the win!!!!!

  33. The trend is obvious: Religions are on their way to end up in the trash of history although this is happening very slowly in some countries. What is needed is more proper education, which can also increase IQ if it is provided at an early age. The fact is that the higher the education (and the higher IQ) is correlated negatively with religious belief.

    There are studies that have suggested this:


    Intelligence/IQ and Disbelieve In God
    Publication:
    Average Intelligence Predicts Atheism Rates Across 137 Nation
    Richard Lynn, John Harvey, Helmuth Nyborg
    Intelligence 2009(37): 11-15

    Correlation between national IQ and disbelief in God is 0.60 in a sample of 137 countries (R. Lynn et al, 2009).
    Data:
    IQs were taken from Lynn and Vanhanen’s (2006) IQ and Global Inequality with high reliability (correlation=0.92 between different measures), and highly valid (correlation=0.83 between the IQs and educational attainment). The reliability and validity of the national IQs have also been confirmed by Rindermann (2007). Lynn et all took figures for belief in God from Zuckerman (2007) who provided data for 137 countries representing just over 95% of the world’s population. Where more than one survey result was available, Lynn et al used the most recent one. The figures consist of the percentages of people who said they disbelieved in God.
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Religious belief declined during the course of the twentieth century as the intelligence of the population has increased, which is called Flynn effect (Gidden, 1997 page 460; Argyle & Beit-Hallahmi 19975; Goldman, 1965; Argyle 1958; Zuckerman 2007).
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Leuba (1921) reported in USA that 48% of historians and 24% psychologists (or 39% of eminent scientists) believed in God.
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Negative relationship (-0.27, -0.29, -0.36; using different measures) between intelligence and religious belief within nations was found by Howells (1928) and Sinclair (1928).
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Argyle (1958) concluded that “intelligent students are much less likely to accept orthodox beliefs, and rather less likely to have pro-religious attitudes”.
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Verhage (1964) demonstrated in a study using Netherlands of a nationally representative sample (n=1538) that agnostics scored 4 IQs higher than believers.
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Roe (1965) found that 4.8% of eminent scientists were religious believers.
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    In the United States, a decline in religious belief was reported (Heath 1969 & Hoge, 1974).
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Turner (1980) found that favorable attitudes to religion among 12-15 year olds fell steadily over a period of 4 years at a Protestant school in Northern Ireland (p<0.001).
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Kuhlen and Arnold (1994) found a decline in the religious belief during adolescence and into adulthood as cognitive ability increases. The same decline in religious belief was found in 5 to 16 year old persons by Francis (1989).
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    A strong negative relationship between religious belief and Psychometric g (the general factor in intelligence) was found (Psychometric R=0.992, n=6825, p<0.000). In this study, the data was taken from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, which is a national sample selected to represent approximately 15 million American adolescents in the age range of 12 to 17 years in 1997. In addition, the difference in general intelligence among atheists and believers was highly significant even without using weighted data [t(1, 6.893)=2.87, p=0.004) ]. The atheists scored 6 g-IQ equivalent points higher than the combined group of subjects professing to one or another of a large number of different religions.
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Bell (2002) found 43 studies, of which all but four found a negative correlation between intelligence and religious belief.
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    Kanazawa (2009/in press) analyzed the data of American National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (2001-2002, n=14,277) and found that not religious at all individuals had the highest IQ (103.09) followed in descending order by other three groups: slightly religious, moderately religious and very religious (IQs:99.34, 98.28 and 97.14 respectively), F(3, 14273)=78.0381, p<0.00001).
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    In 1990s, a study of members of the American National Academy of Sciences reported that 7% believed in the existence of God.
    < ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
    In the UK, it has been reported that 3.3% of Fellows of the Royal Society believed in the existence of God, while 78.8% did not believe and the remainder of them were undecided (Richard Dawkins, 2006).

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