Monday, March 8, 2010

Liberals and Atheists now bringing twice the Smarts

I'm feeling happy so Highly Evolved ~ Highly Evolved, The Vines
According to a long and detailed study by Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science, has concluded that if you are a Liberal or Atheist you are more intelligent than other humans.
Kanazawa's theory is that intelligence—particularly our ability for on-the-spot problem solving and reasoning—arose as an adaptation to deal with the unusual and unexpected, such as a sudden forest fire.

Since disasters like that are rare in daily life, responding to them wouldn't likely be something our ancestors were hard-wired to "know" how to do. Surviving the fire required both the ability to think up a new behavior, and the willingness to try it out.

Passed down via genetics, those two traits are still the calling cards of an intelligent brain—expressed as a tendency toward adopting nontraditional social values and preferences, Kanazawa says in his new study, published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

As a result of their iconoclastic ancestry, he suggests, people with higher levels of intelligence are more likely to adopt social values and behaviors that are relatively new to human life—liberalism, atheism, staying up late, and (for men) monogamy, for example.

This tendency toward iconoclasm stems from smart people's brains being better adapted to dealing with new situations, according to Kanazawa.
So, if you are compassionate to fellow humans or if you are able to understand natural forces, like earthquakes or thunder, are not the result of 'your' god's displeasure you have a higher level of intelligence.

Well, as nice it is to think I have excellent reasoning skills and am therefore smarter than others, the ability to adapt old knowledge to new situations is one component to Intelligence. I find I am more in agreement with Stephen Jay Gould and Howard Garndner that there is no "general intelligence factor" (g) and that there are multiple intelligences which are a mishmash of many different fields and kinds. As a reference how many times have your heard the old cliche, 'So and So is book smart but doesn't have street smarts'. This is an unacknowledged reference to the 'multiple intelligences' theory.

Additionally, traditional intelligence tests, Standford-Binet IQ, were often biased and stemmed from earlier times when those biases weren't recognized as prejudicial to reliable test results. However, I'd like to set aside some time and read Satoshi Kanazawa's paper, in order to confirm his conclusion, and thus stick out my chin and puff up my chest and lord my superior intelligence over the mouth breathing jackanapes.


Finntann said...

Unfortunately evolutionary psychology resides in the realm of philosophy and not hard science, hypothesis based upon immeasurable assumptions can be neither proven nor disproven. So I guess he could just have easily said liberals are twice as sexy and still not have to worry about any recourse to proof.

TomCat said...

That argument might apply to some Theists, who believe that God in intimately involved in our day to day lives through reward and punishment, but I think it fails with Deists, who believe that we are expected to use our God-given brains to find our own solutions.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Uh... What... huh? Oh! Don't worry Finntann I know empirical data is too be ignored when it doesn't fit your conservative agenda...