Rising IQs and the Decline of Faith

For a little more than 100 years we’ve had standardized IQ tests, and over those 100 years there has been a consistent, linear increase in IQ scores, on the order of 3 points per decade. According to IQ tests, we are getting smarter. Also over the last 100 years, rates of belief in God and religious participation have been decreasing. The decrease in religiosity has been less linear than the rise in IQ, but discounting periods of increased religiosity corresponding to major crises like WWI, the Great Depression and WWII, overall there has been a roughly corresponding decrease in religiosity. Correlation does not mean causation but the increase in IQ and the decrease in faith might be linked, if not as cause and effect then possibly as two simultaneous effects traceable to a common cause.

The Flynn Effect, named after Professor James R. Flynn, is the discovery that IQ around the world—as measured by standardized tests—has been rising at a rate of 3 points per decade for as long as the tests have been conducted.

When IQ tests are standardized using a sample of test-takers, the average is set at 100. When IQ tests are revised every few years, they are again standardized using a new sample of test-takers. Again the average result is set for 100. However when the new test subjects take the older tests, in almost every case their average scores are significantly above 100. This trend continues all the way back to the beginning of standardized IQ tests and has dramatic implications for relative intelligence in 1900 as compared to today. In a New Yorker article titled None of the Above, Malcolm Gladwell extrapolates the staggering implications:

If an American born in the nineteen-thirties has an IQ of 100, the Flynn Effect says that his children will have IQs of 108, and his grandchildren IQs of close to 120—more than a standard deviation higher. If we work in the opposite direction, the typical teenager of today, with an IQ of 100, would have had grandparents with average IQs of 82—seemingly below the threshold necessary to graduate from high school. And, if we go back even farther, the Flynn Effect puts the average IQs of the school children of 1900 at around 70, which is to suggest, bizarrely, that a century ago the United States was populated largely by people who today would be considered mentally retarded….

It is important to note that James Flynn and virtually everyone studying IQ categorically rejects this conclusion. IQ tests consist of 7 types of questions: Verbal Intelligence, Mathematical Intelligence, Spatial Reasoning Skills, Visual/Perceptual Skills, Classification Skills, Logical Reasoning Skills and Pattern Recognition Skills. As Flynn points out in an interview in Scientific American, some of these skill areas have increased dramatically, but not all aspects of intelligence have increased.

“[T]here have been massive gains on these tests that require using logic on abstractions, like block design, [and] picture arrangement. Block designs are, sort of, a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. And there have been very small gains on vocabulary, general information and arithmetical reasoning.” The big category gains in intelligence have been in abstract, categorical and hypothetical thinking, neatly summarized as ACH.

When asked why there have been these gains in IQ, Flynn says: “Well, I think it’s highly visual. I find my students—and I think every professor finds it—you ask them to name their favorite author today: No favorite author, or Wilbur Smith or Tolkien. Fifty years ago they would say Huxley, Steinbeck, Faulkner.”

We have become more visual and less literary, more abstract, categorical and hypothetical and less narrative, more logical-sequential and less relational. But the change which Flynn cites dates back much more than 50 years.

For intellectuals the change came with Enlightenment Evidentialism, the scientific method and the demystification of the universe, but for the rest of us who had lived within our bodies as well as in our heads, the change came with the Industrial Revolution.

My grandfather was not an engineer, steeped in the pure abstraction of mathematics, but he invented and patented the dipstick. Albert Einstein famously worked in a patent office and the explosion in patents after the Industrial Revolution was less about the legal registration of intellectual property than the popular explosion in abstract thinking and hypothesizing. The transformation of the architecture symbolizes this change as clearly as anything else. New buildings were not ornate and grandiose, rather they wore their guts on the outside, unornamented i-beams and gears proudly displaying the way they were made and how they worked.

Since the Industrial Revolution we see differently and we live within the world differently. As we have become more abstract and categorical we have become psychologically detached from our environment; we see it as if from the outside, rather than inhabit it. Through the rise of the mechanical imagination, then the electric imagination, then the electronic imagination and now the internet imagination, the stuff of the world no longer has essence, it is merely plastic to be manipulated in whatever way we see fit. We’ve moved away from oral and literary narrative imaginations in which there was nature, of which we were a part.

This has made us less receptive to God revealed in nature and in scripture. And this is a fact not just about “them,” as if each of us, reading now in 2015, is outside of this broad cultural transformation. For all of us up to this point, and more so for each successive generation, our manner of thinking has changed. The changes in our worldviews, and the big gains in IQ, have taken place in the abstract, categorical and hypothetical realms of thinking, and Flynn cites interesting case studies to illustrate this.

Alexander Luria … interviewed people in Russia in the 1920s who had not yet entered modernity. There were the headmen of villages; they were very intelligent. And he said to them, “Where there is always snow, bears are white. At the North Pole, there is always snow. What color are the bears there?” And they said, “I’ve never been there. The only bears I’ve seen are brown bears.” And he said, “What do my words convey?” and they said, “Such a thing is not to be settled by words, but by testimony. If a wise man came to us from the North Pole and testified that bears were white we might believe him.” He said, “There are no camels in Germany. Hamburg is a city in Germany; are there camels there?” and they said again, “I’ve never been to Hamburg.” And he said, “But what do you think?” and they said, “Well, maybe Hamburg is a village and too small to accommodate camels.” They were not willing to take the hypothesis seriously. They had a utilitarian framework, the same as Americans did in 1900. You ask an American kid in 1900 what do dogs and rabbits have in common, and they say, “You use dogs to hunt rabbits.” The right answer is they are both mammals. Today, that answer would be coming automatically. We have no idea of the gulf that separates our mind from people a hundred years ago in America. We’ve put on scientific spectacles and they had on utilitarian spectacles … they were splitters. If you’re making use of the environment for advantage, you distinguish things. This animal leaves this track. This dog is good for hunting and that one isn’t. We’re lumpers; we’re used to thinking that you classify the world as a prerequisite to understanding it, and we’re highly willing to use logic on the abstract.

The world is different for us; more abstract and theoretical, and it is becoming more so all the time as we live less amid things and more among pixelated representations of things. In the increasingly abstract anything is possible, the source of light is within and the horizon is boundless. We are becoming disembodied and therefore less receptive to a God who created the world and then entered into that world as flesh and blood. As C.S. Lewis wrote in The Discarded Image (1964), the medieval person who found himself “looking up at a world lighted, warmed, and resonant with music” becomes the modern person who perceives only emptiness and silence.

In his 2013 homily Wisdom, Christian Witness, and the Year of Faith Archbishop Charles Chaput writes: “We stopped believing in God and began believing in ourselves. Now we’re losing our faith in ourselves and putting our faith in our tools. We’re becoming the objects and victims of our own knowledge … to put it even more bluntly: We’re fooling ourselves if we think our love affair with science is intellectually chaste, a kind of high-minded romance with knowledge. Chaste it is not….”

The world of actual things and flesh and blood persons contained its own logic of being, where a child grew up seeing his dog which may or may not have been a good hunter, but regardless, in its particularity it was related to rabbits, which were not just representations of an abstract species, but actual fury beings and objects of primal wonder and excitement. We have lost this, and with it, our capacity for the one great relationship for which we were made.

In conclusion, it is clear that IQ scores have been going up and that this is a reflection of a more developed capacity for abstract reasoning. It is also clear that as IQ has increased, there has been a rough correspondence in decreased belief in God and participation in religion, but these coincident events are less cause and effect than two effects of a shared cause. The relationship between rising IQ and decreased religiosity is not causal in the way “Brights” and other arrogant atheists assume it is. They think our more developed capacity for abstraction has brought us forth out of the mythological, but what a cold, bloodless fantasy they occupy. It is more true to say that our increased capacity for the abstract has deadened our senses of smell and taste and touch and estranged us from the world we inhabit and are a part of, and this has deafened our ears to The Lord. Increasingly we live on virtual islands, imploding upon our own emptiness.

This critique is not anti-intellectual, but rather a call for a re-awakening to ourselves as whole, essentially enfleshed persons. Our physical natures are not a philosophical “accident,” they are an essential dimension of the person. Our bodies are not merely transport systems for our brains, they are the stuff of our selves. And our selves were not hatched as pixelated avatars but born of flesh and blood which is much more than a blind, evolutionary accident. We come from other persons and move toward other persons, and looking both backwards and forwards beyond particular persons is the particular God. It is all written in the stuff of life.

Joe Bissonnette

By

Joe Bissonnette teaches religion and philosophy at Assumption College School in Brantford, Ontario where he lives with his wife and their seven children. He has written for Catholic Insight, The Human Life Review, The Interim, The Catholic Register and The Toronto Star.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Bl John Henry Newman summed up the distinction between the two kinds of apprehension very well: “All things in the exterior world are unit and individual, and are nothing else; but the mind not only contemplates those unit realities, as they exist, but has the gift, by an act of creation, of bringing before it abstractions and generalizations, which have no existence, no counterpart, out of it.

    Now there are propositions, in which one or both of the terms are common nouns, as standing for what is abstract, general, and non-existing, such as “Man is an animal, some men are learned, an Apostle is a creation of Christianity, a line is length without breadth, to err is human, to forgive divine.” These I shall call notional propositions, and the apprehension with which we infer or assent to them, notional.

    And there are other propositions, which are composed of singular nouns, and of which the terms stand for things external to us, unit and individual, as “Philip was the father of Alexander,” “the earth goes round the sun,” “the Apostles first preached to the Jews;” and these I shall call real propositions, and their apprehension real.”

  • St JD George

    It’s hard to argue with the statistical evidence, but still, there are a lot of brilliant people I know who have very deep faith, and a lot “not so much” who can’t be bothered to turn off the Simpsons (for example). I think it has more to do with rising standard of living and the state forceably taking on more of the role that churches used to play in communities. People have lost a sense of connection to God because they don’t open their eyes to see how he is in their everyday lives. That, and I think that they see so much confusion within the churches where you can shop around and find any one that fits your world view, and violence being waged by one supposedly of peace, that they are totally are turned off. Doesn’t help that the government promotes anti Christian views in K-12 but especially hostile in the halls of most universities.
    Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine how that trend would ever be reversed short of something totally cataclysmic.

  • St JD George

    Off topic (upcoming synod), but a promising positive development. Sorry Elton John.
    http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/st-louis-university-building-monument-anti-cop-occupy-protest

    • Rock St. Elvis

      How is a monument to anti-cop protesters (at a Jesuit university, no less) a “promising positive development?”

      • St JD George

        Oops, my bad, didn’t catch the wrong post. Corrected now. Thanks for letting me know.

    • WOW. That’s a help.

    • Facile1

      Thank you for sharing.

      • St JD George

        It’s somethg that has been discussed a lot recently after last Fall’s spectacle, so good news is welcome and worth sharing on that front as we brace for later this year. I like that we’re sending four healthy starters instead of from injured reserved.

  • Kevin Aldrich

    This is why it is good to get out of our heads and live in concrete reality. Make something. Fix something. Serve actual persons.

  • Jonson

    Joe’s article has filled a sunny day with a little more light. Yes, IQ is a test of our capacity for reasoning, and not necessarily our lived experience which includes our apprehension of the sensory world. What Joe describes as our species’ ascent into abstraction away from the physical world reminds me of Charles Taylor’s ‘A Secular Age’ in which he talks about how people in pre-Enlightenment Europe held the presence of God to be undeniable because so many features in their world told of belief: the force of the natural world, storms, floods and plagues were seen as acts of God; the organisation of society and the natural world was grounded in something higher than human design and action; the physical world was enchanted with spirits and demons animated by moral forces. I work with autistic, special needs teenagers, and much of the teaching and learning is sensory. Building bridges of meaning and significance between my world and theirs may be compared to trying to strike harmonious chords on a cosmic harp. Sharing physical experience, drumming, call and response poetry, painting with colour, making art with natural materials, etc., is communicating in a non-verbal, physical language that enables a sense of belonging and membership as well as as a complex understanding of each others social needs and intentions.

  • Watch IQs begin to drop as we get further along in the digital age. Smartphones are already eroding our interpersonal communication skills, and look what’s happening to grammar.

    • St JD George

      So much information at our fingertips, so little knowledge. But they are great for taking selfies I see, particularly at important state functions with fellow dignitaries. I will confess that spell check has ruined my spelling skills, if I every had any.

    • MarkRutledge

      Good point. It is also important to note that the exponential acceleration of the information age thanks to the explosion of the internet increases our access to misinformation at the same rate. In fact, it may have increased the mix of misinformation as the vetting of material before publication has almost disappeared. This serves to potentially make ours the most malinformed society in history.

      • Micha Elyi

        “…exponential acceleration…”

        1 is also an exponent.

    • Facile1

      And we wonder why more are detached from GOD when they prefer tweeter to real people.

    • SnowCherryBlossoms

      I’m laughing because the cartoon is great- but seriously, isn’t that just awful? It is really exactly like this almost everywhere you go! I’m so glad I don’t have a phone, I would rather die than have people texting me!
      My laptop doesn’t recognize texting as a real word it wants me to correct it lol.

  • HartPonder

    Saint Paul is spot on: “but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are” 1 Corinthians 1:27, 28

    It’s takes so much more than being good at multiple choice questions to be called to our Lord and his work (Matthew 28:19,29). Its not about information, but transformation. A good start after conversion to become spiritually mature to serve the Church is found at 1 Timothy 3: 1-13, that we all should attain to.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    What is a glass of water in the universe ?
    ” Perhaps the price of eternity,” replies Gerbet, ” if you give it to a thirsty man.”
    Not an ‘IQ Test’ kind of question, but vital nonetheless.

    • Facile1

      I for one do not believe one can measure intelligence. So what are IQ tests actually measuring?

      Language (including IQ tests) is a human invention. And the TRUTH (ie GOD) is not.

      People who think only in the ‘abstract’ and are not anchored in the evidence (aka
      GOD’s revelation) cannot be considered intellectually honest in my book.

      GOD is the TRUTH and He reveals Himself to us only through the evidence (all of which He created, BTW).

      We can only access the evidence with our 5 senses and human reason.

      But our 5 senses and human reason are subject to human error and manipulation.

      Therefore, in my opinion, St. Ignatius’s consciousness examen is more useful than an IQ Test.

  • JP

    The conceit of many Progressives is that today we are more intelligent than in the past. The Truth is that today we make the mistake of conflating the fruits of our own industry with that of wisdom. In fact, today we live off of the dieing legacy of a narrow period in human history that allowed every free person to collaborate under the umbrella of liberty and justice to better our condition. The underlying political and philosophical conditions that made this possible were a product of philosophy, martyrs and luck. And that underlying philosophy and its political arrangments are under attack – they have been for over 100 years.

    The genius of Enlightenment philosophy is that it gave society immediate material benefits through industry and science. The masses liked Enlightenment philosophy not because of its metaphysics but because of its steam engines, cotton gins, medicines and incandescent light bulbs. However, Humans were not necessarily more intelligent than in the past. What we have today are not more Virgils, Newtons, or Aristotles, but more technicians.

    • GG

      Exactly. We are mere technocrats today. We confuse credentials with education. We know how to solve equations but cannot reason well.

      • guest 2

        “Humans were not necessarily more intelligent than in the past. What we have today are not more Virgils, Newtons, or Aristotles, but more
        technicians.”

        AND
        “We are mere technocrats today. We confuse credentials with
        education. We know how to solve equations but cannot reason well.”

        Thank you JP and GG. You have “hit the nail on the head”!

        The current generations certainly “confuse credentials with education.” They can play with technology BUT CANNOT REASON WELL”!

        In this world so readily mindlessly embracing “progressive” arrogant
        godlessness, there is now a dire shortage of clear THINKERS. It has become a world inhabited by icy, cold-hearted indifference and shameless selfishness; where genuine love has become a dirty world.

        • Facile1

          Which is exactly what one should expect when one detaches one’s self from the TRUTH (ie GOD.)

        • MaryB435

          How true. I think the IQ changes also have a parallel in the “vanity sizing” we see in women’s clothing. Whether you make your money marketing fashions to department stores–or standardized tests to school districts–the customers like to have bragging rights about their all-important number. We need to keep the customers happy!

      • Facile1

        You are correct. The skills of arithmetic are different from the skills of mathematics. Mathematics is a language.

    • The Englightenment isn’t special. It’s a repeat that has happened at least 10 times before.

      • St JD George

        Not special you say – how about “de-light-ful”. That’s the great thing about history for those who don’t have the capacity for understanding cause and effect. If you weren’t paying attention in class the first time you were exposed to it, it’ll come around again and eventually you will get to experience it in a more personal way that you won’t forget.

        • And we are. We’re well into Sir John Glubb’s Age of Decadence. I wonder who will have an Enlightenment next, after we’re gone?

          • St JD George

            My prayers are for the fulfillment of Revelation (half kidding), but on the subject of history repeating itself it would appear that it’s China’s turn to take the wheel again.

            • I sincerely hope so. They may be communist and atheist and have some real problems with individual freedom, but I’ll take re-education camps over being burnt alive in a cage any day.

              • St JD George

                I don’t hope so, but I’m not overly hopeful on the home front either. One thing I do find fascinating is the explosive growth of Christianity in China, and they do so at their own peril with the state antagonists who are under the spell of mammon too, though not quite with the same thuggery as Mao. Of course, when you starve 1B people under oppression it’s no surprise and the rate of growth among fertile minds who yearn for the truth that the state will never be able to fulfill.

                • I don’t hope for the end of America’s influence, but I can see the writing on the wall- and compare it to the 11 Great Empires that Sir John wrote about in the link I posted above. I’m about 99% certain that we hit the Age of Decadence about a decade before I was born, and that I work in an industry that, while achieving many technological marvels, is actively making the Decadence worse.

                  • St JD George

                    You need to “Bring Good Things to Life” then, ha. I do hope for the end of America’s influence peddling the deviancy of SSM, abortion, pornography, global warming panic and hysteria (note, not conservatism), etc.

              • Facile1

                Perhaps you should read critically the histories of individual countries instead of the ‘world histories’ written by American scholars.

                • This guy is a British Scholar, but more than that, he was a soldier, born in 1897, who served in the Middle East during the colonial times, and who did a very deep study. Perhaps you should read the link I gave.

                  • Facile1

                    What link?

                    • Posted elsewhere in this discussion, but I’ll repost it here. My original comments in this thread come from an essay I also read today, that was written in 1974, and predicted the end of the American empire in 65 years, based on the 250 year life cycle of human empires:
                      http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2014/092814_files/TheFateofEmpiresbySirJohnGlubb.pdf

                    • Facile1

                      I have a problem with Sir John Bagot Glubb’s essay. His postulates are based on a sample size of 11 data points.

                      I’m taking a pass.

                    • I’d say he’s got more like 11 million data points, but that would be giving in to my ‘Gonie/American tendency towards individualism.

            • Facile1

              China gave us nothing the first time around. It was the Catholic Church that provided the foundation on which science and the arts were built. China will have to get rid of its atheism before it can seriously engage history.

              • St JD George

                I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that conversion.

          • Facile1

            Enlightenment is a misnomer. More light came into the world during the Dark Ages than did during the Enlightenment.

            • Randall Ward

              Exactly, you must be smart, you agree with me.

      • Randall Ward

        Right; in fact the “enlightenment” was nothing more than the disbelief of Gods miracles and supernatural works, and from that we got the protestant revolt; they did not believe, fully, any more in the funky old miracle stuff. No matter, God keeps on with His miracles, every day.

    • Facile1

      We have more people who have blind faith in technology than blind faith in religion.

      That is not an improvement.

      • Randall Ward

        Amen

  • The problem with this article is that there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2730791/Are-STUPID-Britons-people-IQ-decline.html
    http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/BRBAKER/
    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/130524/western-iqs-drop-14-points-last-century-study-says-2
    https://books.google.com/books?id=FPH_WA2YIqUC&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=falling+worldwide+iQ&source=bl&ots=S4eikEPE2B&sig=O629GIGRql4qPhTqTHTgfPolQR8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=QjPSVLO-Ooq-ggSSmoLQCA&ved=0CC8Q6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=falling%20worldwide%20iQ&f=false

    When your bright young kids head off to college, then to graduate school, then decide around 35 they have are finally situated to well enough to have a family (And at or above 35, a woman having her first child is automatically diagnosed with “elderly primigravida”)

    Meanwhile, some other folks are having kids in their teens and are grandparents by their late 30’s.

    The hand that rocks the cradle…..the people that sold contraceptives never considered the potential for differential compositional effects.

    • Facile1

      The hand that rocks the cradle cannot be more powerful than the hand that created the child in His image.

      • Who said it was?

        • Facile1

          I had to mention it because I do not like fear-mongering.

          • Try reading your responses before you hit post.

  • Harry

    And our selves were not hatched as pixelated avatars but born of flesh and blood which is much more than a blind, evolutionary accident.

    The fact that so many now actually believe humanity is “a blind, evolutionary accident,” and do so in spite of the discoveries of modern science, does not support the notion that IQs are rising. It may indicate that modern man is far more susceptible to indoctrination than prior generations, but not that we are smarter.

    I say that because we now know that it was virtually impossible for the Universe to have mindlessly and accidentally configured itself such that the emergence of life would be a possibility.

    Roger Penrose, a famous British mathematician and friend of Stephen Hawking (they co-authored the book, The Nature of Space and Time), in his book, The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, calculated the odds of the “Big Bang” producing by chance a universe so low in entropy (disorder) that the emergence of life was even a possibility to be 1 in 10^10^123. How big is that number? To write it out without using exponential notation would require writing so many zeros after the “1” that even if you wrote a zero for each proton, neutron and electron in the observable universe, and a zero for all the other elementary particles in it as well, you would still fall far short of writing down the figure needed.

    We also now know that life consists of ultra-sophisticated, digital information-based nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond anything modern science knows how to build from scratch. That technology is self-replicating. Even though the Universe was designed such that life would be a possibility, the actual emergence of life was still far, far more unlikely to have happened mindlessly and accidentally than it would be for matter to not only accidentally assemble itself into a computer, but also into one that could manufacture more computers.

    If there is a “relationship between rising IQ and decreased religiosity” then there is a relationship between rising IQ and decreased ability to grasp reality.

    • Facile1

      Dear Harry,

      I’ve come to the same conclusion. The following is what I wrote just in case you missed it:

      I for one do not believe one can measure intelligence. So what are IQ tests actually measuring?

      Language (including IQ tests) is a human invention. And the TRUTH (ie GOD) is not.

      People who think only in the ‘abstract’ and are not anchored in the evidence (aka
      GOD’s revelation) cannot be considered intellectually honest in my book.

      GOD is the TRUTH and He reveals Himself to us only through the evidence (all of which He created, BTW).

      We can only access the evidence with our 5 senses and human reason.

      But our 5 senses and human reason are subject to human error and manipulation.

      Therefore, in my opinion, St. Ignatius’s consciousness examen is more useful than an IQ Test.

      • Harry

        You get right to the bottom line, Facile1. Abstract thought that is “not anchored in the evidence” can easily become far fetched silliness. If intelligence is a measure of the ability to comprehend reality, and the primary reality is a Supreme Being Who we can know is there from overwhelming evidence provided to us through the things He has made, then the intelligent will want to know if that Supreme Being has revealed anything to us about the meaning of our existence.

        Some good people are, in their innocence, susceptible to indoctrination. Others lack objectivity and will simply choose indoctrination that pleases them over truth that doesn’t. Contemporary culture and education are permeated with atheistic indoctrination. One can’t help but wonder if the supposed “relationship between rising IQ and decreased religiosity” isn’t really a relationship between rising gullibility and decreased religiosity, or isn’t really a relationship between a decrease in the capacity for objectivity and decreased religiosity. It is probably a combination of both.

        • Facile1

          Another keeper. Cut&pastte. Snip snip. Thanks, Harry. I’m keeping a private file on you.

  • LarryCicero

    My son was being taught about the big bang theory in 6th grade. He had the question,”How did something come from nothing?” His teacher did not want to entertain questions of that type. I encouraged him to ask the next day,”Where did the spark come from?” He declined because he did not want to anger the teacher. It illustrates a lack of curiosity on the part of the science teacher, and maybe on society, when such questions are discouraged and disregarded. We need to encourage the basic questions: What, When, Where, How, Why and Who?

    • St JD George

      Exactly, and beautifully explained through the eyes of a child. When I think on this subject I often relate it the innocence of children that is lost by many in their metamorphosis transition to a state of soullessness. The inquisitive child keeps asking why of the adult knowing intuitively that their question isn’t being answered. Finally the adult gives up and walks away in frustration angry at the child but never stopping to consider the finite limits of his own mortality and that child is a gift from God staring them in the face forcing them to uncomfortably confront their own ignorance.

      • AnnieOfArc

        I see so many adults shrug it off, or tell their kids “Your body is built like a machine! Your brain is a machine! Isn’t it cool?” The kids slouch and ignore the hyper-shrill voices implying they’re ‘nothing-but’ a machine. The parents need to be interested and engaged in life if they’re going to pass on wisdom to their children. They need to take away ipads, laptops, smartphones and tvs, and give their children books, connect them with creation, and teach them how to build things. But as long as they follow the hamster wheel of “Success” they’ll be too tired and brainwashed to ever realize how little they really know, and how amazing everything we take for granted actually is.

        • Facile1

          I would not go that far. But if I had to teach one thing and one thing only to a child I would teach St. Ignatius’s consciousness examen.

          I for one do not believe one can measure intelligence. So what are IQ tests actually measuring?

          Language (including IQ tests) is a human invention. And the TRUTH (ie GOD) is not.

          People who think only in the ‘abstract’ and are not anchored in the evidence (aka GOD’s revelation) cannot be considered intellectually honest in my book.

          GOD is the TRUTH and He reveals Himself to us only through the evidence (all of which He created, BTW).

          We can only access the evidence with our 5 senses and human reason.

          But our 5 senses and human reason are subject to human error and manipulation.

          Therefore, in my opinion, St. Ignatius’s consciousness examen is more useful than an IQ Test.

        • I can hear Anthony Esolen ‘amen-ing’ you now.

        • You got it!… The new God is success, productivity, etc. It is shocking to the average US Catholic, but Jesus never decried laziness, but of course He spoke often against the worldly ambitions that removes us from His Father. And our family, neighbors, community….. P.S. This whole site is rampant with the money worshippers!

    • An ignorant society is one that asks no questions. At sixth grade, your son had already osmosed that some question can’t be asked.

      It would have been interesting if he asked who formulated the theory of “the big bang” and what his “day job” was.

    • Facile1

      I for one do not believe one can measure intelligence. So what are IQ tests actually measuring?

      Language (including IQ tests) is a human invention. And the TRUTH (ie GOD) is not.

      People who think only in the ‘abstract’ and are not anchored in the evidence (aka
      GOD’s revelation) cannot be considered intellectually honest in my book.

      GOD is the TRUTH and He reveals Himself to us only through the evidence (all of which He created, BTW).

      We can only access the evidence with our 5 senses and human reason.

      But our 5 senses and human reason are subject to human error and manipulation.

      Therefore, in my opinion, St. Ignatius’s consciousness examen is more useful than an IQ Test.

      Your son’s teacher needs to learn how to apply St. Ignatius’s consciousness examen. And I hope your son learned from your example what consciousness examen is all about.

      • LarryCicero

        I would tend to think the teacher was afraid to answer the question because it goes beyond science and would get blow-back from other parents and administrators. Society wants separation,and wants religion out of public school- just physics, no meta-physics.

        • Facile1

          I agree.

          And in the effort to separate Church from State, our schools are no longer teaching a love for the TRUTH.

          The TRUTH begins with GOD and cannot exist without GOD.

          Anyone who loves the TRUTH cannot escape GOD.

          But love for the TRUTH requires 3 disciplines:

          1. Evaluate the evidence (with human senses and human reason to the best of our capacity. St. Thomas Aquinas.)

          2. Examine one’s conscience (because human senses and human reason are subject to human error and manipulation. St. Ignatius de Loyola.)

          3. Err on the side of mercy (when acting on one’s beliefs in the absence of mathematical certainty because God, who alone knows the future, is merciful. Jesus Christ.)

          I call it the three E’s. One has to keep it simple for the teachers.

          Take care.

  • The correlation is paper thin. I find the rising tide of chic atheism rooted in nothing intellectually rigorous. The internet has aided the promulgation of journalistic level apologetics rivaling Jack Chick apologetics. It’s a good thing because the safe apologetics bubble Christians live has been popped.

    The new atheism can be boiled down to two basic points:
    (1) But look how much evil there is in the world; I’d never worship a god in charge of this.
    (2) But look at the unassailable/irrefutable data of our origins and evolution; that disproves revelation.

    The first one is fraught with philosophical problems and easily toppled assumptions; the second one is rooted in an egg-shell scientism that is easily cracked before the content comes spilling out.

    No, greater IQ’s have done nothing to make smarter atheists, just more tech-savvy.

  • This seems to jive with an essay from 1974 I just found:
    http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2014/092814_files/TheFateofEmpiresbySirJohnGlubb.pdf

    We are in the final 25 years of the greatness of our civilization. We are wonderful at the abstract, but we’re rotten at the physical. When the demographic collapse and the labor crunch comes after 2026, it is the man who understands the past, the world before 1776, who will survive.

    • LarryCicero

      Ahh…another prediction from Theodore See-er.

      • Our version of Harold Camping.

      • More a prediction from Sir John Glubb, back when I was 4 years old. 40 years ago, when America had a grand 65 years left to survive.

        No Empire before ours has lasted more than 250 years, and we’re right on schedule with Sir John’s “The Age of Decadence”. What makes YOU think that Americans are any better than any of the other 11 empires listed in this report?

        • LarryCicero

          I don’t pretend to know what will be in 65 or 25 years, let alone tomorrow.

          • My point is, read the article I linked to, see what happened to EVERY empire that went before us going back 3000 years. Compare what you know of American History up until now to the identified Age cycle in that article. Where do you think we are in that cycle?

            • Facile1

              We have enough problems understanding today without having to speculate about tomorrow.

        • SnowCherryBlossoms

          I don’t understand what you mean? The Roman Empire lasted 500 years, the Mayan civilization lasted about 3000 years..and there are others that lasted much longer than 250 years.

          • Read the link.

            • SnowCherryBlossoms

              Sorry, missed seeing the link entirely. I read about half of it so far and it’s very interesting. I couldn’t help wondering if God intended it to be this way and it’s amazing how it’s always the same pattern from the beginning to the end. We are close to the fall here, clearly!

              • Also, I looked up the Maya. They emerged from the Olmedo about 600 AD, and by 900 AD had abandoned their great cities and returned to tribal living, so 300 years, not 3000. They follow the pattern too.

                • SnowCherryBlossoms

                  Really? I just looked it up and it says 3000..maybe it’s a typo lol

                  • Perhaps your source is getting the Mayan people and the Mayan Empire confused. The Mayan people have been around for 3000 years (and in fact, still are- there are Mayan tribes in Mexico today). They were ruled by the Olmechi for a huge part of that period, up until about 200 AD, when the Olmechi Empire collapsed. From 200-600, the city building skills they inherited from the Olmechi enabled them to build what turned into a great empire by 600 AD, covering a vast territory as far south as El Salvador and as far north as Texas. The collapse between 800-900 AD was relatively sudden, cities were abandoned. It was over 300 years later that the Aztec empire arose, only to be conquered by the Spanish Empire between 1492-1550.

    • Oi Seeber… Do you bemoan the unraveling or welcome it? Personally I think it is hard to cry about we are the next Roman Empire being dissolved, as self aggrandizing as that is, when it is obvious that our Lord ushered in a great age of peace and simplicity which later became disparaged as a dark age. Of course we sit are in a dark age now, and that was the age of enlightenment, it was the Light that we can uncover again, by shattering the false idol held high by Satan, man-as-new God.

      • I’m very much split about it. On the one hand, I welcome the end of the sexual revolution, the worst mistake humanity has ever made, and it appears that only the end of the American Empire will end this colonial immorality.

        On the other hand, this means I’ve got less than 25 years left to secure for my family the ability to live at a subsistence level.

        On the plus side, my son, who scores rather low on IQ tests, may just come out alright- his people skills will be worth more that technical skills after the collapse.

        • Well, I am joyous to think of it… Our young people seem to recognize and eschew all of our fashionable slaveries… For the time I spend on these blogs trying to talk common sense into the system worshippers, I am resolved to spend as much time introducing environmentalists to our Lord.

          • Good luck with that one! The environmentalists in my area are actively working for the extinction of humanity, encouraging sterilization, abortion, and euthanasia as much as possible, on the theory that humans are bad for the environment.

            • Yes those are the common, vocal ones. Philosophically they are on thin ice, the primitivism really calls for re-centering on family and community, and inevitably faith. So many are already aligned, and others quite amenable… Never easy, but as you can see. easier than talking the likes of DE-173 off of the precipice.

        • As to subject of article, it is hard to believe that people still measure IQ after all the discrediting of same… WTF are these people trying to say, why is anyone even acknowledging IQ as a measure of intelligence, why doesn’t someone ask what intelligence is? (I saw a flock of birds today, circling joyously in the sky. They were using a lot of energy for no apparent end, confident in the earth to yield their sustenance, unworried about controlling a hoard, trusting in God more than us, that is intelligence!)

          • True enough, as far as it goes. But there are things we can do to help make trusting God easier. One thing I’m doing- I’ve got a quarter pound of Camas Lily seeds currently in the freezer, next month on a nice spring day before a rainstorm, I’m going to take them out and scatter them where I currently have bare ground on my quarter acre in the city.

            If all of the grocery stores shut down- that field of camas lilies will provide sustenance and perhaps income to my descendants.

            • Gee, must look into that. Butternut squash are hardy but they take over a lot of ground space… must plant annually but the fruit lasts.

              The first thing to close will be the big boxes. Target will be remembered as the epitome of the crap. Supermarkets will be recast… a lot of filling up, reduction of packages, but I do not think that will be a problem, when we can kill Target, Best Buy, Men’s Wearhouse, you name it…. 🙂 .

              • In your neck of the woods, Chia is the superfood that can grow wild if you let it. The Chumash natives had an entire paleoculture based on Chia and other Sage Family plants. I’m further north, and in my area, the Atflati people used to depend on Camas, Wapato, tarweed, and wild sunflower, as well as a variety of berries. The Atflati, like most of their Calapuya relatives, practiced pyroculture- burning off the plants they couldn’t use, planting the ones they could.

                • Thanks… that’s what this land was for. How typical really… instead of learning from these people at outset and be guided to the the land by them, we destroyed them. So much for Matthew 5- 7…. But those environmentalists, they innately understand it already!

                • Oi Seeber– I am busting out of the trash journalism on here and the Federalist, in favor of Catholic World Report. And of course, First Things. Hope to see you there.

  • Notice how we have received the Theology of the Body just in the fullness of time to face the challenges Joe Bissonette here explores?

    • Facile1

      Thank you for bringing this up.

  • mn_catholic

    My grandfather never went to college and would probably not do well on an IQ test, but when it comes to practical, useful knowledge he’s the smartest man I ever met. He probably couldn’t pass a written geometry test but he can use his knowledge of angles to craft beautiful furniture in his wood shop. He never studied biology but he kept decades of detailed stock books on the breeding of his dairy cattle and carefully ensured that his cows were bred for increased milk production. He never learned about advanced electronics but he could wire an entire farm house for electricity. Prior to his 85th birthday a few years ago I can’t recall him ever calling a handyman to do a single task that needed to be done around his house or farm. Nowadays we can think in far more abstract ways, but we’ve lost the concrete, practical knowledge that was second nature to our supposedly backwards ancestors.

    • St JD George

      And when the going gets rough, farmers like your grandfather will still be plying their trade. It makes me sad because the age of the family farm is slowly dying off, though far from dead. We could definitely use more people like your grandfather in the world today. I just met the farmer down the road from me who owns a little over 200 acres and is in his early 80’s. He’s very devout and the kind also who would give the shirt off his back if you were in need. Intellectualism isn’t really even in their vocabulary, just hard working, knowledgeable, caring, God fearing, family loving, and knows how to get done what needs getting done. And smart enough to know not to try and fix what ain’t broken.

      • You need to see the eight and ten year olds caring, grooming and displaying their farm animals every year at the PA Farm Show. It’s amazing to watch those kids.

        • St JD George

          I’ve watched them in OH, and once in CA UT. I was amazed at how much I could stand to learn from them. I have no doubt that they are cut from the same cloth in PA.

    • There is a difference between teche (know how) and episteme (know). We degrade and diminish techne at our own peril, especially when a pipe bursts at 3AM or when there’s some electrical problem.

      • Useless techie/bibliophile here. I think men who can fix things are gods. I chalk it up to not having my dad around when I was a kid. But I try to get my boys involved with not only academics, but rough and tumble, grimy things to do to keep them grounded. Totally appreciate this thread.

        • LarryCicero

          When I was in high school we had shop classes, but it didn’t mean you couldn’t be college bound. Many of my friends were gearheads. Some went into the trades, others on to college. Some of those are now banker, judge, and accountant. I believe learning applied knowledge in high school auto-mechanics was as important as learning a foreign language, which seems to be the trend today. Fix it has become a foreign language that requires an interpreter.

        • Yep. I remember the ‘ol man changing brakes, including bleeding the lines. I miss those days.. well that and the throaty growl of 400 cubic inches

        • mn_catholic

          I’ve recently realized how much our household budget is being destroyed by my lack of practical knowledge (despite growing up less than a mile from gramps a lot of his practical knowledge never really rubbed off on me). For example. in the last two years we’ve had to pay over $500 for an exterminator to come out four times to destroy hornet nests. Next summer I’m buying a bee suit and doing it myself. 🙂

          • That was a brilliant post! I do have a phobia of bees, so you are a man among men for braving that quest.

          • RufusChoate

            I think Bees and Hornet are not that much of problem if you can work around them. I had a white face hornet nest near my garage that I allowed to stay because I wanted my kids to watch their development and the expansion of the hive and it grew massive but the kids were acclimated to them and they to the kids and there was never an issue.

            Some entomologists view them as beneficial in eradicating other more harmful pest. It was a good experience for everyone but once the season was over and the hornets dead and the queens moved on. Down it came and i have destroyed or relocated any effort to re-establish it easily but eternal vigilance is the price of Wasp/Bee/Hornet Free Homes and caulk with a hint of bug barrier spray.

            Now Skunks are uncanny in popping up in front of you at night when you walking around the back yard. We are rural. I have fired 9mm, 7.62 and Twelve Gauge bird shot over their head trying to dissuade them to no avail. Impudent vermin. We had about 7 or 8 at a time so we made them a science experiment too and were amazed to see the unbelievable large white grubs they were pulling out of the lawn like vacuum cleaners. The grub were monstrously huge (to me) being about 2 or 21/2 inches long.

            I do most of fixit and repair around the house and the internet allows me to discover even more. Cheers.

            • Randall Ward

              I have seen carpenters work around bees, wasps, etc and not get stung; they told me it because they didn’t get excited and just ignored them. Of course that doesn’t work if you squat down and one is on the back of your leg!

      • Facile1

        Whatever the differences are between teche and episteme, both need to be anchored in the evidence (aka GOD’s revelation).

        Evidence cannot deny the TRUTH (ie GOD) because GOD created all the evidence.

        • Jesus was a carpenter, he had a trade rooted in techne.

          • Facile1

            So what? Jesus was not crucified because He was a carpenter.

            • The point was He was familiar with the practical, day to day necessities of life. I have no idea how you got that from what I wrote.

    • Guest 2

      As I read about your remarkable grandfather, I too realise how much depth, vibrancy and joy the world has lost – only to yield to the cold-blooded ruthlessness of a world where so many secular parents (having been persuaded by the Holywood concept of “love”) have consequently failed to grasp the true meaning of love and devotion and have failed to learn the real concept of love to teach their own children; to a world which thinks that all happiness is embodied in a “fistful of dollars” and that freedom consists of unbridled licence and self-gratifcation.

      I see a tragedy unfolding as the world that has become besotted with uncritical self-importance as it becomes more and more “disembodied and therefore less receptive to a God” – and therefore devoid of love – as it hurtles towards the cliff-edge like mindless lemmings … and to inevitable self-destruction.

    • Albert8184

      Sounds to me like your granddad was pretty capable of abstract thinking. Maybe it just depends on how you define abstract. And IQ. I bet your granddad was abstract enough to understand the concept of saving money for the future. And abstract enough to understand the dangers of over-borrowing.

      I just don’t see today’s people as great abstract thinkers. Most can’t even comprehend the need to save money for the future. I encounter people at work everyday who can’t even write correctly, and have no concept of work ethic.

    • Randall Ward

      I may interest you to know that an electrical engineer would take about three times as long as the average electrican. Theory and doing are much different animals and doing takes more intelligence than the ones that work on theory, in my observation. Many try to become an electrician, but very few make it, because the actual business of being an electrican is much more complicated than teaching electrical theory.

    • A Friendly Catholic

      My grandfather never went to college either, but I trust his advice and knowledge more than anyone else’s. It makes me think how my generation’s (The newest one) will view us as grandparents. :/

    • James

      I have heard stories from vocational schools about kids who are failing basic geometry in the classroom are able to do more advanced trigonometry in shop class. The context makes all the difference.

  • Nel

    I think it’s necessary to get ‘behind’ IQ tests and IQ scores and ask the fundamental question if such tests even ‘test’ or ‘reveal’ actual intelligence. I could make a test based on sewing skills and by virtue of that, every quilter in the US would be an ‘intellectual’ and a whole lot of Mensa members might be mentally retarded.

    Intelligence is, in fact, multi-faceted (see the work of Howard Gardner and others), and human intelligence is plastic. The human brain actually ‘grows’ (not the best word – develops) the more it is tasked in different areas. So if you have a child – or an adult – who takes an interest in music, that person’s musical ‘intelligence’ is going to develop: the brain cells actually increase in activity and the mind gets quicker at learning music. A person who makes a conscious effort to learn about grammar and to read challenging written works will develop his or her ‘verbal intelligence.’ People who have mastered one foreign language often find it easier to master another and another. A person who works on drawing or reading maps will find it easier and easier as time goes on: the person’s spacial intelligence develops. The same thing will happen with someone who is being trained more and more to ask serious theological questions and to seek the truth through openness to revelation and through careful reasoning (Aquinas wasn’t a theological genius in a day). With the brain, it’s not just ‘use it or lose it’ it’s also ‘use it and improve it.’

    An IQ test is at best a snapshot of a person’s mental acuity IN LIMITED, PRESCRIBED realms, at a particular moment. Change the questions and you change people’s IQ. Educate people in some area and you change people’s IQ. Train people how to take IQ tests and you’ll raise their scores, too. Don’t forget that while scores have been going up, a whole test-taking industry has developed thanks to these standardized tests, helping people to get better scores through simple techniques. (I dramatically improved my standardized test scores after finishing my Master’s degree just by learning the ‘now-plus-minus’ technique and a few simple math tricks for guessing answers instead of wasting time working problems. Suddenly my ‘math IQ’ jumped about 30% higher and much closer to my scores in every other area on those tests.)

    Why do we test for the things we test for? Who is using those test results to slot people into different categories or jobs, or to exclude people from certain opportunities? Who benefits if IQ tests focus on what they focus on now – or in this particular culture? Are the questions asked in particular cultures or periods of time (pre-Industrial, Industrial, information age) in order to sort people into categories that are useful for that culture or useful in the current job market? What would happen if we gave a group of American university professors an IQ test that accurately measures the cognitive ability of a hunter-gatherer in Africa, based on standards of what the hunter-gatherers consider to be high intelligence? Who would be the ‘intelligent’ one?

    There are just too many variables involved in the whole matter of IQ testing for me to take it very seriously. I know people who got high IQ scores in school (presumably a sign that they should be in ‘advanced’ classes and would be very successful in school) who have never lived up to their alleged potential who as adults can’t reason their way out of a wet paper bag. I just don’t believe that IQ tests rate or predict intellectual ability any more than any school-type test predicts ability. As a university instructor for 23 years, I’ve noticed that my brightest students often are not the ones getting the highest test scores, and yet they can think better and get more involved with the material than the swots who know how to ace tests.

    IQ tests are overrated. I judge a person’s ‘IQ’ by how well the person lives his or her life: how well the person uses talents; how well the person relates to other people; how well the person copes with challenges; how well the person develops as a human being; whether the person learns from experience and grows wise (and I think there are ancient cultures that had similar and more reliable standards for ‘intelligence’). There have been illiterates who have been deeply wise and successful in life (even saints) who would have done poorly on IQ tests. And too many people who do well on tests fail at life.

    • Facile1

      I for one do not believe one can measure intelligence. So, I ask like you, what are IQ tests actually measuring?

      Language (including IQ tests) is a human invention. And the TRUTH (ie GOD) is not.

      People who think only in the ‘abstract’ and are not anchored in the evidence (aka GOD’s revelation) cannot be considered intellectually honest in my book.

      GOD is the TRUTH and He reveals Himself to us only through the evidence (all of which He created, BTW).

      We can only access the evidence with our 5 senses and human reason.

      But our 5 senses and human reason are subject to human error and manipulation.

      Therefore, in my opinion, St. Ignatius’s consciousness examen is more useful than an IQ Test.

  • On one hand, we have the Chestertonian insight that, in the absence of true belief, this vacuum is filled by any belief. Modern man is not devoid of any belief. Even the greatest scientists fell under the spell of primitive beliefs. For instance, Newton was also an alchemist, Darwin dabbled in seances, Bohr was into Taoism, etc. As a matter of fact, if he cannot find any, he’ll make them up; he’ll create myths, modern ones, yet still myths. For instance, Heisenberg believed in Eugenics, Dawkins believes in Scientism, etc.

    On the other hand, we have the old Tower of Babylon, when man worshiped man and thought of himself greater than God for the first time. Will man, through an increasing IQ reach omniscience? Some scientists actually believe so. And, of course, when man knows everything, he “will cetainly not die,” (Gen 3:4) says the zeitgeist.

    • Facile1

      Whatever the advances of human knowledge, a creature cannot prevail over his Creator.

      Language (including IQ tests) is a human invention. And the TRUTH (ie GOD) is not.

      People who think only in the ‘abstract’ and are not anchored in the evidence (aka GOD’s revelation) cannot be considered intellectually honest in my book.

      GOD is the TRUTH and He reveals Himself to us only through the evidence (all of which He created, BTW).

      We can only access the evidence with our 5 senses and human reason.

      But our 5 senses and human reason are subject to human error and manipulation.

      Therefore, in my opinion, St. Ignatius’s consciousness examen is more useful than an IQ Test.

      And the more we learn to examine our conscience, the more we can protect ourselves from our own hubris.

  • RufusChoate

    I think toxic narcissism and diabolic pride have more to do with the lack of faith than any alteration of Intelligences or culture. I have meet many poorly educated people who majored in English Literature that have a nearly idolatrous regard for their own group validated opinions and the idealized view of Science as God than truly intelligent who pretend to omniscience (they are usually the leaders). It is a cultish affectation.

  • Facile1

    I for one do not believe one can measure intelligence. So what are IQ tests actually measuring?

    Language is a human invention. And the TRUTH (ie GOD) is not.

    People who think only in the ‘abstract’ and are not anchored in the evidence (or revelation) cannot be considered intellectually honest in my book.

    GOD is the TRUTH and He reveals Himself to us only through the evidence (all of which He created, BTW).

    We can only access the evidence with our 5 senses and human reason.

    But our 5 senses and human reason are subject to human error and manipulation.

    So St. Ignatius’s consciousness examen has more utility than an IQ Test.

  • ferdinandgajewski

    You can’t expect people with a modicum of intelligence to suffer post-VCII liturgical developments gladly.

  • SnowCherryBlossoms

    Some of the best people in the world, those who have done so much good probably would have scored low on an IQ test.The misuse of intellect coupled with pride and greed has hurt our world deeply. When the Blessed Virgin makes appearances she always chooses (or I should say God chooses) the humble, simple, meek, hard working, down to earth peasant people to give us God’s messages and call us back to Him. Proper use of the intellect with faith and love has given us some great Saints and Doctors of the Church.

  • Stephanie

    I think the problem is that religion is mocked and ridiculed, and blatantly false information about religion and history is portrayed as fact in our public schools, where most people are educated. But most people don’t look for primary sources about what religions actually teach or historical events (reformation, inquisition, Catholic Church’s involvement in science and education, how even the ancient Greeks in pre-Christian times knew the earth was round and even got a close estimate of its size, so the whole “they all believed the earth was flat” is nonsense). Kids just believe whatever they’re told in school, especially if the teacher has more degrees than their parents, and the misinformation continues to spread. Kids at public schools (and even some of the “Catholic” schools) are bullied and name-called into accepting the secular worldview so that most of them lose their faith during their high school and college years. “Backwards.” “Bigot.” “Childish sky fairy belief.” The science and engineering programs are the worst as far as professors mocking students of faith. They have also been known to not recommend students for graduate programs if they know the student has a religious (especially Christian) worldview. It’s no wonder that the most highly educated can do well on IQ tests but lack belief in god.

    Also, I’d like to point out that it is really easy to raise one’s IQ. It’s testing one’s ability to think in a certain way. I was able to raise my IQ score by more than 20 points just by playing Mindtrap! If schools can focus on teaching that sort of thinking then they can increase the average IQ, and religion (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with it.

    I think lack of religion is due to bullying by teachers, misinformation presented as fact, and the worship of self. Most teenagers are naturally very self-centered and it’s up to parents, teachers and mentors to pull them out of it. But when the adults who are supposed to be helping them encourage their behavior, they never grow out of it. The highest “god” is the self, and I need to do whatever I can to climb to the top: survival of the fittest. They also give awards to kids who don’t try, to raise their “self-esteem,” so they grow up feeling entitled. No wonder so many people don’t practice religion anymore.

    • Alfred Johnson

      Further to your point, does anybody really care about IQ anymore? It really is just a way of trying to consider oneself as better than others. One never needs to look so far to find that some of the greatest and brightest minds of all time had faith in God. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people really don’t rate history as a subject.

  • Albert8184

    “In conclusion, it is clear that IQ scores have been going up and that this is a reflection of a more developed capacity for abstract reasoning.”

    I don’t just accept this statement as truth. In fact, I believe the exact opposite is true. Either IQs are going down, or children are being less and less educated and equipped to reason as the generations pass. I deal with people on a daily basis who seem alarmingly dense – in ways that I never encountered before. And not just on an abstract level. And I’d also like to point out that the Bible points out that a lack of Godliness is the pathway to foolish and vain thinking. Ignorance is a form or symptom of fallen character.

  • REM1875

    So many checker players and no chess players, able to see the next move but unable to plot strategy and see long term results.

  • Howard

    Of course, the test itself changes from decade to decade, as do the opinions about what is actually meant by “intelligence”. These facts make it difficult to isolate actual changes in the population. I suppose, though, that the effect is real. I would expect it to be largely due to better nutrition, the better pre-natal care (women today are much less likely to drink or smoke during pregnancy), and the control of childhood diseases. If so, I would expect most of the gains to come from the poor and from minorities.

  • Unite_Blue

    Your statistics are wrong. IQ has dropped 14 points in the US in the last decade.

  • Randall Ward

    I hate to read the name of C.S. Lewis in print in Christian publications. When his wife died he cursed God and lost his “faith”. I don’t know if he recovered it, but the fact that he had such a weak faith shows that he should not be teaching others about God.
    About the “demystification of the universe”; the universe has not been “demystified” at all. “Science” is still clinging to a very unscientific theory; evolution, and knows very little about the universe; unfortunately only the best scientific minds know that we don’t know much about life, the universe, etc. and they aren’t telling what they know, because they make their living pretending to “know” a lot.
    This article is very well written and is true for college professors that teach certain subjects, but thank God that most of us aren’t locked in the whirlwind that they are in.
    My personal belief, based on 70 years of observation, living and working, is that people in the USA are not near as smart as the people that lived in the past, say even 50 years ago and going back for at least 3,000 years. I certainly could be wrong, and when I was thirty years old, I had an opposite opinion. At least I know that I don’t know much, unlike the author of this article.

  • balayogi
  • I_M_Forman

    Who did they test? To see what is on the mind of most youth just look at what Madonna wore to the Grammy Awards. Lots of these kids can’t even read on high school levels and they are in their twenties.

    • Griffonn

      I am sure I lost 50 IQ points when I converted.

      After all, I had to abandon everything I had been taught was important.

      I had to be disloyal to the people who had once been the source of my identity (as eligible for the “gifted class”).

  • James

    Unlike our ancestors, moderns are less likely to question the hypothesis.

    Moderns accept as given the hypothetical “where there is always snow, all bears are white”. We have been trained to accept facts as given and deduce conclusions from them. We are schooled in solving logic puzzles.

    Pre-moderns first instinct is to ask “How do you know that where there is snow, all bears are white?” This is not incorrect, for a single brown bear where there always snow would render the hypothesis false.

  • TheWhiteLilyBlog

    No, the ‘rise’ in IQ scores is deceptive. For one thing, it is dubious that these tests measure intelligence, according to researchers. For another, teachers always get better at psyching out tests, and the only reason our kids’ test scores have gotten worse over the years is that the kids have gotten dumber faster than the teachers found ways to trick the tests. The only reliable tests are essay type with well-trained raters, and we’re backing away from those because, first of all, they tell the truth, and second, they’re expensive to give, and we’re broke, thanks to Planned Parenthood.

    Look at any fifth grade lit book from 1900 and one from 2000, and see the difference in reading level. This article is so off the mark it’s not funny, and every veteran teacher would know it. Tech makes us smarter? Child, please. We have now a whole generation of professionals, let alone un-degreed individuals, who do not read well.

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