Friday 8 June 2012

Christianity and high IQ


My all-time, most-often-hit post from this blog (with about 6500 page views) is a journalistic-style article I published in the Mensa magazine on the disadvantages of high IQ

This is interesting for several reasons: one is that I would not have predicted this would be the most popular thing I wrote; another is that the topic of IQ is apparently one of considerable general interest.


The three big disadvantages of high IQ which I listed were atheism, socialism and low fertility.

In a nutshell, I regard the modern high IQ elite member as a relatively recent product of rapid natural selection (some several or many hundreds of years) - of fast adaptation to the powerful selection pressure of a type of agrarian society - and like almost all examples of rapidly evolved adaptations this is achieved at a cost in pathology.

There are levels of complexity of evidence and analysis to debate - but I am pretty sure that there is an underlying causal relationship behind these phenomena, something I also tried to capture in the Clever Silly concept - that the highly intelligent lack Common Sense.

Atheism, socialism, low fertility are aspects of a psychological pathology which was a by-product of rapid evolution of high intelligence.

(Naturally, these are products of some underlying disorder which would be expressed differently in different environments; and naturally a.s.lf are quantitative amplifications of pre-existing traits - they are not completely new traits. Rapid adaptation can only amplify what already exists.)


Since we currently live in a society dominated by high IQ atheist, leftists who are uninterested-by and hostile-to marriage, families and children - and since our public discourse is professional and essentially consists of the mass media backed by the systems of law, education and government - we are in the historically and geographically incredible position that ordinary common sense and personal experience have been all-but abolished.

Our world is abstract and theoretical - and this applies not only to the high IQ elite, but pretty much across the board, affecting nearly everybody.

So that Christianity - and traditional, orthodox supernaturalist religion of any kind - now strikes many people as not so much false as merely bizarre and foolish.


This applies even to, perhaps most of all to, the academic work of scholars, philosophers, scientists and the like. Anti-Christianity among these groups often boils down to the plain fact that they cannot take Christianity seriously, for them it is not even wrong, but simply crazy or manipulative.

Look hard at the arguments of mainstream modern cultural intellectuals building upon centuries of this tradition: they have the built-in and foundational assumption that obviously Christianity is untrue - and therefore anything which might tend to lead to acknowledgement of Christianity is also obviously untrue... and this is the position from which they begin.

Their reasoning may lead almost-anywhere except to Christianity, their conclusions might be almost anything except Christianity.

I speak from decades of experience inside this abstract theoretical and anti-Christian perspective.


So we, in this society, are living in a bubble of discourse qualitatively distinct from that of any other society in history and in about half the contemporary world - a bubble in which religion has been demoted from being the most important thing in life to being regarded a ludicrous farrago of made-up stuff: literally 'beneath contempt'.

Since all common sensical people have always been and still are religious, and since all children are spontaneously religious - this represents an extraordinary state of affairs.


As a society we have created a swirling bubble of abstract theories we term public discourse, within which we have trapped ourselves so that it sometimes seems that nothing we feel or experience can ever break us free.

As those who man the continual process of bubble production - intellectuals are most deeply implicated.

But it is worth remembering that the bubble of abstract theory standing between us and reality is a vastly resource-consuming phenomenon - sustainable only by the kind of scientific, technological and economic production which the bubble itself destroys by its denial of reality.

This is the nature of evil, characteristic of evil - evil is destructive, negative, nihilistic: it is anti-Good which means anti-real.


The atheist, leftist, anti-marriage/family/children perspective of modernity is essentially evil, yet of course it does contain Good - for example, it values kindness and hates suffering.

Yet the evil behind secularism would eventually destroy even those Goods, leaving immediate pleasure as the only value, and secularism would become cruel and sadistic with collapse into a universal war of each against all - which if carried-through to completion and the triumph of darkness (in this world) would ultimately lead to a single victor, who then killed himself...


Thus our abstract theoretical world - this creation of the Clever Silly high IQ and anti-Christian elites - is not working to impose an alternative reality, it is un-reality: it denies even itself, it operates to destroy even itself.



The Continental Op said...

it operates to destroy even itself.

The sooner done the better. They are dead-enders.

Audacious Epigone said...

GSS data show that high IQ is more strongly associated with agnosticism than with atheism, not that it changes the thrust of your argument (in fact it probably enhances it in the sense that the cream of the cognitive crop tend towards philosophical nihilism--at least atheism is a professed belief, I suppose...)

Bruce Charlton said...

@AE - The effect I am talking about would mostly be observable at the level of the world population and between societies, not necessarily within-society populations where IQ differences may be small (if we could quantify differences in intelligence on a ratio scale!).

Anonymous said...

Well, this high IQ thing is the process of taking over of the left hemisphere in Western civilization, as described in "The Master and Its Emissary".

As a high IQ guy, I attest that it's very hard for me to believe and that I see myself devoid of common sense, my connection with reality severed by a world of ideas, the abstract virtual world of the left hemisphere. I am unhappier than most ordinary people.

I think our kind (you are a high IQ guy too, Bruce) is a moment in time. With the pill, high IQ has become maladaptive and future generations will not have our problems.


Uncle Vladdi said...

This is completely backwards.