Welcome to Fundamentalism.
Kicking around in my head are the results of four different studies, each of which is quite startling on its own, but when put together are simply staggering in their implications. The upshot is that religious fundamentalists are beating the United States into being stupid and poor.
The first thing we need to look at is this report: Parental Corporal Punishment May Lead To Lower IQs In Offspring which showed that spanking children causes them to lose IQ points:
IQs of children ages 2 to 4 who were not spanked were 5 points higher four years later than the IQs of those who were spanked. The IQs of children ages 5 to 9 years old who were not spanked were 2.8 points higher four years later than the IQs of children the same age who were spanked.
Atheists score 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82 points higher than Liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than Dogmatic persuasions. Denominations differ significantly in IQ and income... It is suggested that IQ makes an individual likely to gravitate toward a denomination and level of achievement that best fit his or hers particular level of cognitive complexity.
I bet you can guess where I'm going. The next paper is: Religious Beliefs, Sociopolitical Ideology, and Attitudes Toward Co... which shows that the more religious you are, the more likely you are to use corporal punishment:
Several studies published in the 1990s linked support for, and use of, corporal punishment with religious factors, particularly core doctrines of conservative (i.e., evangelical and fundamentalist) Protestantism.
So where does that leave us? Religious conservatives are more likely to beat their kids. Kids who are beaten on average have lower IQs. People with lower IQs tend to be more religious. In fact, people seek out religions that best suit their intelligence, with lower IQs falling into more dogmatic religions. The more dogmatic your religion, the more likely you are to beat your kids, which causes their IQs to drop, which sends them into more conservative beliefs, and the entire cycle never ends.
This is religion as a negative feedback loop, and we are victims of this every day. Richard E Dickerson in his paper Exponential correlation of IQ and the wealth of nations estimates that "As a rough rule of thumb, an increase of 10 points in mean IQ results in a doubling of the per capita GDP." There is then a real, economic cost to allowing religious loons to beat there kids literally senseless.

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Comment by David Anam on March 29, 2011 at 10:43am

Regarding the first study, the IQ gap between children who are spanked vs. children who are not seems to decrease as the child gets older. This seems to me to suggest that a child that is spanked starts out with lower IQs but catches up to other children as they age, which begs the question of whether the IQ gap becomes insignificant by adulthood.


I also wonder if the spanking itself is causing the lower IQ or if it is simply a correlation that parents who spank are also parents who don't teach their kids very well in other ways.


If I were to make a guess, I would say that the lower IQ is due to children being afraid to ask questions and learn for fear of punishment, but as they grow and their fear of punishment diminishes, they begin to ask and learn more, leading to an IQ increase.



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