My friend Thomas D. blogged about this article from Science Daily that explores a new study from Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Even if you don't believe in evolution, or, for the Scientologists out there, psychology, it's hard to ignore the data from this study.
The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values. The theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years."
"Evolutionarily novel" preferences and values are those that humans are not biologically designed to have and our ancestors probably did not possess. In contrast, those that our ancestors had for millions of years are "evolutionarily familiar."
When we were living in caves, we were paranoid about the slightest thing, from wild animals to thunder. So, we developed cute little stories to make ourselves, and our families, less paranoid about them. We invented Gods who held our fate in their hands, thereby alleviating ourselves of any responsibility for What Happened. As we evolved further, we could go to war with our neighbors and just say, hey, God told me to.
Explains George Bush, doesn't it?
Kanazawa's study looked at the IQ of adolescents, and sorted them out according to self-described liberals and conservatives, and, voila: the higher IQ's were more liberal and less religous.
In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals.
Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa's hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as "very liberal" have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as "very conservative" have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.
Young adults who identify themselves as "not at all religious" have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as "very religious" have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.
The story goes on to mention that monogamy is also evolutionarily new, and practiced more by intelligent people, which certainly explains why it's mostly Republican politicians who cheat on their wives
This whole line of thought is not so much shocking to me as expected; further proof that those of us who think are more likely to think something everyone else doesn't. Those of us who flock to church every Sunday to listen to a watered down version of Rush Limbaugh are less likely to come up with anything new. They will simply regurgitate the hate, injecting their Biblically-backed venom into the same veins, exhausting those of us who would like to progress, and, at least in the case of climate change, dooming us all to a self-fulfilling Eschatological prophecy that it seems they actually want, rather than a reasoned, logical, and much less painful path toward sustainability.
What does amaze me is how much effort the more intelligent people put into trying to convince these neo troglodytes that they should think outside the cave. It's time to stop bipartisanship efforts. They don't think like we do. They never will. Climate deniers (and evolution deniers and George-Bush-is-a-war-criminal deniers) are just not that smart, and we're wasting time and effort trying to bring them up to speed. It's time they were left behind, for the sake of the rest of us who have managed to pull our heads out of our asses long enough to look around, see the world as it really is, and do something about it.