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A recently published study, Shenhav et al (2011), “Divine Intuition: Cognitive Style Influences Belief in God,” presents evidence on the relationship between intuitive thinking and belief in God. This post points out that it’s not obvious that it isn’t really just general intelligence driving the results from observational data. Because general intelligence is measured using two noisy, short, subcomponents of a much longer IQ test, it’s reasonable to guess that much of the variation in correct answers to the cognitive style questions is correlated with general intelligence even after conditioning on the available IQ test scores. Using GSS data and similar methods to Shenhav’s Study 1, it also appears that failing to understand basic notions of probability predicts belief in God after holding intelligence measures fixed.

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