The link between conservatism and low intelligence is not due to the fact that conservatives are stupid, according to British comedian Mitch Benn. It is just that people who don't question the traditions and conventional wisdom of their society tend to be conservative.
At the QED 2013 conference earlier this year, atheist and web developer Mike Hall observed that lacking a belief in God didn't necessarily make a person more enlightened. Some people abandoned their faith for "absolutely terrible" reasons.
"There was one I heard recently were somebody had claimed that Christianity was invented in the 4th century by the Masons and the Pope, and that's why they're an atheist," he explained. "That's a stupid reason to be an atheist. I don't care if you got the answer right, you got the method wrong."
The comment prompted evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins to wonder whether atheism was, in fact, associated with higher intelligence.
"I would say it is, but I would say it is tangentially," Benn said.
He remarked that he kept seeing studies linking right-wing ideology to stupidity.
"It is not that simple," he continued. "What it is is people who aren't that bright, who aren't that smart, take refuge in certainty. In the capitalist West, that generally herds them into the right-wing camp, and it becomes God and country and waving the flag and 'God save the queen' and 'God bless America.'"
"I have no doubt that people of a similar type of mindset had they grown up in Eastern Europe in the 1960s, it would have been all about the party. You know what I mean? But people who aren't that bright take refuge in certainty... People who are smart have one less reason to be religious."
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:
[Image via Nicholas Jackson, Creative Commons licensed]