Dumb all over…again.

Mean Verbal Test Score by Beliefs in the Bible: General Social Surveys




% of Sample

Bible is Word of God



Bible is Inspired by God



Bible is Book of Fables



Bible is Other







a —difference from word of god significant at .05 alpha level.

b —difference from inspired by god significant at .05 alpha level.


Because of conservative Christian hostility towards science, I’m having a little difficulty getting some of my work published. The sociology of religion is crawling with conservative Christian activists who only want to see positive things about their religion in social scientific journals. No worries. I’m a big boy. In the end, I could publish this stuff in fourth tier journals and it will still pick up more citations than the latest paper proving that Jesus–not Allah nor Vishnu–cures cancer.

Jim Wright, editor of Social Science Research, sent around a media clip to the editorial board the other day, detailing a Washington Post article featuring research from Min-Hsiung Huang’s recent SSR paper on race of interviewer effects on racial differences in vocabulary. It got me thinking a bit about my own findings regarding fundamentalist Christians. The verbal ability gap between fundamentalist Christians and persons who think that the Bible is a wacko storybook written by ancient goatfuckers is very substantial–much larger than the black-white gap examined by Huang. And, it’s more important. While conservative Christians like to act as if all Americans are nutjob Christians like themselves, in fact a large proportion of the American population—16 percent—think that the sacred texts of the Abrahamic tradition are a bunch of malarky. Notably, these realists are more numerous than African Americans, and the fundamentalists are about a third of the U.S. Population.  And, the gap is larger. The black-white gap is 5.49-6.33, less than a point. The wacko fundamentalist – normal realist person gap is 5.18 – 6.74–more than a point and a half.

Huang shows that race of interviewer effects wipe out the racial gap in verbal ability. I’ve not found anything–including their low levels of educational attainment, shallow incomes, and rural and southern backgrounds—which makes a dent on the fundy – non-fundy gap. Maybe the fundies would do better if they were only interviewed by other fundamentalist wackjobs…

2 Responses to “Dumb all over…again.”

  1. Guest Says:

    Just the religion journals? Given any thought to the decent general journals? Social Forces, Soc. Quarterly, Soc. Forum, Language in Society, Soc. Perspectives, Soc. Inquiry?

  2. sherkat Says:

    No, unfortunately, we’re talkin’ ASR, AJS, Social Forces, Soc. Forum, Soc. Quarterlyi…pretty much everywhere….Same kind of reactions from the Taliban on papers examining religious influences on opposition to same sex marriage, fundamentalist retardation in verbal ability, lower levels of belief in god in the US. Drop me a note if you want a copy of some of the papers. It may take three years before they come out in Inquiry or Spectrum….Tenured evangelicals, when you have a couple of dozen of them working in your subspecialty it can get stifling. It’s kindof like the nutjob left who went wack on Coleman and Chalmer’s Johnson…..only these are right wingers….

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