The Rational Something

Vox Day, who looks like Bill Hicks, who looks like Alex Jones, who looks like Christopher Hitches, who looks like Brad Delong, is the author of The Irrational Atheist. I don’t really know what I am (atheist, deist, agnostic, etc), nor do I wish to go by a simple label, but I believe in rationality in whatever form that it may be or wherever it may lie, hence The Rational Something.

I estimate there are hundred million adult practicing Christians in the US, of which 5% of them have a high-IQ as determined by an IQ test. Of these, many of them would probably describe themselves as resolute in their faith, but I argue that smart Christians have beliefs and mannerisms, either intentional or unintentional, that could be considered ‘un-Christian like’; however, this conflict between faith and action is understandable and to be expected in smart people. Smart people may have difficulty unequivocally embracing the teachings of Christianity because (to the smart person) it’s irrational, flies in the face of reality, isn’t backed by empirical evidence; but, most importantly, offers no favoritism to high-IQ people. They accept enough of it to carry out the motions, but not embrace it spiritually to its fullest extent.

Smart people tend lose patience more easily than slow people and tire of having to explain things slowly and repeatedly, while the Bible, on the other hand, preaches selflessness, patience and altruism. I’m sure when someone suddenly slows down in the fast line when there is no obvious traffic, the smart person thinks, ‘What an idiot! Can’t he drive? But wait – I’m going to heaven with him! And love thy neighbor! Darn! Can’t God create a purgatory for dull people?’

Ross Douthat, whose intellect is matched by few in the world of punditry, is also a man of contradictions, contributing to his intrigue, versus the bland, less intelligent and always predictable Krugman. A shapeshifter, it’s hard to pinpoint what Douthat is, or really what he stands for. On one hand, he labels himself a Christian Conservative, but he attended Harvard – a secular university – instead of a Christian university. In his book Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class he recounts engaging in what can be described as un-Christian like behavior. Douthat seems like the kind of guy who will take whatever position makes him seem like the smartest, most empirically minded guy in the room, even if it contradicts an earlier position or doesn’t fall within the party lines, a tendency that Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic who writes a lot about his faith, also shares. Attending Harvard allowed him to showcase his great intelligent, and it paid off career-wise. I cannot begrudge him for that – and, in fact, attending Harvard was the rational thing to do. Intellectually, he was dealt a royal flush and he’s playing it accordingly. Being chained to a narrow, parochial view of the word makes it hard to evolve when times change and keep up with those who aren’t constrained in such a manner. He’s a Rational Something.

Fox Day, a genius in terms of IQ and perennial critic of the ‘four horsemen of neo-atheism’, holds views about IQ that seem to align with those of the more atheist-leaning HBD/rationalist community; in fact, just talking about IQ sets him apart from the rank-and-file Christian. Although Mr. Day’s view on the matter is fairly nuanced, even going so far as to say that accomplishments are more important than a score, the obvious statement that someone with an IQ of 150 is better at understanding complex things than someone with an IQ of 50 – that alone is enough to elicit much dissent and bemusement from the welfare left.

In a nutshell, Christianity says that everyone who believes, regardless of IQ, ability, talents, wealth…whatever, is equal in the eyes of God and worthy of redemption. There are variations, such as more conservative sects, but the Bible makes no allowances OR PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT for IQ, merit, or innate ability – everyone is equal and will be saved, provided they accept Jesus as their lord and savior. And that is it. That means an eminent physicist with an IQ of 160 is no better than a ‘reformed’ sex offender. And that is patently absurd to anyone who holds any modicum of rationality. In real life, for example, you see smart people getting further ahead, creating things; you see the relationship between IQ and intellectual ability; you make the mental connection that without smart people, society would not be where it is now – modern conveniences would not exist. Some people are better than others. You buy guns – to keep those reformed sex offenders away from your wife and children. You get sick and immediately seek help, despite entering heaven sooner if you die. Why is there a St. Jude hospital; why not let the kids die and go to heaven? Of course, you want to spend time with your loved-ones on earth, but mathematically speaking, if an eternity of bliss awaits you and your family in heaven (assuming you don’t go crazy from having to be with the same people forever), what difference does it make if you get there 20 or so years sooner?