Test the Nation – Comparing IQs of Atheists & Believers

[NOTE: The results are in, not yet up on the CBC website but they’re here for now.]

I always enjoy clobbering my husband in CBC’s Test the Nation quiz shows. It’s a TV series where you get to test your knowledge alongside different groups of people in the studio, as well as other participants at home. Previous show themes have been sports, trivia, or knowledge of Canada, and previous examples of in-studio groups have been bloggers, advertisers, tour guides, etc. It’s a fun time!

The upcoming show (next Sunday, January 24th) is an IQ test:

Our IQ test gives people across the country the chance to measure their intelligence against the rest of the population. Created by our team of intelligence-testing experts led by psychologists Dr. James Parker of Trent University and Dr. Don Saklofske of the University of Calgary, our test questions are closely modeled after those found in standardized IQ tests. The test aims to evaluate performance in what are considered key areas of intelligence, such as language comprehension, visual perception, memory, math and logical reasoning.

I can’t wait for this show to confirm my immense genius……. I’m also very interested this time in how the different groups will do. There are Politicians, Nerds, Twins, Contact Sport Athletes, but more interestingly (to me) Atheists and Believers.

I’m biased, I think the atheists will win…in my experience with atheists, they’re very good at figuring out the truth, and very thoughtful and intelligent people.

Here’s what representatives from the two in-studio teams have to say:

Believers: Reverend Katherine Brittain

4. Why will your team do well on the IQ test?
A large part of our job as clergy is listening, reading, analyzing and synthesizing information, reflecting on it critically and then presenting it in understandable ways for our congregations – challenging our folks to learn and grow, question and analyze – so we should have a group of folks who know how to use our brains! In addition, many faith traditions have educational requirements for the clergy that includes several years of post-secondary education, so we should do well in traditional IQ testing. If all that fails, well, we have a lot of prayers being offered by the contestants and our congregations who will (hopefully) be watching!
6. If you could have any specific person on your team, who would it be?
The Dalai Lama. Besides the fact I’ve always wanted to meet him, he’s brilliant, so it would bring our team’s score up and he’s got an aura of calm and serenity, so he could lull the opposition into relaxing.
Atheists: Justin Trottier, Executive Director, Center for Inquiry, Toronto
3. Why will your team do well on the test?
I think we will do well because Atheists tend to be questioned on their beliefs so much that they tend to be very well read and well-researched, and as a result are quite knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. I think that will make our team a dynamic and successful one.
4. If you could have any specific person on your team, who would it be?
Maybe Leonardo Da Vinci – he knew so much and was involved in so many disciplines. There are obviously people who have made more contributions in a given field but he had such a broad range of insights. Also it would be very cool to meet him.
I’m excited that Justin Trottier is representing the atheists, I love CFI and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard him interviewed on Point of Inquiry.
If you’re in Canada and you want to participate in Test the Nation, make sure to sign up on the CBC website. You can sign up as a virtual member of one of the groups, and they’ll have stats afterwards of how each group did. So far the atheists are the largest group by far!
Who do you think will win? I’ll be sure to post the results after the test. Good luck!

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1 Response to “Test the Nation – Comparing IQs of Atheists & Believers”


  1. 1 Shamelessly Atheist January 17, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I haven’t done this test in years. If it doesn’t get in the way of 24, I’ll have to take it again. Thanks for the heads up!


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