There is a deep anti-intellectual streak that runs through much of religious America, and it’s entirely justified. No, I’m not saying that we ought to give the thumbs-up to poor thinking skills and the inability to distinguish facts from fiction. I’m saying, rather, that fundamentalists are right about academic learning: the more of it you do, the less likely you are to attend church or to talk to God.
New research by economists at Louisiana State University offers some tantalizing evidence:
The study finds that more education, in the form of more years of formal schooling, has “consistently large negative effects” on an individual’s likelihood of attending religious services, as well as their likelihood of praying frequently. More schooling also makes people less likely to harbor superstitious beliefs, like belief in the protective power of lucky charms (rabbit’s feet, four leaf clovers), or a tendency to take horoscopes seriously.