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Scientists found that atheists are smarter than the religious people. According to research, the believers have less intelligence because they always rely on intuition, not facts.

Like the popular sitcom character, Sheldon Cooper says in The Big Bang Theory, "Science is facts. Religion is faith. I prefer facts."

In a research paper published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers claimed that religiosity and intelligence are negatively correlated.

Also read: Hinduism one of the fastest growing religions in Ireland, outpacing Islam

Dr Richard Daws and Adam Hampshire of Imperial College London, lead authors of the paper, noted, "It is well established that religiosity correlates inversely with intelligence.

"A prominent hypothesis states that this correlation reflects behavioural biases toward intuitive problem solving, which causes errors when intuition conflicts with reasoning."

A total of 63,000 participants, who had to complete a 30-minute set of 12 cognitive tasks online to measure planning, reasoning, attention, and memory, indicated whether they were atheists, religious or agnostic.

According to the research paper, the atheists performed better than the religious participants while agnostics mostly ranked in between those two. It came as a result even when the demographic factors like age and education were taken into consideration.

"The religiosity effect is robust across sociodemographic factors including age, education, and country of origin. It varies significantly across religions and this co-occurs with substantial cross-group differences in religious dogmatism," wrote the researchers.

Researchers think that the lower IQ test results may not be permanent. It might be cognitive as believers were left in a highly sceptical situation while performing the tasks as intuition and logic come into conflict. And, as a result, atheists outperform the religious group by a substantial margin (0.6 standard deviations) during a colour-word conflict task but not during a challenging matrix-reasoning task.

Dr Daws and Hampshire concluded the paper, saying, "These findings provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that the religiosity effect relates to conflict [between reasoning and intuition] as opposed to reasoning ability or intelligence more generally."