(Yglesias)David Brooks has an insightful column on “The Book Of Mormon” making the point that stringent, arbitrary, rigorous religious doctrines that liberals find distasteful tend to be both more socially successful and also associated with individuals doing better. What I’m less certain about is the posited causal relationship here:
(Brooks)---Rigorous codes of conduct allow people to build their character. Changes in behavior change the mind, so small acts of ritual reinforce networks in the brain. A Mormon denying herself coffee may seem like a silly thing, but regular acts of discipline can lay the foundation for extraordinary acts of self-control when it counts the most.---
(Yglesias) But is Mormonism giving people self-control here, or are people with a lot of self-control becoming Mormons ?
It's been shown many times that atheists have higher IQ's than the members of any organized religion, why doesn't David Brooks write a column about that ?
It's also a fact that non-Christians, non-believers, and atheists have much higher academic achievement in the U.S. than Christians.
For once it would be nice to have a column pondering the problems with Christian 'achievement' rather than the immorality of everyone else.
(And no, I don't take IQ as a pre born determination, but Brooks probably does, while Yglesias probably posits and waffles.)