In an analysis of studies, researchers found that people who hold naturalistic views of the world are generally smarter than those with supernatural views. Creative Commons

A review of scientific studies finds that people who hold a more naturalistic view of the world are generally smarter than those who believe in god.

In an analysis of 63 studies conducted since 1928, a researcher at the University of Rochester found “a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity” in 53 of the studies. While 10 of the studies showed a positive correlation, only two of them showed a significant link.

Thirty-five of the studies, however, showed a significantly negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity, according to researcher Miron Zuckerman.

“Most extant explanations [of a negative relation] share one central theme —the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who ‘know better,’Zuckerman wrote in a paper published.

Zuckerman and two other psychologists reviewing the literature defined intelligence as the “ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn experience.” Religiosity is defined by psychologists as participation in some facets of worship, which might range from passive attendance at weekly services to the sort of messianic fervor depicted in Robert Duvall’s 1997 film The Apostle.

Other factors such as sex or education made no difference in the correlation between intelligence and religiosity, although some variance was seen with age. The association of lower intelligence with religiousness was weakest among teenagers in the “pre-college population,” however.

Yet, a lifelong association between higher intelligence and atheism, or naturalistic worldview, remains constant in a continuing study — begun in 1928 — of 1,500 gifted children with intelligence quotients (IQs) over 135. Even in extreme old age and closer to death (and some would say God), these children remained steady in their beliefs, or non-belief.

The higher intelligence of non-believers was attributed by researchers to a greater propensity to seek education and higher employment, when available, thus assuming more personal control over their direction in life. “Intelligent people typically spend more time in school — a form of self-regulation that may yield long-term benefits,” Zuckerman wrote. “More intelligent people get higher level jobs and better employment may lead to higher self-esteem, and encourage personal control beliefs.”

Defenders of religious belief contend the psychologists define intelligence too narrowly as analytical ability, omitting such aptitudes as emotional and creative intelligence among other aspects of multiple intelligence theory — and certainly wisdom remains an ineffable quality, slipping just out of grasp.


Posted in May


Q : Can we hold that the trend of the Indian Stock Market indicates in what direction the economic Policies of the B.J.P government are moving? – Natheegan S.K., Perambalur.

Ans: Surely, the corporates and the rich alone are aware of this and carry on accordingly. Even if they hear about these things, only very few of the poor can understand this. The poor who are distressed at not being able to go to the village markets are the majority in our country.

Q : What are the rights of the citizens to remove the obstacles in executing the plans of the government? – A.Mugil, Utrangarai

Ans:The rights are, freedom of speech, freedom of thoughts and seeking justice through courts of law.

Q : The lawyer who argued for the accused in the Nirbaya case, has mentioned that “ in the Hindu culture, there is no place for women at all”. Women in India have not protested enough against this. Why? – A.K.Priya, Kovai

Ans:It can happen only when women fight with a spirit of agitation. Most of them fight only for publicity.

Q : How is  it all those who oppose removal of “thali”  happen to be only men?
- M.Manommani, Thuraipakkam

Ans:It is only men who tied thali to donkeys and dogs and conducted marriages to them on the “Lover’s Day” with the purohits.

Q : The Supreme Court Justice himself has raised questions about the religious principles of the central Government. What does this indicate?
- N.K.Desikan, Valliyoor

Ans :The recently expressed condemnations of the objective thinkers  like the  Justice of the Supreme Court, Rebeiro, the retired DGP of Punjab, and the scientist Venkataraman Ramakrishnan are the views of the scientific thinkers. Did the people vote for the growth of the Hindutva?

Q : A lot of progressive parties gathered in support of the movement during the ‘thali’ removal event. What does this indicate?
- Iniya Siddharthan, Chennai.

Ans : We strongly believe that for all our policies and activities, there is always support from those who have strong hold on principles and ideals. We express our deep sense of gratitude and happiness to them all.

Q : Can you cite an example of anything that happened as predicted by Periyar?
- S.Pandithurai, Kuppam.

Ans:There are plenty. There is a long list. His book “The World to Come” is a huge treasure. He has mentioned in that book that in future children could be born without the copulation of man and woman through experiment tube; everyone will possess a handphone: they may speak seeing each other from far distant places; one teacher may teach thousands of students at a time from one place! Today we see all of them  in practice; revolution in women’s rights so many changes have come as predicted by Periyar.

Q : In the problem of removing the thali how is it that women did not come forward in great number, either supporting or opposing?
- C.Muthuselvi, Sengam.

Ans : A lot of courage and clarity are needed to support it. The comrades of our movement are joining us in great number. But of the others, most of them are deeply immersed in superstitions. They are the victims of fear being instilled at their early stage. Those who did not turn up did not oppose this, which is noteworthy. Majority of the younger generation of women are convinced of the rationalist ideals.

Q : A few “scholars” question how we can invite people to the event if the removal of “thaili”. Why?
- S.Priyamani, Kanjipuram.

Ans : This is not a holy event like a purohit blessing the marriage of a donkey and dog, and a monkey. This is meant only for those who attended this on their own, on the 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr.Ambedkar,  and those who believe in women’s liberation.

Posted in May


The RSS campaign to purge the Indian education system of all ‘foreign’ influences is due to get a huge boost in Rajasthan, where moves are underway to effectively rewrite 6.5 crore textbooks in the state.

Ever since the formation of the New Government at the Center, RSS has been consistently engaging with it over shaping its education policy, a move criticised by the Opposition as an attempt to saffronise the education system. And this latest incident is unlikely to go down well either.

According to a report in The Indian Express, primary and secondary education minister, RSS member Vasudev Devnani is set to oust names like Akbar the great, Pythagoras and Isaac Newton from state textbooks in favour of ‘local’ heroes like Veer Savarkar, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Maharaja Suraj Mal and Maharana Pratap.

“Why should our children only learn about Akbar, the Great? Why not Maharana Pratap, the Great? Our children are constantly learning about foreign rulers, mathematicians, scientists et al,” he told the Express. “Soon after I took charge, I wanted to rework the textbooks but I was told printing had started and making changes would cause a huge financial loss. This year, we will bring significant changes,” he added.

Devnani had earlier made headlines for making the surya namaskar compulsory in government schools in the state, following a similar initiative that was carried out in Madhya Pradesh.

Bizarre as Devnani’s plans are however, they are hardly unique. The Gujarat government implemented a similar scheme in 2014, when it decided to introduce seven books by Dinanath Batra, a member of the executive committee of RSS education wing Vidya Bharti, as recommended reading for its primary and upper-primary students.
Batra himself has very strong opinions on the current education system in India, which he also feels gives much too much importance to ‘foreigners’.
The Times of India quoted from one of his writings as follows:
Education in India is neither Indian nor a real education. Education has nothing to do with this country’s land. It is result of mischiefs with words by Marx and Macaulay that today’s young generation has become aimless, arrogant and stubborn and is in the race of being unemployed. A nationalistic education system has to be developed to address the requirements and through this we have to develop a young generation that is committed to Hindutva and nationalist.”
Then in another worrying incident of attempts to rewrite history, the RSS came under fire in September for trying to blame the emergence of the Indian caste system on ‘foreign invaders’.

In its never-before-heard-of take on Dalit history, the RSS released three books on the subject, where the authors held foreign invaders responsible for the emergence of certain castes. The books, authored by BJP spokesperson Vijay Sonkar Shastri, were released by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. RSS leaders had written the preface for all three books.

According to a report in The Hindustan Times, top RSS leader Bhaiyyaji Joshi states in the preface to one of the books, “To violate Hindu swabhiman (dignity) of Chanwarvanshiya Kshatriyas, foreign invaders from Arab, Muslim rulers and beef-eaters, forced them to do abominable works like killing cows, skinning them and throwing their carcasses in deserted places. Foreign invaders thus created a caste of charma-karma (dealing with skin) by giving such works as punishment to proud Hindu prisoners.”

And it hardly stops there either.

Newspaper reports from September 2014 claimed that the Sangh was planning to piece together the history of over 670 districts and 600 tribal communities in the country. The Sangh is already undertaking a decade-long project to produce a version of Indian history based on the Puranas.

To this end, the Akhil Bharatiya Itihaas Sankalan Yojna (ABISY), a Sangh affiliate, established the Bharatiya Puran Adhyayan Sansthan (Indian Institute of Purana Studies) within the RSS headquarters premises in Delhi, reported The Indian Express. Dubbed ‘Puranantargat Itihaas’, the project is based on ABISY’s argument that it’s incorrect to say that there are only 18 Puranas, when there are 106.

What is also interesting however, is that the Rajasthan decision comes a little over a month after the RSS adopted a resolution asking the BJP-led Union government and those in states to impart education in the mother tongue of students or constitutionally recognised state languages, saying those educated in a foreign language get “alienated” from their culture and tradition.

Courtesy : First Post


Posted in May


- Elizabeth O’Casey

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) has confronted India at the UN Human Rights Council for its failure to address Caste-based discrimination.

IHEU guest representative, Yogesh Varhade, highlighted Caste-based discrimination as a human rights violation, which affects hundreds of millions of people. In his statement, echoing the words of the last High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, Varhade called for the wall of Caste to be torn down.

The statement to the UN comes in the wake of  29 students being arrested for protesting cuts  to provisions for education of Dalits and Adivasis in the country.

Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have raised serious concerns over the issue of Caste discrimination in their respective annual reports this year.

Caste systems divide people into unequal and hierarchical social groups. Caste-based discrimination involves massive violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and affects an estimated 260 million people worldwide.

Varhade’s statement concentrated on India where the vast majority of those suffering Caste discrimination live. In India, Caste discrimination is traditionally rooted in the Hindu Caste system, according to which Dalits are considered ‘outcasts’ or ‘untouchables’.

Between 2005 and 2010, there were 4,724 murders and 11,678 rapes of  Dalits, and 217,077 “atrocities” (including arson, abduction, beatings, and other severe abuses) committed against them.

Several UN bodies have reaffirmed that Caste-based discrimination is prohibited by international human rights law and that it is a global human rights phenomenon, which needs be addressed comprehensively through existing human rights mechanisms. In 2009, the UN Human Rights Council published a report following a UN study on discrimination based on work and descent. That report contained draft Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent, which the International Community has yet to adopt formally. Varhade’s statement on behalf of the IHEU follows below in full:

Posted in May


The Father of Modern Singapore Mr. Lee Kuan Yew died on 23rd March 2015. Singapore liberated itself from the British Colonial Rule in 1959. Later the Republic of Singapore became a sovereign State, coming out from the political fold of Federation of Malaysia. At all these political transformation stages of Singapore,  the leadership and contributions of Lee Kuan Yew were very significant. He was the first Prime Minister of Singapore since 1959 and continuously served at the helm of affairs till 1990. From the level of City – Country, lacking natural resources, the political administration given by Lee Kuan Yew raised the Republic of Singapore to the level of a prosperity country which was anxiously watched by the super power nations of the world. He raised Singapore not only on economic front but he framed policy for the harmonious living of its citizens comprising ethnic races of Chinese, Malay and Indian (mostly Tamils). He recognised all the three mother tongues of them as National Languages apart from

making English as the Official Language of the state.

Lee Kuan Yew adopted no specific political philosophy. He was pragmatic in choosing whatever positive features available in any philosophy. His core focus was on welfare and wellbeing of the citizens of the country. He was the role model for the successful political administrator of the Nation which comprises multiracial population as its citizens. He was agnostic.

His demise sank many in profound grief throughout the world who  once lived in Singapore and they mourned on the occasion as if it is the demise of one of their family members.

On getting the news of the demise  of Lee Kuan Yew, Dr. K. Veeramani, President, Dravidar Kazhagam went to the Chennai based Consulate General, Republic of Singapore and paid floral tributes to the portrait of Lee Kuan Yew placed at the venue. He recorded ‘Message of Condolence’ in the visitors’ book.

Later Dravidar Kazhagam and The Rationalists’ Forum, Functional Wings of Periyar Movement organised a Homage Meet to Lee Kuan Yew at Periyar Thidal Chennai on 8th April 2015.  Dr. K. Veeramani presided over the meet and unveiled the portrait of Lee Kuan Yew. He spoke elaborately on the noble qualities  and capabilities of Lee Kuan Yew by quoting references from the books written by Lee Kuan Yew.

Mr. R.Veeramani Chairperson, Gem Group, Chennai & President, Indo-Russian, Chamber of Commerce and Industries and  Dr. V.R.S.Sampath Editor, Sattakadir (Tamil Law Magazine) & President, Madras Development Society spoke elaborately on the unique public life and contributions made by Lee Kuan Yew and paid rich tributes to him. Mr. V. Kumaresan, General Secretary, The  Rationalists’ Forum read out the brief  history of Lee Kuan Yew . At the venue of the Homage Meet all the books written by Lee Kuan Yew were displayed for the  audience. Many from different walks of life attended the meet and paid Homage to Lee Kuan Yew.



Recently a television channel announced to have a debate on whether ‘Thali’ or ‘Mangalsutra’ up-valued women or degraded them. Though Tamil Nadu has had the tradition of such debates including debates on Ramayana, some of the most reactionary, communal and obnoxious forces in society targeted the television channel and inflicted violence against them.

An on such matters, Tamil writer D. Jayakanthan boldly asserted freedom of speech, freedom of the writer to be creative and the freedom of the writer to oppose such communal sentiments. This is something worth celebrating.
- Excerpts from the speech of  Mr. N. Ram, The Hindu Group of Publications.

Posted in May