The Inducivist is always digging into the GSS and coming back with interesting stuff. For example, he reports:
Percent who believe astrology is very or sort of scientific
43.3% Extremely liberal
31.4% Slightly liberal
25.9% Slightly conservative
25.0% Extremely conservative
What’s going on here? I think what’s showing up isn’t really ideology, but the fact that political ideology has a strong correlation with adherence to theologically conservative Christianity. The Christian church has spent 2,000 years fighting magic, which it often characterizes as the work of the devil or demons. When it isn’t arguing that magic is due to demonic powers, it is denying the existence of magic at all. The idea that the stars can control one’s fate is ancient, it was one of the major spurs toward the development of astronomy. But Christianity has generally taken a dim view of this field because of the perception that it interferes with the omnipotence of the One True God. Nevertheless, once the theological constraint is removed it seems many people “naturally” switch back to default modes of theorizing about the world, and astrology seems to be one of those appealing models. I have noted earlier that in Europe the decline in Christianity has resulted in the rise of atheism, but an even greater increase has occurred in the segment of the population which espouses neither atheism nor Christianity.
Now, here is what was found in relation to IQ & astrology:
Mean IQ by view on astrology
It’s very scientific 90.1
It’s sort of scientific 96.5
It’s not scientific at all 101.2
I doubt this is a function of reasoned thought about the nature of astrology as much as the likelihood that higher IQ individuals are more likely to trust the scientific consensus because of a greater interest in and comprehension of science as a whole.