OKCupid is an internet dating site. Lovelorn individuals sign up and put in a little bio, filling in some responses to standard questions. All that adds up to a an unparalleled database for delving (and the best bit is that, as a private company, there's no bothersome ethics committees to navigate!).
They have a whole blog covered to it, squirrelling out all sorts of nuggets. The latest post is devoted to the surrogate questions you can put to your date in order to discover deeper truths about them.
So, it turns out, if you want to find out if your date is religious, you can just ask them "Do spelling and grammar mistakes annoy you?" As they report:
If your date answers 'no'—i.e. is okay with bad grammar and spelling—the odds of him or her being at least moderately religious is slightly better than 2:1.
As someone who is not himself a believer, I found it rather heartening that tolerance, even on something trivial like this, correlated with belief in God, although I should've figured out that religious people are okay with small mistakes. Next to intelligent design, what's a couple typos?But there's more. It turns out that last year they analysed the the writing level of individual's profiles, and compared that with religion and also how seriously the individual took religion.
What they found is shown in the figure. Atheists, agnostics, Buddhists and Jews were the most literate. Protestants and Catholics are the least.
I guess the respondents are all in the US, so this suggests a clear link between the dominant religion and illiteracy.
None of this will come as a surprise to readers of this blog. Last year, research by Darren Sherkat showed that fundamentalist beliefs are closely linked to poor verbal skills.
Now it's clear that these poor skills aren't a problem for them - at least not in a prospective mate!
This article by Tom Rees was first published on Epiphenom. It is licensed under Creative Commons.