How Did the Atheists Fare on a Canadian Game Show? January 25, 2010

How Did the Atheists Fare on a Canadian Game Show?

Remember how the Canadian atheists were going to do battle on a TV show, in an IQ test, against nerds, believers, politicians, twins, and athletes?

It aired.

Atheists took 3rd.

Believers took 4th.

And the Nerds won.

(Ok, so that wasn’t really a huge surprise…)

Lindsay gives us a few of the other highlights:

The person in the in-studio groups that had the highest IQ was an atheist, who scored 140. Woo!

There were some comments made by the believers that struck me as really nasty, to paraphrase: “the atheists need to remember there is a hell”, and “we sleep better at night [than the atheists]“…but there was a lot of friendly rivalry between all of the groups so it’s all good. The nerds seemed to take the brunt of the insults though, so I’m glad they won!

Atheists sleep pretty well at night, too. It’s hard not to, when you’re fairly certain there’s no hell to worry about.

It’s also easier to sleep at night when you’ve beaten the Christians in a televised IQ test.

(via Struck by Enlightning)

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  • Revyloution

    If we remembered that there was a hell, then we wouldn’t be atheists…. I know that’s blindingly obvious to everyone here, but how can they not get that?


    Did anyone see the show? Was that quote tongue in cheek or serious?

    Besides that, I’m glad we’ve finally found a more banal way of settling the question ‘Does God Exist’ than using internet polls.

  • Revyloution – I think she realized after what a horrible thing it was to say, because she talked over the host to say she was just kidding…she got a few groans from other teams when she said it!

    I just updated my post to add the national results by religion that were posted on CBC’s website this morning…Agnostics did better than the atheists (I think it was agnostics – 115, atheists 114 and religious 111). Thanks for the plug Hemant 🙂

  • Beckster

    Is it safe to assume that a fair number of the nerds are also atheists?

  • “Did anyone see the show? Was that quote tongue in cheek or serious?”

    Its part of an on-going series. Basically a really lame game/quiz show.

    They are far from serious, and far from interesting. Usually they have topics (the preceding one was popular culture, yuck). I saw about 30s of this one, about the same as always – boring, slow and boring.

    Basically, a question is asked, each group decides on an answer, and points are tallied based on how many your group gets right.

    If you really want, you can watch the whole thing here:

  • Revyloution

    I have a Star Trek tattoo on my left breast if that answers your question Beckster.

    Thanks Linzee, my faith in humanity is somewhat restored.

  • I watched it, and I want that two boring hours of my life back. I also took the test online, but my laptop froze on the final question, so I have no idea how smart or stupid I am ;-).

    The “teams” are kind of silly of course, as most people would belong to more than one group — presumably each jock, nerd and politician is also either an atheist or a believer (though I recognize the existence of an apathetic middle group that doesn’t identify with either).

    In context, I took the believer/atheist banter as just humorous trash-talk. I also enjoy the irony that the atheist team captain is an actor who plays a Christian priest on a sitcom about Muslim immigrants.

  • I blogged about the “at home” results as well. Just like the Lindsay said, the Agnostics had the highest average. HOWEVER, the atheists had the highest average when you considered raw scores, rather than age-scaled scores (because the age-scaled gave an advantage to older test takers).

    The age-scaling also compromised results concerning marital status (singles had the highest raw score, but the lowest final score). So, I wouldn’t take these results at face value.

  • The believers team needs to remember that their god is supposed to be the only one passing judgement. Pointed comments like that really shouldn’t be tolerated. Imagine the shitstorm that would subsequently occur if an Atheist reminded one of them that there is no heaven.

  • Ron in Houston

    Well, I guess God loves nerds.

  • Polly

    “Well, I guess God loves nerds.”

    Well, sure!
    They (we?) are the only ones paying attention to his masterpiece by way of, you know, science. Everyone else just seems to be making shit up and blaming it on him. If he exists, I imagine he’s pretty pissed at theists.

  • MeagD

    “I blogged about the “at home” results as well. Just like the Lindsay said, the Agnostics had the highest average. HOWEVER, the atheists had the highest average when you considered raw scores, rather than age-scaled scores (because the age-scaled gave an advantage to older test takers).”

    Thanks you for pointing this out Modern Girl! I was actually an in-studio contestant on the Atheist team for this program, and I was wondering the same thing. How much of an advantage did the politicians, say, have over the Atheists or Athletes, for instance, since their average age was higher than ours. The Atheist team was stacked with under-30s. I would have been nice to see the raw scores, as well.

    Props to Kevin Kindred for a phenomenal score. Given his age, he must have answered nearly every question correctly!

  • MeagD – I’m glad you commented…when we were watching we were wondering if you were taking the test live or if you had already taken it before and they were just presenting the results as if you were taking it live? I was thinking it must have been really stressful to try to keep up with the questions with all the chit-chat in the studio as well as Strombo’s narration of the questions (I found that really distracting).

    I was wondering how they picked the groups too, whether they were somewhat controlled for age & gender and other factors, doesn’t sound like it.

  • ckitching

    I have to say that I wasn’t expecting the politician group to come in second. The show itself was far too boring, and I don’t think I’d ever watch it again. To make matters worse, the show would come back on after commercial and was distracting when doing the online version of the test.

  • I wonder how many of the nerds, twins, politicians and athletes were atheists (or believers)?

    I am a bit offended that they’d think that atheists and believers are exclusive groups from the others.

  • @Robert

    Atheists *are* exclusive to those groups. Everyone knows that atheists can’t be nerdy or a twin when they just sit at home wallowing in the fact that there’s reason for anything.

    (At risk of someone taking me seriously, I’ll add that the above is meant to be sarcastic.)

  • MeagD

    Robert – It was all just gimmicks. Many of the contestants were openly members of a few groups. Most of the Atheist could identify as Nerds, and some even applied to be members on either team (for example). It wasn’t meant to be divisive – it’s just a quiz show!

    Yes I agree with all of you who said it was boring. It was, and I was on it! Too bad really, because it could have been done well.

    Linzee – Yes we did take the test live on-air and yes, the narration of the questions and being in a studio with 180+ other people was VERY distracting (at least for me it was). Not to mention some people yelled or made noise during the questions… It was all meant to be fun, though, so I don’t think anyone was taking the scores too seriously.

  • Greg

    I’m wondering how many of the agnostics are actually atheists. Given the definition of atheism, and the definition most ‘agnostics’ give themselves, I’m guessing all of them.

    People who claim to be agnostics rather than theists or atheists is a pet peeve of mine.

    (A)gnosticism is a belief regarding knowledge not a belief regarding god.

    (Cuts himself off before he starts to rant.)

  • JB Tait

    Notice that most of the Believers in the studio were leaders not followers, and don’t forget that the preponderance of the participants were Canadians. I expect that in the U.S. the spread between the Nones and the Faithful would be much wider.

    Canadians also blink slower.

  • MeagD re: the boring comment…be grateful you weren’t a part of one of the older shows…compared to other episodes I’ve watched this one was a blast! Especially the Canadian trivia one ugh…

  • Shawn

    In context, I took the believer/atheist banter as just humorous trash-talk.

    I second this. It seemed like it was mostly trash talk. I did get a laugh out of the CBC trying to set it up as classic rivalries: “Jocks vs. Nerds”, “Atheists vs. Believers” and “Politicians vs. Twins”

    On an unrelated note, I think if you were taking it at home by TV, you very likely had a disadvantage over those who calibrated the scoring.

    Some things that irked me:

    some of the picture questions were hard to see (the RCMP picture fragment was just tiny red blobs on my 27″ TV)
    in one of the videos, they would repeatedly cut to two different camera angles of a woman making a meal. But there was a continuity error: in one there was 4 lemons, and the other it was 4 and a half. It was really distracting
    One one question, the guy reading it took what must have been about 8 of 25 seconds, before they cut to show you the printed question.
    anybody laughing at me for still having a 27″ TV

    Not sour grapes, none of the above affected my score. 🙂

  • Revyloution

    “Canadians also blink slower.”

    Ok, now im going to be timing my wifes blinking tonight.

    Lagunatic, ask your boy to check yours too. This deserves some research.

    And I can’t believe no one has taken me to task for admitting I have a Star Trek tattoo.

  • Greg, I agree with you about the Agnostic comment. According to Dawkin’s, I would technically be an agnostic pantheist, but according to myself, I’m an agnostic humanist who attends a Unitarian Universalist congregation.

    When I took the IQ test online, I was given three possible choices – beliver, agnostic, atheist. Technically, I felt like I could go in all three, but felt most comfortable relating to other self-identified “agnostics”

  • Revyloution;

    I’ll ask him to time my blinking, but the problem is that Asians blink harder and more so I bet the count will be off. 😉

    Does this joke fall under the an-eye-for-an-eye category?

    (so much for taking my own advice re: hitting ‘submit comment’)

  • ckitching

    Canadians also blink slower.

    Of course. Eyelids are nature’s deicers. It’s a habit you pick up when you acclimate to nine months of winter.

  • Yeah, I don’t rate IQ tests, but still nice to beat people :p

  • muggle

    I can’t get offended at the remarks. It does sound as if it was just in the vein of the show.

    I’m gonna have to watch that this weekend when I have the time.

    I should take the on-line test just for fun. Can’t take these IQ tests too seriously. I always do pretty well but I’m a bookphile.

  • Heh. Scored a 134. Yippee. I’ve just had my self-worth reinforced by an automated braininess calculator. Go me.

  • Kevin Kindred

    I was also in-studio, and I have to concur that the comments were pretty much all in jest. They really encouraged the teams to have humourous trash talk, which was awkward–I think the believers were trying to live up to that but their comments weren’t really that funny. In the green room, most of the teams mingled very well, and the Believers and Atheists got along just fine.

    PS to MeagD … thank you for “considering his age”. 🙂

  • MeagD

    Kevin – You will forever be a Canadian Atheist legacy! Congrats, again.

    I assure you Shawn that the picture/memory questions were incredibly difficult for us to see as well. That’s no excuse for my below genius score, of course 🙂 But most of us had to lean forward and squint to have any chance of getting them right. A few unlucky folks even forgot their glasses…

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