Grammar Nazi? Then you’re probably an atheist!

If you’re on a first date, how can you find out how religious your dating partner is without asking outright? Well, it turns out that you can just ask for their opinion on grammar!

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 devoted 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!


Creative Commons License This article by Tom Rees was first published on Epiphenom. It is licensed under Creative Commons.

7 Responses to Grammar Nazi? Then you’re probably an atheist!

  1. Honestly, I only become the grammar and/or spelling gestapo under certain conditions. The first is when someone is attempting to call out stupidity on another. The other is typically when they're taking a racist/anti-immigrant/American Exceptionalist approach in their thought. If you can't use the language properly, you deserve to be called out on it under those conditions.

    • Thank you WWRJD glad you enjoyed my Superman comment.it was fun to write . And as well I have enjoyed reading your posts,and comments over the last 2 years.

  2. I myself type like I talk . One does not end a verbal sentience by saying the word period ,unless one is talking about her Period ? Typo's ,and punctuations mistakes make things harder to read yes,but as long as I am able to get the jist of the commenter s thoughts all's good. People who constantly correct, or comment on other peoples grammar more than likely spend a lot of time in men's rooms correcting the spelling on the walls. Spelling & Grammar NAZIS ?

  3. So… SBJ… are you religious? To avoid inevitable sidestepping… are you spiritual?

    • Kera I am not Spiritual . What ever that means ? And, really what does that mean? Spiritual ? I hate it when people say " I'm not Religious ,but I'm spiritual ". That's retarded . It's like saying I'm a vegetarian so I'll have the Chicken!

  4. One of the first things I noticed in this article was a typo/grammatical error.

  5. Did they seriously misspell the work "the" in the caption on the graph, or were they messing with us? Teach "teh" controversy.

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