The question about why more intelligent people tend to be atheistic dates back to the times of Romans and Ancient Greeks. The link between intelligence and religion can be explained if religion is considered an instinct, and intelligence the ability to rise above one's instincts.
"If religion is an evolved domain then it is an instinct, and intelligence -- in rationally solving problems -- can be understood as involving overcoming instinct and being intellectually curious and thus open to non-instinctive possibilities," explains Dutton.
"If religion is indeed an evolved domain -- an instinct -- then it will become heightened at times of stress, when people are inclined to act instinctively, and there is clear evidence for this," says Dutton. "It also means that intelligence allows us to able to pause and reason through the situation and the possible consequences of our actions."
The researchers believe that people who are attracted to the non-instinctive are potentially better problem solvers. "This is important, because in a changing ecology, the ability to solve problems will become associated with rising above our instincts, rendering us attracted to evolutionary mismatches," adds van der Linden.
An instinctive inclination towards religion, doesn't rule out a philosophical path towards religion as well. A redctuionist approach to understanding reality leads to a foundation that cannot itself be proven, and to concepts that cannot be further divided into more fundamental concepts. Our very grip on reality depends on the induction principle, which cannot itself be deduced from anything, or experimentally tested. We have a strong sense of having free will, which some dismiss as an illusion, simply because there exists no scientific explaination for it. -Which is to deny the existence of what one continuously experiences introspectively. There is something beyond the reductionist approach, and it is in this shadow land of the human mind that intuition based faith plays a role.