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August 13, 2005

Natural scientists are less likely to believe in God than are social scientists (But more believe than don't)

Topics: Faith

As is usually the case, when it comes to matters relating to faith, media and academics much prefer emphasizing negative rather than positive data. And so it is with this article in PhysOrg.com by Rice University, with even the title of the article, "Natural scientists are less likely to believe in God than are social scientists," being somewhat misleading.

(...)Scientists in the social sciences are more likely to believe in God and attend religious services than are scientists in the natural sciences, according to a survey of 1,646 faculty members at elite research universities by a Rice University sociologist.

(...) Nearly 38 percent of natural scientists surveyed said they did not believe in God, but only 31 percent of the social scientists gave that response.

(...) Among each of the two general groups, one discipline stood out: Forty-one percent of the biologists and 27 percent of the political scientists said they don't believe in God.

In other words, the real news is that 62 percent of "elite" natural scientists believe in God, and 69 percent of "elite" social scientists believe in God. Further, 59 percent of biologists and 73 percent of political scientists, believe in God. But of course if the title and the academic slant of the report hadn't stressed the minority of scientists that do not believe in God (they must have never spent any time in a foxhole or it's equivalent or they spend way too much of their time with their heads in the clouds), the authors would have had no interest in writing the article in the first place.

I know, you want to know the definition of an "elite" scientist. An "elite" scientist is an academic scientist that is way more important than the rest of us on the planet, and is one who spends most of his or her time pontificating matters that the rest of us consider common sense. Hence, most of us, and even most of the "elite scientists," believe in God.

Posted by Richard at August 13, 2005 2:19 PM



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