American Sociological Association

Religion among Scientists in International Context: A New Study of Scientists in Eight Regions

Scientists have long been associated with religion’s decline around the world. But little data permit analysis of the religiosity of scientists or their perceptions of the science-faith interface. Here we present the first ever survey data from biologists and physicists in eight regions around the world—France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, countries and regions selected because they exhibit differing degrees of religiosity, varying levels of scientific infrastructure, and unique relationships between religious and state institutions (N = 9,422). The data collection includes biologists and physicists at all career stages from elite and non-elite universities and research institutes. We uncovered that in most of the national contexts studied, scientists are indeed more secular—in terms of beliefs and practices—than those in their respective general populations, although in four of the regional contexts, over half of scientists see themselves as religious. And surprisingly, scientists do not think science is in conflict with religion. Instead, most see religion and science as operating in separate spheres.Article


Elaine Howard Ecklund, David R. Johnson, Christopher P. Scheitle, Kirstin R. W. Matthews, Steven W. Lewis





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