Contrary to the popular caricature that many politicians the mainstream media tout about evangelical Christians—likening them to knuckle-dragging, anti-science Neanderthals—a recent study, “Religious Understandings of Science,” found that ~70% of evangelical Christians believe that religion and science are not in conflict with one another. That is, they believe faith and reason are complementary.
The study, conducted by Rice University Professor of Sociology, Elaine Howard Ecklund, focused upon Christian evangelicals because they constitute approximately 26% of the nation’s population and frequently are depicted as the most hostile body of Christians toward science. About this focus, Ecklund stated:
We really wanted to determine if this claimwas based in any truth. Although many politicians and the media at large portray evangelicals as distrustful of science, we found that this is more myth than reality.
The professor’s findings:
- 38% of Americans view religion and science as complementary; 35% of Americans view science and religion as entirely independent.
- 48% of Christian evangelicals view science and religion as complementary; only 21% view them as entirely independent of one another.
- 15% of Americans and 14% of Christian evangelicals agree that modern science does more harm than good.
- 76% of scientists in the general U.S. population identify with a religious tradition.
- Jews (42%), Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus (52% as a group) and the nonreligious (47%) are more interested in new scientific discoveries than evangelicals (22%).
These findings are noteworthy for a couple of reasons.
First: More Christian evangelicals than the population at large believe religion and science are complementary.
Second: The data indicate that fewer Christian evangelicals than the population at large believe religion and science are entirely independent of each other.
Third: It is astounding to learn that 76% of the nation’s scientists identify with a religious tradition and only 24% don’t. If one was to believe media interviews and investigative reports covering matters associated with science, one would mistakenly conclude exactly the opposite was the case.
In sum: The data indicate that the popular caricature touted by politicians and the mainstream media has it backwards. It’s the nation’s population at large that those politicians and the mainstream media should be lampooning, not Christian evangelicals.
But, of course, they can’t do that. Look what happened to Jonathan Gruber. And he was telling the truth!
Or is it that the mainstream media won’t do that? Why so? It’s impossible to assign a motive, but one can surely speculate that doing so furthers a much-cherished agenda: To drive from the public sphere all religious talk and especially the critique faith has to offer as a remedy from a science that is practiced devoid of religion.
Thank goodness, it appears 75% of scientists won’t or don’t do that…despite what the politicians and mainstream media would have people think to the contray.
To read Professor Ecklund’s study, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link: