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Natural Awakenings

Survey Says: Most Scientists Don’t See Science and Spirituality at Odds

Dec 31, 2010 02:18AM

Research for a new book, Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, reports that a significant number of scientists from elite universities do not see much of a conflict between their work and their faith. (Those who do see such conflict tend to be atheists or agnostics.) Author Elaine Howard Ecklund, a Rice University sociologist, also learned that the younger scientists, who are the most likely to be religious, feel less of a sense of conflict than their older counterparts.

While believing scientists, who comprised 70 percent of the nearly 1,500 survey participants, may feel beleaguered by their non-believing colleagues, Ecklund found that the strongly anti-religious views found among “new atheists,” such as Oxford University Biologist Richard Dawkins, are in the minority. “What religious scientists fail to realize, however, is that a significant proportion of their colleagues, [even if] not religious themselves, are open to talking and thinking about matters of faith,” she comments.

Scientists who say they are “spiritual, but not religious” range from those who find their secular spirituality in nature or teaching science, to those engaged in such practices as yoga and meditation. Ecklund writes that such spiritual entrepreneurs may help in bridging the perceived gulf between science and religion, because they see their practice of spirituality as flowing into their scientific discipline, yet they tend to avoid politicized science-religion conflicts.


Source: Religion Watch

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