Religion and Spirituality Among Scientists
Scientists are assumed to attack the religious aspects of today’s biggest social issues because they are atheists and anti-religion. But we really know very little about what elite university scientists as a whole—what some would call the most influential sphere of science—think about matters of faith.
The study of Religion among Academic Scientists (RAAS) closes this gap in understanding. During 2005 and 2006 it examined the religious and spiritual beliefs and practices of natural and social scientists at 21 of the most influential research universities in the United States. Some 1,646 people responded, and revealed they are not as anti-religion as we’re being led to believe.
In fact, a surprising number of believers teach the sciences at the nation’s top academic institutions. While scientists are indeed less religious in a traditional sense than the general public, the majority of scientists are interested in matters of spirituality and a significant minority is religious. Propelled by recent public events, even those who previously had no interest in religion or spirituality are finding it necessary to involve students in discussions about these topics.
Ecklund’s research has recieved a lot of media attention. Here are just a few examples of how her research is making waves:
- Sidelines: Datapoint, in Nature, August 18, 2005
- Most Scientists at Elite Universities Consider Themselves ‘Spiritual,’ Survey Finds, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 31, 2006.
- Ecklund tackles hot-button issues, in University at Buffalo Reporter, November 9, 2006 in University at Buffalo Reporter, November 9, 2006.
- Science Not to Blame for Non-Religious Scientists, on LiveScience, June 29, 2007.
- Study: upbringing why most scientists not religious, xinhuanet.com, July 2, 2007.
- The Clash Between Religion and Science, ABC News, July 3, 2007.
- Scientists May Not Be Very Religious, but Science May Not Be to Blame, in University at Buffalo NewsCenter, February 6, 2008.