A NEW US survey has found that scientists and the general public are surprisingly similar in their religious practices.
The study, “Religious Understandings of Science,” was conducted by sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund and presented in Chicago during the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference. It is the largest study of American views on religion and science to be conducted, according to the authors. It involved a nationally representative sample of more than 10,000 Americans
The study found that 18 percent of scientists attended weekly religious services, compared with 20 percent of the general U.S. population. Of them, 15 percent consider themselves very religious, compared to 19 percent of the general U.S. population. Meanwhile, 13.5 percent of them read religious texts weekly, compared to 17 percent of the U.S. population. And 19 percent pray several times a day, compared to 26 percent of the U.S. population. Nearly 36 percent of scientists surveyed have no doubt about God’s existence.
Ecklund told a conference that religious scientists rarely went public about their faith. At work, they feared a negative reaction from their colleagues. A church, they feared a negative reaction from fellow believers.