Religion Today Friday, February 21, 2014
At the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held this year on February 16th, Sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund reported that 17% of scientists polled in a recent survey describe themselves as evangelical. Christianity Today reports that Ecklund (and other colleagues at Rice University) polled over 10,000 people, 574 of which identified themselves as scientists. This project (like her 2010 book Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Believe) was spurred by the pervasive assumption of many evangelicals that science is the enemy of religion, Ecklund explains.
Another interesting facet the survey unearthed is that, according to the sampled demographic, evangelical scientists are more likely to attend church, read religious texts, and consider themselves “very religious” than their non-scientist evangelical counterparts. These findings give hope for many who wish to see more productive dialogued fostered between scientists and evangelicals, and even amongst evangelics. According to Galen Carey, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, "Sometimes we attack each other more viciously than even people from the outside." It is Carey’s wish that evangelicals and scientists pursue common ground, such as funding for science and the wish for a clean environment, rather than name-calling and attacking over controversial matters of disagreement.
Jennifer Wiseman (also of the AAAS) believes the survey results are a good first step toward communication and collaboration between the evangelical and scientific communities.
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