So how religious are scientists in the UK compared to those in the US? I would have thought “a lot less”. A recent study by R.. Elisabeth. Cornwell and Michael Stirrat (@Exp_Behaviour, paper reference) shows that’s close to being the case, but the differences are small. Michael Stirrat is a research fellow in psychology at the University of Stirling, while Elisabeth Cornwell is the director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation.
The link below (which used to give the entire dataset and some analysis) now has only the abstract, but I have permission to reproduce the original data, some of which I think has already been published in Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion.
Cornwell and Stirrat inquired about religious beliefs of every member of the Royal Society of London having an active email address. That is the UK equivalent of the National Academy of Sciences, as it includes distinguished scientists throughout the United Kingdom. Requests were sent to 1074 members, who were asked to fill out an online survey. 253 of them responded (10 females, 243 males, which is proportional, sadly, to the gender ratio of members). About half the responses came from physical sciences (including physics, astronomy chemistry, computer science, and math) and the other half from biology (including medicine).
The four queries were these (taken from the survey); members had to agree of disagree with each of the statements below:
- I believe that there is a strong likelihood that a supernatural being such as God exists or has existed.
- I believe in a personal God, that is one who takes interests in individuals, hears and answers prayers, is concerned with sin and transgressions, and passes judgement.
- I believe that science and religion occupy non-overlapping domains of discourse and can peacefully co-exist. (NOMA)
- I believe that when we physically die, our subjective consciousness, or some part of it, survives.
Written By: Jerry Coynecontinue to source article at whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com