[quote author=“Conservative Atheist”]In September of 1999, Scientific American published a very interesting article entitled “Scientists and Religion in America”, by Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham.
The article describes the results of surveys of scientists conducted by psychologist James H. Leuba in 1914 and 1933 and repeated by the authors in 1996 and 1998. The anonymous surveys contained only two questions which covered “the two central beliefs of the Christian religion”; Do you believe in (1) a God in intellectual and effective communication with man to whom one may pray in expectation of receiving and answer and (2) personal immortality. Only three answers were accepted …..”yes”, “no” and “don’t know”. In each survey, an attempt was made to categorize and/or stratify the scientists in terms of their recognized accomplishments to distinguish “elite” scientists from the others.
Here are the key findings of the surveys:
• In all surveys, the percent of all scientists expressing belief in God remained constant at 40%
• In Leuba’s day, 40% also believed in an afterlife. Today, it is about 50%.
• When the “elite” scientists were surveyed in 1914, only 33% expressed belief in God or an afterlife.
• By 1933 that number had declined to 20%
• Today, only 10% of “elite” scientists are believers.
• The most disbelieving were the “elite” biologists at only 5%
• The most accepting among the “elite” were mathematicians at 17%.
This does seem to require a subscription. Could you elucidate what is meant by “elite”? How is this defined?
I note that in the above stats and in some other things I’ve read about the religious beliefs of scientists indicate that biologists tend to be the least religious. If I remember correctly, chemists and mathematicians are the most religious. Somebody, earlier in this thread, alluded to scientists whose work did not “clash” with religion. It occurs to me that chemists would fit in this category since chemistry doesn’t deal with evolutionary principles (except for biochemistry of course.) I know several computer scientists (mathematicians sort of) who are religious. Wonder if there is more along these lines?