Are You There God? It’s Us, Scientists

The staff at BioLogos has but together a couple of infographics illustrating the various positions taken on science, the Christian faith and evolution. You can find more information about the graphic and the data that went into the graphic here. The original posts at BioLogos encourage people to share the graphics with anyone and everyone, but ask for a link back to site to acknowledge the source of the graphic.

One of the infographics is focused on scientists and the positions taken by scientists (click for a higher resolution view, and an even higher resolution version is available at BioLogos):

Is there anything here you find surprising?

The difference between the views of scientists and the views of the general public is not surprising. There is something of a self-selection at play. The distinction between mainline and evangelical may be somewhat distorted, however. The classification depends on the definitions used. Often devout, relatively conservative Christians will not be classified as evangelical because of a nuanced view of the authority of scripture, and this nuance is not captured well by most surveys. Others will object to classification as evangelical because of the stereotype this label carries.  I consider myself evangelical, but I have filled out a number of these surveys (including the one summarized by Elaine Ecklund in her book Science vs Religion: What Scientists Really Think) and I expect that my answers to some of the questions would have kept me from being classified as evangelical. This doesn’t change much in the trends in the graphic other than, perhaps, moving a few percent from mainline to evangelical.

The small percentage of evangelicals and mainline protestants among scientists is something of a concern, but it is encouraging that the percentage of scientists who believe in God shows a reverse trend with age. More younger scientists find science and faith compatible, and in fact identify as having a belief in God. I expect this reflects a change in American culture and the openness of the church to the compatibility of science with the Christian faith. This is a trend that may bode well for the future.

A snapshot version of the views of Americans in general is available in this graphic (see the original here):

The trends with education level and political view are rather striking. I expect that the trend with education level reflects the influence of education on the understanding that people have of the issues involved in the discussion of creation and evolution. In contrast the correlation with political party probably reflects a secondary correlation. I expect that higher education does cause one to be more accepting of evolution, while being a Republican does not cause one to doubt evolution.

Does anything strike you as surprising or unexpected?

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