Monday, July 9, 2012

Religion among professors

College professors are, on average, somewhat less religious than the general public, but it is not at all clear that this reflects a fundamental tension between faith and science. Irreligion is most pronounced in the humanities and the social sciences; faculty in the physical sciences and professional fields are much more likely to attend church, profess faith, and approve of religion (Robert Wuthnow 1985). It is, in fact, only within the social sciences most committed to the secularization thesis (psychology, anthropology, and, to a lesser extent, sociology) that one finds high levels of antireligious sentiment (Stark, Iannaccone, and Finke 1996). Among leading physicists, chemists, and biologists, belief in a god who answers prayer is as widespread today as it was in 1916 (Edward Larson and Larry Witham 1997).
--Laurence Iannaccone, "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," on the correlation between scientific discipline and religious belief