Elaine Howard Ecklund looks at what religious groups think about science

In her book Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund shared the findings of her first science and religion study, in which she looked at how scientists approach religion and spirituality. Now, she’s released findings from her next study, which explores how individuals from different religious groups perceive and understand science, with a focus on evangelicals. The “Religious Understandings of Science” study is a nationally representative survey of more than 10,000 Americans, and the research was conducted in cooperation with the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion, which plans to use the findings in its outreach efforts.

Among the major results of the new study presented at the 2015 AAAS conference this week:

  • 38 percent of Americans view science and religion as complementary, and 35 percent view science and religion as entirely independent
  • Nearly 70 percent of evangelical Christians do not see science and religion as being in conflict with one another (48 percent support that idea that science and religion can work in collaboration, while 21 percent see science and religion as entirely independent)
  • Close to 30 percent of evangelicals see a conflict between science and religion, and see themselves on the side of religion
  • Evangelical Christians are less interested in new scientific discoveries than Jews, adherents of non-Western religions, and the nonreligious are
  • Almost 60 percent of evangelicals believe “scientists should be open to considering miracles in their theories or explanations”
  • Only 15 percent of Americans overall and 14 percent of evangelicals believe modern science does more harm than good.

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