Religious Attitudes and Attitudes about Scientific Issues: An Analysis of their Social Context in the United States01/01/2013
The social context of religious knowledge includes many different aspects of an individual’s life, including the external structures, such as class and political environment, which influence social behavior and the social processes, such as attitudes and values, which provide a level of consistency in people’s viewpoints, including the way that they encounter, react to, and attempt to incorporate new knowledge. This study examines the relationships between specific expressed religious views and opinions about specific scientific issues. The data used for the study is based on a representative random sample of Americans in the 2010 General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). The scientific issues examined are: global climate change, evolution, stem cell research, continental drift/age of the earth, the big bang, and nanotechnology. The religious attitudes examined are based on questions about: belief in God, “born again” experience, extent of religious feelings, religious commitment, Bible reading, and whether God should punish sinners. Chi square and correlation statistical tests were used to explore the relationships between the religion and science variables, leading to rejection of the hypothesis that there are no differences in the attitudes of those with positive attitudes about religion and those with little, none or even negative religious attitudes and their attitudes towards the specific scientific issues included in the study. Analysis revealed inverse relationships between strong, positive religious attitudes and strong positive attitudes about current scientific issues.
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