Monday, September 05, 2011

Religion and interest in a career in science

Does growing up in a religiously affiliated home discourage going into a scientific field?

Using GSS data, I divided respondents into natural scientists and everyone else. I then divided people into those who had a religion at age 16 versus those with no religion. To control for IQ, I limited the sample to people who scored between 7 and 10 out of 10 on a vocabulary test (sample size = 6,479). .6 percent of those from homes with no religion became scientists. By contrast, 1.4 percent of people from families with a religion grew up to become natural scientists.

The GSS offers no evidence that religion discourages an interest in a career in science.

1 comment:

  1. One has to remember that modern European science and philosophy were more or less invented by the Catholic Church, as was the Renaissance. Also many of the key figures of science and mathematics (e.g., Newton, a committed Protestant) were believers. So, there is obviously no intellectual barrier between religious belief and science.

    Modern Islam is another matter.


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