Last year, her research showed that more than 75 percent of American scientists are religious.
On March 13 of this year, she presented a new study to the American Association for the Advancement of Science:
Elaine Howard Ecklund, director of Rice University’s Religion and Public Life Program, said 70 percent of self-identified evangelicals “do not view religion and science as being in conflict.”
Her findings, summarized by Religion News Service:
- 48 percent [of evangelicals] view science and religion as complementary. Astrophysicist and evangelical Christian Deborah Haarsma, president of BioLogos, which recognizes “God as Creator of all life over billions of years,” said what she sees in the cosmos is “a scientific description of the universe God created.”
- 21 percent view the two worldviews as entirely independent of one another.
- About 30 percent see these worldviews in opposition.
Overall, 85 percent of Americans and 84 percent of evangelicals say modern science is doing good in the world. The greatest areas of accord were on the pragmatic side of science such as technology and medical discoveries that can alleviate suffering. Here, said Ecklund, most Americans see science and faith collaborating for the common good.
However, Ecklund also noted a finding that may make the evidence-based science world uneasy: 60 percent of evangelicals said scientists “should be open to considering miracles in their theories.”
The same conference also addressed environmentalism and faith, with remarks by Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, and Mitch Hescox, quoted in a story in Scientific American:
“God created a sustainable world … but he also told us to take care of it,” added Hescox, president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network. Hescox said he often quotes Genesis 2:15, where God orders Adam to “care for” the Garden of Eden. If he’s feeling more confrontational, he may point to the Book of Isaiah, which includes the line “the earth is polluted because of its inhabitants, who have transgressed laws [and] violated statutes.”
“Human beings are accountable for how they care about God’s creation. … To not tend to creation, to not steward it as a shepherd, as a renter, a leaser of the land, is definitively unbiblical, untheological,” he said.
Polls frequently show that evangelical Christians, who tend to be politically conservative and more inclined to take a literal view of the Bible, are more skeptical of climate change than members of other religious groups.
Posted by Cara Ellen Modisett
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