Book review: Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Elaine Howard Ecklund.
Price: US$19.72; NZ$59.97
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (May 6, 2010)
This book reports on the recent Religion among Academic Scientists study in the US. A research project identifying the range of views on religion held by US scientists, and determining the statistical distribution of different beliefs among US scientists.
Elaine Howard Ecklund gives an overview of the research and the questionnaire it used. She also includes data from other studies. Data collection was funded primarily by the Templeton Foundation (the major grant was US$283,549) Participants were randomly selected from seven natural and social science disciplines at 21 US universities (I think the way such studies often neglect the non-university scientific institutions is rather short-sighted). The questions used related to religion, spirituality and ethics.
While the data and interviews of this study are interesting and useful I don’t think they necessarily support the author’s conclusions. I explain why below
Ecklund is a sociologist and currently the director of The Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University.