There has been a long conflict between science and religion as many assumed that the two are conflicting bodies of knowledge. The clash naturally occurs in our minds as we view religion and science.
A recent study, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, suggests this phenomenon may be unique to the United States. The researchers examined data from 11 studies and surveyed approximately 70,000 people across 60 countries.
“One of my main areas of research is trying to improve trust in science and finding ways to better communicate science,” said Jonathan McPhetres, an assistant professor of psychology at Durham University. “In order to do so, we must begin to understand who is more likely to be skeptical towards science (and why).”
Nine initial studies involved 2,160 Americans, who scored higher in religiosity, showing negative implicit and explicit attitudes about science. The same group of people with high religiosity showed less interest in science-related topics and activities.
Furthermore, the researchers analyzed data from the World Values Survey (WEVs). This study involves 66,438 participants from 60 different countries. The result revealed a negative correlation between religiosity and science views. However, those correlations were much smaller than in the U.S.
Lastly, the research involved 1,048 participants from five understudied countries: Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. The analysis of these five countries shows that religious belief is positively associated with science attitudes.
Overall, the findings from 11 different studies conclude that “science and religion are not necessarily in conflict.”
“There are many barriers to science that need not exist. If we are to make our world a better place, we need to understand why some people may reject science and scientists so that we can overcome that skepticism. Everyone can contribute to this goal by talking about science and sharing cool scientific discoveries and information with people every chance you get,” McPhetres said.