“Most scientists are atheists!” A reply

by James Bishop

Whereas studies have suggested that disbelief among scientists is higher than that of the general population there is still a large portion of scientists who believe in God, or in some form of transcendent being.

In one study in 1969 the Carnegie Commission National Survey of Higher Education: Faculty Study data suggested that approximately 35% of scientists did not believe in the existence of God.

In another major study Elaine Ecklund and Christopher Scheitle questioned 2198 faculty members from a variety of academic disciples – these included that of physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, economics, political science, and psychology from 21 elite American research universities (Religion among Academic Scientists: Distinctions, Disciplines, and Demographics). Overall, 75% of professors contacted by the pair of researchers completed the survey, and it was found that among the different disciplines, disbelief in the existence of God was not correlated with any particular area of expertise. The study suggested the following (the percentages represent atheist numbers):

  • Physics: 40.8%
  • Chemistry: 26.6%
  • Biology: 41%

Total = 37.6%

  • Sociology: 34%
  • Economics: 31.7%
  • Political science: 27%
  • Psychology: 33%

Total = 31.2%

What this illustrates is that no particular field is associated with a disbelief in God’s existence. However, there are several other factors that do play a role in disbelief, for example…

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“Most scientists are atheists!” A reply. | Historical Jesus studies.