A new paper by Timothy O’Brien and Shiri Noy in American Sociological Review (free download; reference at bottom), which has gotten a lot of attention from the media, shows that Americans are, by and large, friendly to science—but that the friendship stops when the science conflicts with people’s faith.
I’m not sure why this paper got so much press, unless people like the new trichotomy it proposes about American attitudes, as well as its trendy neologism of a “post-secular perspective”. For the results pretty much confirm what we all know: most Americans are religious, many of those religious people do accept science, but those who reject science often do so only when the science conflicts with their religion. To the authors of this survey, that means the Big Bang and evolution.
The authors analyzed already-existing data from the General Social Survey, a poll of Americans’ views taken every two years. Besides polling…
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