Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Education Means Less Religion

At least that's how I see this statement, from an article at the NY Sun:

Overall, American professors are less religious than the general public....

The whole article makes interesting reading. I'll pull out a few points.

A professor of religion at Barnard College, Randall Balmer, said the study helps to refute the notion that academics are almost universally atheist or agnostic.

Only religious people think that academics are non-believers. Claiming a religion does not mean that they are going to come to the same conclusions. They can still come up with conclusions that would baffle anyone, including other types of religions.

Accounting professors are the most religious among the top 20 bachelor's degree-granting disciplines, with 63% saying they believe in God.

A research scholar at New York University's Center for Religion and Media, Jeff Sharlet, ..... About accountants being so religious, Mr. Sharlet quipped, "The god is in the details."

Comical. I don't think that calculating taxes down to thousandths of a dollar were the type of details Ludwig Mies van der Rohe meant.

The new research shows that mechanical engineers are those whom one is least likely to be seated next to at a church, mosque, or synagogue. Nearly 71% attended religious services once or twice a year or less.

Hurray for the sensibility of my degree!

Mr. Balmer said he was surprised that biologists were among the disciplines
that were most atheist and agnostic. Between 20% and 30% of professors overall
termed themselves atheists or agnostics.

It comes as a surprise to him, but I found it meaningful. Those who are down in the trenches with the chemical processes of life itself understand how organisms work. Perhaps they are less likely to need to rely on a magical explanation for the living things around us (including us).

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