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More than 20 percent of atheist scientists are spiritual
Date:5/5/2011

n their analysis of the 275 interviews, they discovered that the terms scientists most used to describe religion included "organized, communal, unified and collective." The set of terms used to describe spirituality include "individual, personal and personally constructed." All of the respondents who used collective or individual terms attributed the collective terms to religion and the individual terms to spirituality.

"While the data indicate that spirituality is mainly an individual pursuit for academic scientists, it is not individualistic in the classic sense of making them more focused on themselves," said Ecklund, director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice. "In their sense of things, being spiritual motivates them to provide help for others, and it redirects the ways in which they think about and do their work as scientists."

Ecklund and Long noted that the spiritual scientists saw boundaries between themselves and their nonspiritual colleagues because their spirituality facilitated engagement with the world around them. Such engagement, according to the spiritual scientists, generated a different approach to research and teaching: While nonspiritual colleagues might focus on their own research at the expense of student interaction, spiritual scientists' sense of spiritualty provides nonnegotiable reasons for making sure that they help struggling students succeed.


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Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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