Navigation Links
Some atheist scientists with children embrace religious traditions, according to new Rice research

Some atheist scientists with children embrace religious traditions for social and personal reasons, according to research from Rice University and the University at Buffalo -- The State University of New York (SUNY).

The study also found that some atheist scientists want their children to know about different religions so their children can make informed decisions about their own religious preferences.

"Our research shows just how tightly linked religion and family are in U.S. society -- so much so that even some of society's least religious people find religion to be important in their private lives," said Rice sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund, the study's principal investigator and co-author of a paper in the December issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

The researchers found that 17 percent of atheists with children attended a religious service more than once in the past year.

The research was conducted through interviews with a scientifically selected sample of 275 participants pulled from a survey of 2,198 tenured and tenure-track faculty in the natural and social sciences at 21 elite U.S. research universities. Approximately half of the original survey population expressed some form of religious identity, whereas the other half did not.

The individuals surveyed cited personal and social reasons for integrating religion into their lives, including:

  • Scientific identity Study participants wish to expose their children to all sources of knowledge (including religion) and allow them to make their own choices about a religious identity.
  • Spousal influence Study participants are involved in a religious institution because of influence from their spouse or partner.
  • Desire for community Study participants want a sense of moral community and behavior, even if they don't agree with the religious reasoning.

Ecklund said one of the most interesting findings was discovering that not only do some atheist scientists wish to expose their children to religious institutions, but they also cite their scientific identity as reason for doing so.

"We thought that these individuals might be less inclined to introduce their children to religious traditions, but we found the exact opposite to be true," Ecklund said. "They want their children to have choices, and it is more consistent with their science identity to expose their children to all sources of knowledge."

One study participant raised in a strongly Catholic home said he came to believe later that science and religion were not compatible. He said what he wants to pass on to his daughter more than the belief that science and religion are not compatible is the ability to make her own decisions in a thoughtful, intellectual way.

"I don't indoctrinate her that she should believe in God," the study participant said. "I don't indoctrinate her into not believing in God." He said he sees himself as accomplishing this by exposing her to a variety of religious choices, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and others.

Ecklund said the study's findings will help the public better understand the role that religious institutions play in society.

"I think that understanding how nonreligious scientists utilize religion in family life demonstrates the important function they have in the U.S.," she said.

Ecklund is the author of "Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think," published by Oxford University Press last year.


Contact: David Ruth
Rice University

Related biology news :

1. More than 20 percent of atheist scientists are spiritual
2. Scientists use laser imaging to assess safety of zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreen
3. Controlled disorder -- scientists find way to form random molecular patterns
4. Taking the pulse of an iceberg -- scientists simulate laser imaging for NASA missions
5. Addex scientists discover GLP-1 induced interaction between GLP-1 and GIP receptors
6. Hopkins scientists turn on fountain of youth in yeast
7. Scripps Research scientists uncover new role for gene in maintaining steady weight
8. Caltech scientists point to link between missing synapse protein and abnormal behaviors
9. Smithsonian scientists use fossil feathers reveal lineage of extinct, flightless ibis
10. UGA discovery changes how scientists think about plant cell wall formation
11. Iowa State University scientists genetically increase algae biomass by more than 50 percent
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/15/2016)... June 15, 2016 Transparency ... titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis ... 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture recognition ... 2015 and is estimated to grow at a ... by 2024.  Increasing application of gesture ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 The Department of Transport Management ... 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant and ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... 2016  VoiceIt is excited to announce its ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will ... VoicePass take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, ... and usability. ... partnership. "This marketing and technology partnership ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today ... trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The ... ascending dose studies designed to assess the safety, ... injection in healthy adult volunteers. Forty ... a single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Pleasant Prairie, WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, ... ... sciences consultancy focused on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free ... webinar is presented on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: