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Some atheist scientists with children embrace religious traditions, according to new Rice research
Date:12/1/2011

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.


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

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