Announcing my Next Point of Inquiry Guest: Elaine Ecklund
Posted: 01 May 2010 09:03 AM   [ Ignore ]
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For my next show, I’m going to be interviewing Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund about her new book, Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think. After merely mentioning this book’s existence drew over 180 comments on my blog recently, I get the feeling that really digesting Ecklund’s findings will make for quite a show. See:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/04/13/are-top-scientists-really-so-atheistic-look-at-the-data/

It is worth noting that this will be the first time a Point of Inquiry show that I’ve done has gotten into the hotly contested subject of science and religion. My own views on this topic are widely known, have been widely aired and debated, and also sometimes criticized. See, e.g., my episode with D.J. about my last book, Unscientific America:

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/chris_mooney_unscientific_america/

In that show I was the guest; but now I’m in the host’s shoes, and my goals and responsibilities are very different at Point of Inquiry. Rather than advancing a particular view, my objective will be to include a diversity of voices on science and religion—starting with Ecklund, but extending to include a range of perspectives as I do more shows in the future. That includes interviewing “New Atheists” like Vic Stenger and others.

With that said, then, I’m encouraging folks to submit questions for Dr. Ecklund. I’m interviewing her on Monday, so you have about 48 hours to get them in if you want them to be considered…..

[ Edited: 07 May 2010 12:29 PM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 01 May 2010 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Here’s a question:

Given this quote from the discovermagazine blog article:

Nearly 50 percent of them are religious.

What does “religious” mean?  What were the survey questions?

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Posted: 02 May 2010 03:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The book sounds interesting and I’m looking forward to the interview.

Do the results “triangulate” with other published results—can the interview summarize how the interviewing/surveying was done.

Does Ecklund think other surveys showing a decline in “religiousness” agree with hers? i.e. Pew surveys etc.
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/7604/
As someone already suggested, there is a big spectrum between believing in the literal truth of the entire Bible and being
a “metaphorical” Christian in the sense of John Shelby Spong—yet they all might check “religious”....

A more engaging question—if someone else were going to do a similar survey in 10 or 20 years, would she have any
suggestions—what would she do differently.


Other WWW links for reference
Ecklund piece in Newsweek:
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/04/scientists_in_the_pews.html
misc. blogs:
http://yourenothelping.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/a-little-bit-more-on-religious-scientists/

[ Edited: 02 May 2010 06:48 AM by Jackson ]
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Posted: 02 May 2010 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks, folks. My questions will definitely get to these more detailed aspects of the study and make sure that they are clear.

chris

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Posted: 02 May 2010 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wow, this will no doubt prompt responses for other well known blogs wink

Anyhoo, question:

Given the percentage of “religious” or “spiritual” scientists might be higher than thought otherwise, do we see this as an example of even the “smartest/most informed” people being able to protect long held values via cognitive dissonance? If the data contradicts the notion there is a caring, interventionist God conflict how is that dilemma overcome?

[edited for greater clarity]

[ Edited: 03 May 2010 10:40 PM by Mike from Oz ]
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Posted: 03 May 2010 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Another good question. In Ecklund’s book, it’s clear that the atheist scientists surveyed (to whom she devotes a chapter) do indeed view those holding different views, and reconciling science and religion in some way, as living with a kind of intellectual schizophrenia or cognitive dissonance.

Another question that I’m definitely going to ask—why are Ecklund’s results so different from those of Larson and Wittham in 1998?

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/05/03/ecklund-vs-larson-witham-on-religion-among-elite-scientists/

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Posted: 07 May 2010 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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OK, now that the “official” thread is up HERE, this one’s closed. Please direct comments and questions to the other thread.

Thanks!

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