Our project seeks to build an understanding of the social and cultural contexts of public perceptions of the relationship between ‘science’ and ‘religion’ across all faiths and none.
Surprisingly, although the relationship between ‘science’ and ‘religion’ is often talked about in the media, by public intellectuals, and in public space, very little research has been done that explores what people actually think about their own or others’ views on the relationship between science and religion, or by extension rationality, reason, and faith.
Our project will explore in an open-minded way questions relating to:
- The way in which evolutionary science has been viewed both historically over the past 150 years and up to the present day.
- Why people might take an anti-evolutionist stance, and what might drive this either culturally or socially.
- The real nature of different cultural or religious positions on evolutionary science.
- Whether the perception of a link between atheism and evolutionary science is damaging to communicating biological sciences.
- How representations of a conflict between science and religion in public space discourse relate to individuals’ day-to-day experience of the relationship between their own belief and acceptance of evolutionary theory.
- How people of all faiths and backgrounds’ day-to-day experiences relate to representations of ‘religiosity’ and ‘rationality’ in public space discourse.
This innovative and unique research project will employ four intersecting approaches: social science field research; oral history, historical and media analysis; experimental social psychology; and a large-scale survey of public perceptions, attitudes and identity formation in the UK and Canada.
The researchers involved in the project are based at Newman University, York University, the University of Kent, and the British Library. For further information please go to the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum project webpage.