cover image Religion vs. Science: What Religious People Really Think

Religion vs. Science: What Religious People Really Think

Elaine Howard Ecklund and Christopher P. Scheitle. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-19-065062-9

Ecklund and Scheitle spent five years researching what religious believers think about science, and here they present their conclusion that, though there may be more common ground between most religious believers and scientists than they originally thought, hardcore evangelicals are essentially unreachable. Each chapter begins with a common myth about believers that Ecklund and Scheitle seek to debunk (such as “Religious People Are All Young-Earth Creationists”), followed by their findings in the area and the lessons they feel scientists can learn. Readers may be surprised how inconsistent beliefs are across religious traditions and social issues; for instance, evangelical Christians are not necessarily climate change deniers. Ecklund and Scheitle propose a number of approaches to bridging the gap between progressive scientific thinking and traditional faith-based communities, including bringing science into religious communities and emphasizing the essential philosophical similarities between a scientific and a religious approach to, for example, climate change. They also stress the need for more basic dialogue between the two communities. Readers interested in knowing “how the other half thinks” and who enjoy an elegant discussion of statistical data analysis will appreciates this volume. (Dec.)