AAAS Annual Meeting Symposia
Religious Communities, Science, Scientists, and Perceptions: A Comprehensive Survey
Sunday, 16 February 2014: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Regency B (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Many scientific and technological issues are of fervent interest to religious communities. While evolution often takes the spotlight, other issues are at least as provocative in both positive and negative ways, ranging from implications of genetics and neuroscience to advances in technology for aiding the world’s poor. A deeper probe shows that it is actually underlying philosophical concerns of religious citizens and their perceptions of scientists that can lead to responses of either enthusiastic support or rejection of science, in ways that can be sometimes baffling to scientists. To increase understanding of these deeply nuanced perceptions, AAAS and Rice University have conducted a major survey of several religious communities regarding their beliefs about science and their perceptions of scientists. A second survey component investigated the views scientists hold regarding the attitudes of religious people toward science. This symposium features the preliminary findings from 3,000 respondents, including evangelical Christians, mainline Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and a wide swath of scientific professionals. Unifying and polarizing scientific issues, perceptions of motivations, and the influence of authority figures in both religious and scientific communities in shaping attitudes toward each other will be discussed. The survey results serve as a basis for enriched dialogue and informed understanding between scientists and religious communities.
Science, Religion, and Modern Physicists: New Studies
Monday, 17 February 2014: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Columbus AB (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Recent work on the religious lives and beliefs of leading physicists raises interesting questions about the interaction of science and religion in the modern period. How can religious values and attitudes influence the actual practice of science? How do religious beliefs and experiences shape the ways in which scientists interpret science for non-scientific audiences? These questions are addressed in this symposium, which focuses on three influential scientists who regarded themselves as religious and who wrote about science for wider audiences: Arthur Eddington, a Quaker; Arthur Holly Compton, a Presbyterian; and Albert Einstein, a Jew.