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Social sciences/Psychology/Social psychology/Public opinion

Federal funding for science is facing intense, sustained budget pressure because of the weak economy and historic budget deficits, but the impact could be eased if scientists step up efforts to engage lawmakers and the public on the benefit of investing in research, experts said at AAAS.

Although nearly a quarter of Americans think scientists are hostile to religion and about 30% of scientists surveyed by a Rice University sociologist consider themselves atheists, the true picture of what scientists think about religion and spirituality is more complex than popular conceptions, the sociologist told a recent AAAS gathering.

Although nearly a quarter of Americans think scientists are hostile to religion and about 30% of scientists surveyed by a Rice University sociologist consider themselves atheists, the true picture of what scientists think about religion and spirituality is more complex than popular conceptions, the sociologist told a recent AAAS gathering.

The conventional wisdom holds that the next two years will be hostile for energy initiatives in the U.S. Congress. Some Republicans, newly empowered by the mid-term elections, are talking about conducting investigations into climate change science and, the thinking goes, both parties are likely to be focused on reducing the nation’s historic budget deficit.