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Where Darwin Meets the BibleCreationists and Evolutionists in America$

Larry A. Witham

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150452

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195150457.001.0001

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(p.271) Appendix

(p.271) Appendix

Source:
Where Darwin Meets the Bible
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Table 1. James H. Leuba's Survey Questions on God and Immortality1

A. Concerning the Belief in God

I believe in a God in intellectual and affective communication with mankind, i.e., a God to whom one may pray in expectation of receiving an answer. By “answer” I do not mean the subjective, psychological effect of prayer.

B. Concerning the Belief in Personal Immortality

I believe in immortality for all people . . . [or in] conditional immortality.

(1.) Possible responses were belief, disbelief, or agnostic (doubt). The survey had secondary questions, such as desire for immortality, but these two questions were the core. “Mankind” was changed to “humankind” in repeat surveys in 1996 and 1998.

The questions, used by James H. Leuba in 1914 and 1933 surveys, were first published in Leuba, The Belief in God and Immortality: A Psychological, Anthropological and Statistical Study (Boston: Sherman, French, 1916), 224–25.

(p.272)

Table 2. Natural Scientists on God (A) and Immortality (B)1

A. Belief Disbelief Agnostic

B. Belief Disbelief Agnostic

RANKING SCIENTISTS2

19143

Total

41.8

41.5

16.7

50.6

20+/−

27+/−

Biologists

30.5

37

Physicists

43.9

50.7

1996

Total

39.6

45.5

14.9

38

46.9

15

Biologists

42.5

43.5

14

40.5

44.5

14.9

Physicists/Astronomers

29.1

53.9

17

29.7

53.1

17

Mathematicians

43.6

41.6

14.8

40.93

45.6

13.4

GREATER SCIENTISTS

1914

Total

27.7

52.7

20.9

35.2

25.4

43.7

1933

Total

15

68

17

18

53

29

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

1998

Total

7.1

72.7

20.2

7.9

72.7

19.4

Biologists

5.5

65.3

29.1

7

68.5

23.6

Physicists/Astronomers

7.47

80.3

12.1

7.47

78.5

14

Mathematicians

14.3

71.4

14.2

15

65.9

19

(1.) See Leuba's two questions in Table 1. In 1914 and 1933, Leuba surveyed a random sample of 1,000 biological and physical scientists from American Men of Science (AMS) with response rates, respectively, of 70% and 75%. In 1996, Larson and Witham repeated Leuba's survey with a random sample of 1,000 biologists (50%), physicists (25%), and astronomers/mathematicians (25%) from the 1995 edition of American Men and Women of Science (AMWS). In 1998, to compare today's top natural scientists with Leuba's “greater scientists,” Larson and Witham surveyed 511 biologists, physicists, astronomers, and mathematicians in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in biological and physical sciences. The survey responses were 60% for 1996 and 50% for 1998.

(2.) A “ranking scientist” is the author's term for those qualified to be listed in AMS, used by Leuba for his 1914 and 1933 surveys, and in AMWS, used by Larson and Witham in the 1996 survey. A “greater scientist” is Leuba's term for those judged eminent and given a star by their name in the AMS, which ended the starring practice in 1941. In this comparison, NAS members are considered “greater scientists.”

(3.) Leuba did not report all his findings, so there are gaps, and in one case his responses are more than 100%.

The 1914 and 1933 surveys were conducted by James Leuba and reported in Leuba, The Belief in God and Immortality: A Psychological, Anthropological and Statistical Study (Boston: Sherman, French, 1916); Leuba, “Religious Beliefs of American Scientists,”Harper's, August 1934, 291–300. The 1996 and 1998 surveys were conducted by Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham and reported in Larson and Witham, “Scientists Are Still Keeping the Faith,”Nature, April 3, 1997, 435–36; Larson and Witham, “Leading Scientists Still Reject God,”Nature, July 23, 1998, 313. (p.273)

(p.274)

Table 3. Scientists and Citizens on Evolution‐Creation1

1. Man developed over millions of years from less developed forms of life. God had no part in this process.

Scientists: 55%

Public: 10%

2. Man developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including mankind's creation.

Scientists: 40%

Public: 39%

3. God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.

Scientists: 5%

Public: 44%

(1.) In the 1997 public poll, 7% had no opinion. The scientist response comes from a 1996 survey of a random sample of 1,000 biologists (50%), physicists/astronomers (25%), and mathematicians (25%) listed in the 1995 edition of American Men and Women of Science. The response was 60%.

This Gallup poll question was used in 1982, 1991, 1993, 1997, 1999, and 2001 with roughly the same public response; the public response here is from 1997. The scientist response was first reported in Larry Witham, “Many Scientists See God's Hand in Evolution,”Washington Times, April 11, 1997, A8. For a comparison, that newspaper report used the 1991 poll figures reported in “Many Americans Hold Beliefs in ‘Creationism,’ ”Emerging Trends, January 1992, 2. For an overview of public polling, see Deborah Jordan Brooks, “Substantial Number of Americans Continue to Doubt Evolution as Explanation for Origin of Humans,”Gallup News Service, March 5, 2001, at www.gallup.com/poll/releases/pr010305.asp).

(p.275)

Table 4. Theology Schools and Science in America

ATS Students2

ATS Schools

Protestant

Interdenominational/Nondenominational

Catholic

Q. Which view of natural history and human origins predominates at your theological school? Check the closest one.1

Theistic evolution

24.26

35.2

34.3

17.6

51.2

Progressive creation

14.7

8.8

7.29

8.8

12.8

Young‐earth creation

7.4

7.6

7.29

17.6

0

Mix of theistic evolution and progressive creation

28.1

26.4

23.9

26.4

29

Mix of progressive creation and young‐earth creation

20.2

16.4

20.8

23.5

0

Q. Which seems the most important or appropriate way that theology meets science? Check the closest one to your view.3

Support the biblical account of the human Creation and Fall

14.28

13.4

30.3

2.7

Give overall meaning and purpose of life in a material universe

76.39

77.5

51.5

94.5

Put ethical limits on sciences such as biotechnology

4.34

3.37

9

2.7

Combination/other/no answer

5

5.8

9.2

0

(1.) There was 5.3% no answer, and from 6% to 7% in each tradition could not identify a predominant view. The Eastern Orthodox theology schools chose “Mix of theistic evolution and progressive creation.” Notes clarifying each stance were, in order:“God guides unbroken evolution over millions of years”;“God specially created new levels of life at points over millions of years”; “God created the universe and humans only thousands of years ago”; “millions of years in common”; and “special creation in common.”

(2.) The student number is based on total “head count” enrollment at the responding ATS schools. A larger percentage of students are creationist than schools are creationist because the more conservative theological seminaries have larger enrollments than the more liberal ones.

(3.) This answer is the personal view of the academic dean, but in most cases it may be taken as the emphasis at the institution. Faculty views may vary, and student views would be less developed. In answer to another question, only four in ten of the schools had a course “focused mainly on theology/religion and science.”

The survey, conducted in the spring and summer of 1999, was sent to academic deans at the 237 theological schools affiliated with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). The response was 72% and was representative of all traditions. The results were reported, in part, in Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham, “The God Who Would Intervene,”Christian Century, October 27, 1999, 1026–27. (p.276)

(p.277)

Table 5. Theologians and Scientists

Belief in a God Who Answers Prayers

Belief in Immortality for All or Some

ATS theologians

91.5

81.3

AMWS scientists

39.3

38

NAS scientists

7.1

7.9

This is the author's comparison of responses to Leuba's two questions (see Table 1). Not all theologians could accept Leuba's “interventionist” God, and various theologies deal differently with the afterlife (or lack of it). In the AMWS and NAS survey responses, some scientists suggested Leuba's “personal God” narrowed their option, so they chose disbelief. Some scientists believe in an impersonal God as a cosmic principle or force. See chapter 11. (p.278)