Authority, Authenticity, and Belief: British and Canadian life scientists and publics’ narratives of evolution and religion

On Monday 24th April the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society and the team from the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum project hosted a one day symposium in central Birmingham. In this video, project member Dr Tom Kaden presents some of the preliminary findings of the qualitative sociological research being undertaken as part of the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum project.   Continue reading Authority, Authenticity, and Belief: British and Canadian life scientists and publics’ narratives of evolution and religion

Studying Public Perceptions of Evolution and Religion from a Multidisciplinary Perspective

On Monday 24th April the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society and the team from the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum project hosted a one day symposium in central Birmingham. In this video, project Principal Investigator Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker opens the symposium by introducing and contextualising the research being undertaken by the team. Continue reading Studying Public Perceptions of Evolution and Religion from a Multidisciplinary Perspective

Podcast: Science and Religion Live

In partnership with the British Science Association and their regional branches, we recently ran a series of public events about our research and the relationship between science and religion in general.  Do not fear if you were unable to attend one of our events in person, below you can listen to the panel on evolution from our London panel discussion.

The panel includes Professor Steve Fuller (University of Warwick), the Reverend Philippa Turner (Royal Veterinary College), Dr Kris de Meyer (Kings College London), and myself (Dr Alexander Hall). Continue reading Podcast: Science and Religion Live

‘How much faith does it take?’ Arguing for Creationism on Facebook

By Dr Stephen Pihlaja

For the last 10 years, I have been studying interactions between Christians and atheists on YouTube and social media, focusing particularly on how they structure arguments and categories to fit very specific social contexts. One recurring issue in my work, and one that seems particularly prescient as we collectively practice saying the words ‘President Tump’, is how arguments about theology and science are often used to reinforce beliefs which a user’s audience might already hold. They need not be logical or fact-based, but they must appear to be delivered by an ally and broadly comport with a viewer’s own belief system.

One social media user, Joshua Feuerstein, provides a particularly good case study of how this operates. He has over 2 million likes on Facebook and holds a set of intersectional beliefs that are not uncommon—the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, the right to bear arms, a small government, and Donald Trump. His videos are portrait—shot on his phone—and feature two minutes of focused and simple sermons meant to be shared for the encouragement of all.

Continue reading ‘How much faith does it take?’ Arguing for Creationism on Facebook

Lifting the lid on the research process

Reflections on the student partnership programme at Newman University

At the beginning of 2016, the team at the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society (CSKBS) launched their first student partnerships at Newman University. The main aim of the project was to engage the student population in the process of research on two of the Centre’s projects: God’s in Mind and Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum. We hoped to mentor the students as they were introduced to the various stages of the research process, guiding them through the ups and downs of being a researcher. Below is a reflection, by both the students and the team, on the successes and the challenges of the student partnership project. Continue reading Lifting the lid on the research process

What’s the best way to think about creationists?

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What’s the best way for non-creationists to think about creationists?  Some view them, unhelpfully, as inescapably anti-modern, utterly unwilling to face facts.  This unwillingness is often supposed to be linked to religion itself, with religious belief understood as diametrically opposed to the scientific process.  Science, we are told, is about facing facts, being open to correction, being willing to be wrong.  Religion, we are sometimes told, is about none of those things. Continue reading What’s the best way to think about creationists?

Where is the Evidence? Privileging Science over Religion

When I examine comment sections online in response to stories about religion in Canada, remarks almost inevitably spiral into a religion versus science debate. In my book, The Meaning of Sunday: The Practice of Belief in a Secular Age – based on ninety interviews with those in Canada who identify with a Christian group and attend church weekly (active affiliates), those who identify as Christian and attend services mainly for religious holidays or rites of passage (marginal affiliates), and those who do not identify with any religion and never attend religious services (religious nones) – I explore what explains higher and lower levels of religiosity. Continue reading Where is the Evidence? Privileging Science over Religion

A Look at the Professional Creationists and Anti-Creationists

***This post originally appeared on 22 October 2015, on Ted Davis’ blog, Reading the Book of Nature hosted on the BioLogos website***

Evolution and Religion: The Conflict Narrative in Crisis

Recent results of the social scientific research on creationism in the United States raise more questions than they answer, especially with respect to long-held assumptions of what creationism actually is and what motivates people who affirm it. For instance, one of the most frequently-quoted polls on creationism is Gallup’s long-running survey that asks whether people believe that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” The percentage of Americans who answer in the affirmative ranges at around 45%, a number that has proven rather stable over the years. Social science has employed several methods to get beyond the layer of fact-claims established by this kind of polling and laid bare a range of moral and social motives that are at the core of people’s reasons for identifying as creationists. Continue reading A Look at the Professional Creationists and Anti-Creationists

Towards a hung parliament of science and religion: science engagement in a diverse and democratic world

As the UK heads to the polls today, with the seeming inevitability of a hung parliament, we are reminded that simple either/or binary choices are not always reflective of public perceptions, attitudes or interests. The British public is currently filing through the polling stations (or not) in what promises to be one of the most indecisive elections in a generation.

As is often the way with the big questions that matter most – about how we view the world, how we understand society and how we would like the world to be – the choices being made don’t fall into simple black and white (or indeed red and blue) categories. They tend to be more complex, so are more nuanced and varied shades of grey. In a world then that has purportedly moved past ideology and dogmatic or polarized positions, why is it that two significant aspects of our collective way of answering these big questions –  ‘science’ and ‘religion’ – are still represented in a starkly divisive and binary way. ‘Science’ and ‘religion’ are arguably two of the most important frames with which to view our world today and each to a greater or lesser degree plays an integral role in our day-to-day lives. Continue reading Towards a hung parliament of science and religion: science engagement in a diverse and democratic world