New comic on science and religion

© SRES and Jordan Collver, 2018
We are thrilled to be launching a new comic about science and religion, based on our research: My Evolution: living along the spectrum of science and religion by the illustrator and science communicator Jordan Collver. 

The comic is the result of Jordan’s own personal exploration and reflection on our research as part of his Media Fellowship, here at Newman University in 2017. Scroll down to read the comic in full; we’re excited to know what you think, so please do leave us a comment below, and if you enjoyed reading it, share it among your friends. 

Continue reading New comic on science and religion

How should we respond to prejudices about belief?

Reflections on Islamophobia: Still a Challenge for Us All

The publication of The Runnymede Trust’s report Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All in 1997 was a watershed moment in the history of recognising and opposing anti-Muslim prejudice. The first British policy report to focus on the problem of Islamophobia, it is often credited with popularising the term. Last week an updated report, Islamophobia: Still a Challenge for Us All, was released to mark its twentieth anniversary. In this post, Stephen H. Jones offers reflections on the new report’s understanding of Islamophobia utilising research for Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum on non-Muslims’ perceptions of Islam and science. Continue reading How should we respond to prejudices about belief?

PRESS RELEASE: results of major new survey on evolution

 

NEW EVOLUTION SURVEY SHOWS THAT WHILST THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN UK AND CANADA ACCEPT EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCE, NON-RELIGIOUS AND ATHEIST INDIVIDUALS SHOW SIMILAR DOUBTS ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF HUMANS AND HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS AS RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL INDIVIDUALS.

Brighton, 5th September 2017 A Newman University/YouGov survey examining public perceptions and attitudes towards evolution has found that while there is a broad consensus of acceptance towards evolutionary science in both countries, surprisingly, non-religious and specifically atheist publics show similar trends to religious and spiritual publics when it comes to expressing doubts about evolutionary science based explanations for human origins and the development of human consciousness. Continue reading PRESS RELEASE: results of major new survey on evolution

One Nation, United? Science, Religion, and American Public Opinion

Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain
By Shiri Noy and Timothy L. O’Brien

Debates about science and religion—whether they conflict and how they factor into public opinion, policies, and politics—are of longstanding interest to social scientists. Research in this area often examines how those in elite positions use science and religion to justify competing claims. But, more generally how do members of the public incorporate science and religion into their worldviews? Continue reading One Nation, United? Science, Religion, and American Public Opinion

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

Fake news, media framing, and the case of Pope Francis’ ‘shocking’ comments on evolution

If you can believe what you read, “FAKE NEWS” is everywhere these days. Shot onto the media scene like a lexical gag, the phrase was fired from the mouth of President Donald J. Trump as he confronted CNN reporter Jim Acosta during the then president-elect’s first press conference. Although the words are much older, Trump has certainly made the capitalisation his own. “FAKE NEWS!” The phrase itself comes stinking of Orwell’s ink, and when levelled it splits the media between those who goodthink and crimethink—between those who carry the party line, and those who don’t. However, this post isn’t concerned with presidential duckspeak, but rather the shape of the messages themselves—fake or not—which we receive via the media. Continue reading Fake news, media framing, and the case of Pope Francis’ ‘shocking’ comments on evolution

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

Persuasion in the Evolution Wars

Wikimedia Commons
By Tom Aechtner

I would like to think that I’m a rational person; an individual who logically considers my actions and attitudes.  For instance, it’s my hope that when faced with an advertising campaign I would thoroughly study every claim an advert might make, rather than being affected by flashy images or persuasive rhetoric.  My guess is that I’m not alone in thinking this about myself.

Many of us perceive ourselves to be sensible people who are not easily swayed by the guiles of persuasive techniques, such as those found in advertising pitches or political speeches.  The problem, however, is that decades of persuasion research has revealed we usually don’t have the ability or the motivation to diligently evaluate the many persuasive messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Continue reading Persuasion in the Evolution Wars

‘Most people don’t have the time to be concerned with systems of ideas, because they have day jobs’

Chris Nurse, Wellcome Images Artwork - skulls with crucifixion scene. Collection: Wellcome Images Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0

John H. Evans offers a sociologists’ view on science and religion debates

John H Evans is the author of Playing God? Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate  and Contested Reproduction: Genetic Technologies, Religion and Public Debate. Here, he talks to Tom Kaden, one of the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum team about sociology and debates about science and religion.

Tom Kaden: So welcome, John Evans, to this talk. Could you first of all please say a little about who you are and your general areas of study?

John H. Evans: My name is John Evans. I’m a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. I was trained as what’s called a sociologist of religion. The basic difference between a sociologist of religion and, for example, a theologian, is a theologian makes arguments based upon faith presuppositions, like the bible was influenced by God or something like that. A sociologist of religion makes claims about religious people, religious institutions, using secular forms of argument, mostly through social science. Continue reading ‘Most people don’t have the time to be concerned with systems of ideas, because they have day jobs’