The Everlasting Conflict: Evolution-and-Science versus Religiosity (pp. 73-98)
Authors: (Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C, Avelina Espinosa, Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA, and others)
Abstract: In this chapter, we examine theoretically and quantitatively the relationship science-and-evolution awareness versus religiosity. For this, we use a Cartesian landscape where the dependent variable acceptance of evolution is plotted as function of three factors: religiosity or an individual’s personal belief-convictions, level of understanding the essence of science, and familiarity with the concept of evolution. We contrast acceptance of evolution among five United States (US) and international populations, including: university professors in various disciplines, an equally highly trained group of specialized protisto-biologists, atheists, educators of prospective teachers, and college students (Grand Total N = 1,665 participants in scientific online polling). We discuss evidence in support of the hypothesis that the controversy over evolution-and-science versus religiosity is inherent to the incompatibility between scientific rationalism/empiricism and the belief in supernatural causation. We report that the levels of understanding of science and evolution by the faculty, protisto-biologists, educators, and students decreased with increasing religiosity (= negative association of variables), and that the levels of understanding evolution increased with increasing understanding of science (= positive association of variables). Interestingly, the atheists, who had wide range of educational attainment and zero religiosity, had comparable levels of understanding the foundations of science and evolution to the highly educated faculty and protisto-biologists. The educators and students were the least knowledgeable about science/evolution and the most religious. After comparing our findings with the patterns of acceptance of evolution in the US and the world –and in the context of religiosity— we conclude that if science and religion co-persist in the future, the relationship between them will fluctuate between moderate and intense antagonism.
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