Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Professors and Religion

From the NY Sun (link):

Contrary to popular opinion, the majority of professors — even at elite schools — are religious believers, a new study shows...

Mr. Gross said the study shows that professors who are more oriented toward research tend to be less religious. "At elite doctoral-granting universities, nearly all professors are oriented first and foremost toward research," he said via e-mail. He said also the study showed that professors whose parents completed college tend to be somewhat less religious.

Mr. Gross said the only consistent disciplinary predictor of being less religious was being a social scientist. Mr. Gross said some sociologists have hypothesized that social scientists are less religious than other professors because they are more inclined to think of religion as a social phenomenon to be explained. Others believe, he said, that it is because social scientists want to establish themselves as "scientists" and therefore distance themselves from anything appearing unscientific.

In general, professors in applied fields tend to be more religious and answer most like members of the general population in terms of their social and political attitudes and characteristics, he said.

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