Are high levels of religiosity inconsistent with a high valuation of science? Evidence from the United States, China and Iran

Kathleen Corriveau, Paul L. Harris, Jennifer M. Clegg, Kelly Yixin Cui, Telli Davoodi, Ayse Payir
Published Online:
03 Jul 2020

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We asked whether high levels of religiosity are inconsistent with a high valuation of science. We explored this possibility in three countries that diverge markedly in the relation between the state and religion. Parents in the United States (n = 126), China (n = 234) and Iran (n = 77) completed a survey about their personal and parental stance towards science. The relation between religiosity and the valuation of science varied sharply by country. In the U.S. sample, greater religiosity was associated with a lower valuation of science. A similar but weaker negative relation was found in the Chinese sample. Parents in the Iranian sample, by contrast, valued science highly, despite high levels of religiosity. Given the small size of our United States and Iranian samples, and the non‐probabilistic nature of our samples in general, we caution readers not to generalise our findings beyond the current samples. Despite this caveat, these findings qualify the assumption that religiosity is inconsistent with the valuation of science and highlight the role of sociocultural context in shaping adults' perception of the relation between religion and science.

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