A systematic set of interviews with 48 scientists in Britain concludes that most scientists are critics of Dawkins. Saying,
Critics, who include both religious and nonreligious scientists, argue that Dawkins misrepresents science and scientists and reject his approach to public engagement. Scientists emphasize promotion of science over the scientist, diplomacy over derision, and dialogue over ideological extremism.
I can anecdotally confirm that this sentiment is held by many (most?) of my colleagues here in the United States. Most scientists are not hostile to faith, even if they are not religious. This exemplary tolerance is one reason I can be a public Christian and a scientist at the same time. It also makes me proud to work with AAAS to build bridges to religious communities.
A nonreligious physicist said, “He’s much too strong about the way he denies religion. … As a scientist, you’ve got to be very open, and I’m open to people’s belief in religion. … I don’t think we’re in a position to deny anything unless it’s something which is within the scope of science to deny. … I think as a scientist you should be open to it. … It doesn’t end up encroaching for me because I think there’s quite a space between the two.”
In particular, we can see how the demarcation concerns are used by scientists to make room for faith. This is very much parallel to my efforts to emphasize the limits of scientific inquiry (@Jon_Garvey, you gotta see this).
“Some people like Richard Dawkins,” said a nonreligious professor of biology. “He’s a fundamental atheist. He feels compelled to take the evidence way beyond that which other scientists would regard as possible. … I want [students] to develop [science] in their own lives. And I think it’s necessary to understand what science does address directly.”
Of course, I have been beating this drum for a while. I’m glad to have a more systematic study than my consistent personal experience to point to now.
Curious the forum’s thoughts.