For the past three years, the Faraday Institute and Theos have undergone a large-scale research project to find out how people in the UK understand and think about science and religion. They found that the conversation is much deeper and much more interesting than is often portrayed. Nick Spencer, one of the co-authors of the report and Bethany Sollereder, a theologian and one of the interviewees from the report discuss the findings and how to move into the deep end of the science and religion conversation.
Looking forward to digging into this. Is there a link to the research anywhere?
You can download the report here.
Also Nick also visited the Unbelievable podcast: Unbelievable?: Are the public ready to move beyond the science vs faith conflict? Nick Spencer & Katherine Mathieson on Apple Podcasts
Brilliant, thanks @HRankin. I’ll check out the Unbelievable episode too. I’d love to hear Justin Brierley on Language of God sometime.
Interesting so far. Heck the jury is in: I will finish this as soon as I’ve completed some chores that can’t be further postponed.
The takeaway seems to be that there are a couple of axes rather than two sides of a coin. Which gives an explicit dimension to the subject that is implicit. Science. Religion. None of which adds depth to the actual question of how religion stands up to scientific enquiry. To nature.
We’d love to have him again soon! And also want to get @jstump on Unbelievable!
Thanks for this podcast and an introduction to Theos Think Tank. In the last few days I’ve explored their website and some of their podcasts, including some of interviews with of authors. I particularly enjoyed the interviews with Jenny Odell (author of the outstanding, not Christian book How to do Nothing) and Ian McGilchrist.
I enjoyed this LoG podcast, about Theos’s recent study but also the background on the organization and the relative sanity of the public handling of questions of faith and science in the U.K.
There were a number of segments of this podcast I found interesting.
I didn’t get time stamps, when I took my notes, but these are in order as they appear in the podcast.
- Background on Theos Think Tank and the two interview participants, Nick Spencer and Bethany Sollereder.
- Description of the survey recently completed by Theos and process they went through to do the survey
- Goal of the survey: find out where perceived tensions were
- Contrast of the UK and US landscape of reactions to “Science and Region”
- Overview of the screaming, raging history of Science/Christianity in the US (particularly the textbook that was at the core of the Scopes trial).
- Discussion of “Morals not Knowledge” grasp of science among Christians in the US.
- Essential value of being well-informed, before entering deep conversations about science.
- Discussion of the process of doing qualitative research, using some of the survey questions as examples and discussing how the interview participants interpreted the example questions to show the challenge or writing good research questions and the need to ask about the same thing from many angles.
- Throughout the podcast I appreciated the repeated emphasis on asking clarifying questions (“What is meant by that term?”)
I’m looking forward to reading the report on the study and studying the survey questions themselves.
Best humorous quote from the interview:
So I sort of say, you know, love is like beer, it doesn’t appear in nature, but it can be created through these forms of sort of human culture.
And it makes nature a better place.
Coming from Michigan, where a really serious brew culture is finally coming into maturity again, after a 98 year dearth, I found this exchange lovely.
I think you’re looking for a different kind of study, entirely.
Understanding what people think and why, which is the point of the Theos study, independent of its rightness or wrongness of that thinking, has different value.
Living here, where any sort of discussion that involves science and Christianity, cannot tolerate disagreement, I see good reason to be looking at the questions this way. The only “study” here that I am aware of, which is not a study at all but questions skewed to get the desired answers to “prove” a predetermined point (that acceptance of science is driving our kids from Jesus and the church), is a propagandist, fund-raising sham.
Looking around just this neighborhood lately, I see a need to better understand what’s going on where I live, in hopes that at least those that are willing have better strategies for dealing with the cultural issues that go with these questions. However, again looking around the neighborhood lately, maybe I’m just naive.
If that’s the case, then it is at least heartening to see that not everyone has gone off the rails.
Just listened. The comments on the cucumber may explain the cat video.
Och no. I just think it’s a false prospectus almost; Diving Deep Into Science and Religion needs a more prosaic title. Like ‘A Social Survey of Attitudes to Science and Religion’.
Not very catchy, but definitely more accurate.
Definitely makes a difference to my interest too.
If you saw that long of a title on a poster would you go?
Please be kind to the one-person marketing team (me).
Perhaps the nexus of science and religion is self-aware consciousness. It is the ultimate mystery of existence that is taken for granted by most religionists and under-appreciated as a singular phenomenon by many in the scientific community. It is what gives meaning to the universe without which it would just be blobs of electromagnetism interacting in space, its grandeur unobserved.