Science & Religion Quiz: Where are you?

LOL I think this test has serious flaws.

Here is mine.

A spectrum from pluralism to scientism???

It has me as only slightly compatible and slightly pluralistic. I wouldn’t say so. I think it has interpreted our answers to these question in a way that depends heavily on the premises of the one designing the test. It simply isn’t accurate to say my answers mean that I don’t think science and religion is 100% compatible. That is not correct.


I guess I fell in pretty close to where I believed I would.


I even had a hard time interpreting some of the questions. I don’t have time now to go back though them, but a good survey should not have that problem.

If I have time, I’ll look tomorrow for the odd questions.


I guess with Maxwell nearby, I feel like I’m in a pretty good neighborhood anyway.

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Same. I actually made it most of the way through the third set when I decided there were just too many questions where I’d need to specify how I’m understanding the question. Otherwise I start to feel I’m just setting myself up to be misportrayed.

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Yeah, the questions are questionable.

Overnight I’ve gone south of Huxley.

Science is true, but religion has some value

For you, science is the only (or main) way to the truth and religion is only really a cultural phenomenon, so the two can get on just fine. But you’re likely to add an important caveat to this: the two can get on just as long as religion doesn’t try and make any truth claims and sticks to what it does best – building community and helping others. When it comes to the job of understanding reality, it has nothing important to contribute. If you’re here, your temperature is probably a bit cool.

(Yet this morning, in the shower, I had a tearful ‘Was that you Lord?’ moment I cling on to.)


It seems to me that unless you see religion as necessarily involving supernatural agency which has before and can again bend reality as it pleases, there is no friction between science and religion. The sacred and the empirical are as non-overlapping as poetry and science. Both access the truth but in entirely different ways and to different purposes. Both are important, science for what it enables you to do with the world and religion for enabling you to understand your place in it.

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Some tripwire questions for me. I think there are others I missed this morning, but here’s a quick sample. How to interpret? Subjectively, of course, and by reception. Which makes data not so much subjective but unreliable.

  1. Science is the only way of getting reliable knowledge
  2. Science is not affected by bias
  3. Science is the only thing needed to solve climate change
  4. Science cannot tell you how to live your life
  5. Science can sometimes damage people’s sense of morality

BTW: if you answer “agree” to all the questions so you can see the next page of questions, you get these results:

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Science done well is free of bias. If bias creeps in anyway do we say “oh, no that is not science”? Weird.

And I didn’t get to the last one you quoted but I think we all know cases where religion seems to have damaged people’s sense of morality.

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And if you give the middle answer to every question, the result is the exact center… Or ‘origin’, if you will.

I thought most questions were designed well enough to afford clarity even toward deeper considerations. Including the questions you listed.

For example, #7: is science the only thing needed to solve climate change?

Words like “only” make it pretty clear to me that complete agreement with that is not rationally defensible, even if you think of science as the primary or most valuable of tools to address such problems (and even that more modest claim may still be in need of much nuance).

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I nearly always have trouble with survey questions. I’ll blame my lit background, or lit-inclined mind. Is it even possible for me to read a question and understand as it is printed?

For example, #7: is science the only thing needed to solve climate change?

Of course not. There is also the need for human cooperation, which includes marketing, politics, education, moral judgements, negotiation, …… Do you see where I’m going? The science alone is useless, if it’s not implimented.

So, my answer is a clear “no” but it has nothing to do with the intent of the survey. Now I FEEL I must figure out how to answer the question according to the rules of the survey in a way that would inflence the survey to produce results that are more reflective of my views on science and religion. Because the question, as fully understood, has nothing to do with either any more.

Or, I could look at the question through the lens of an evolutionary psychologist, which I am not, so the lens would be dirty, and say , “yes!” because all the things I listed as additional considerations could be explained by an evolutionary psychologist, who is a scientist.

See what I mean?

This is why surveys themselves are a scientific endeavor. They must be tested rigorously with various groups of thinkers, before they can be remotely useful. How do different people read the questions and understand them? How does a question mislead someone?

Many questions I answered with “neutral” because I had no idea how to answer them “well” and ALWAYS question my gut answer. Any wonder I find critical theory appealing?

  • I initially balked at Question 3 for three different possible reasons, and subsequently found a “rationale” that allowed me to complete the questionnaire.
    • 1st reason: As far as I’m concerned there are no “holy books”. Of the non-holy “holy books” the only one that I consider the “least non-holy book” is the Bible. And, in the Bible, some things are to be taken literally–and are silly if not taken literally–and taking everything in the Bible literally is a step into “La-la Land.”
    • 2nd reason: There are religions that do not or have not had “holy books”.
    • 3rd reason: The answer to the question hinges on the literacy of the oral OR scriptural tradition in the religion.

What was the question’s author’s intent?
Reception theory says that that is irrelevant. What matters is the readers reception of the question and what the reader brings to it. And clearly, Terry, you and I are bringing a lot. Other people do, too, but may be more able to feel like their readings are more straight forward.

I bet, though, if we all sat down to a nice big picnic in my yard this June and discussed how we understood each question, we’d be there until breakfast at least.


The bias question is another one that I answered and then came back to. What is meant by bias? Funding sources? Participants? Affiliations of the scientists (or funding sources)? Since humans are involved in the work of science, is it possible for it to be entirely unbiased? If not, what level of bias is allowable before the work is questionable? And so on.

The questions multiply as I try to work through them.

The first one in my list that didn’t make it into your quote asked about “knowledge?” What a slippery word! How to understand the choice of that word in the survey? ……And on it goes.

An understanding based on pathos. Not logos. With little ethos. And a lot of phobos and pothos.

I think I ended up answering on the ‘no’ side, but refraining from using the most emphatic ‘no’ choice as my caveat that I think science is the most effective tool for knowing the state and past states of our climate.

Yeah - even the best written survey questions never capture everything, hence the inevitable limitations of that medium. If one wants to find or make any use of them at all, one must accept that they are crude instruments, some blunter than others according to the care put into the questions.

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Yeah I just couldn’t finish it and quit trying. Even the middle answer didn’t suffice for some of them. “Meh” wasn’t even a provided option! :wink:

Bottom line for me is incredulity at the idea that what is profoundly true in human affairs (the sacred) should entail supernatural agency without any bounds in the empirical realm.


“Meh”! That’s great!

While I thought the questions were somewhat polarizing and nebulous as well, i think that was the point. Unlike a Pew survey on what translation you prefer, it was trying to see where you are along a spectrum, and required several some ambiguity to get you to there. Certainly not perfect, but overall, not that bad. And it certainly sparks interest.


I am also around @jpm!

I was curious to know if people who tended to ascribe to BioLogos-friendly beliefs found themselves in similar quadrants or not.

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