Last month, I blogged about the religious discrimination lawsuit filed by astronomer Martin Gaskell against the University of Kentucky. I included a quote from Elaine Howard Ecklund’s book Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think about the degree to which religious scientists feel they can be open about their faith and beliefs. Now, I want to return to Ecklund’s book and discuss one of her conclusions that I have found very insightful: nonreligious scientists have an extremely limited language for discussing religious beliefs.
(BTW, the Lexington Herald-Leader has an update on Gaskell’s case. There haven’t been too many developments in the past month, but the article includes a disturbing statement from the AAUP suggesting that religious beliefs can be an issue of “disciplinary competency” in science. Yipes. I hope religious scientists who are members of AAUP will contact them to set them straight.)
In her survey of elite academic scientists, Ecklund found that nonreligious scientists have limited ability to discuss religious beliefs. She draws on sociologist Basil Bernstein’s concept of “language codes” to suggest that many scientists never progress beyond stereotypes and false assumptions about religion: [Read more…] about Can Scientists Talk About Religion?