1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured College students leaving religion: It's not "the science", it's "science"

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Jose Fly, May 17, 2021.

  1. Jose Fly

    Jose Fly Fisker of men

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Messages:
    6,226
    Ratings:
    +5,114
    A common explanation for why US college students have been leaving Christianity is to attribute it to them taking biology, genetics, geology, etc., being taught information that contradicts their beliefs, realizing that much of what they were taught in church isn't true, and abandoning Christianity as a result.

    However, a recent study indicates that it's not specific courses of study that's responsible, rather it's studying secular science at all and subsequently learning how to question assumptions and engage in critical thinking.

    Inquiry, Not Science, as the Source of Secularization in Higher Education | Sociology of Religion | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

    The traditional claim in the literature on religion and science is that exposure to science leads to secularity because the claims about the natural world in the two systems are incompatible. More recently, research has narrowed this claim and shown that conflict over knowledge in the USA is primarily limited to one religion—conservative Protestantism—and only to a few fact claims. In this paper, I test this claim using longitudinal data from matched surveys taken in students’ first and fourth year of university. I find no evidence that the science is more secularizing than nonscience. I then turn to a distinction in university majors long used by sociologists of education—between majors focused on inquiry versus those focused on applying knowledge—and find that majors focused on inquiry are more likely to secularize than those focused on application. I interpret this to mean that learning to inquire secularizes.

    That makes sense to me and is consistent with my experiences. I've kind of always been a critical thinker who questions everything, and it's always been a major stumbling block between me and religious friends, family, and institutions (churches). They've always struck me as a bit put off at my asking tough questions and not taking things merely on faith.

    It's also nice to see that people who are raised in religious environments where critical thinking is discouraged can not only learn to engage in it, but can also enhance the skill.

    I guess there's hope for everyone! ;)

    (h/t: friendly atheist)
     
    • Like Like x 8
    • Winner Winner x 5
    • Informative Informative x 4
    • Funny Funny x 1
  2. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    187,232
    Ratings:
    +64,432
    Religion:
    Atheist
    Go science!
     
    • Like Like x 6
    • Winner Winner x 1
  3. Rival

    Rival Iiu em hotep.
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Messages:
    20,132
    Ratings:
    +28,880
    Religion:
    Kemetic Pagan
    Ah yes, the idea that in order to stop being religious, religious folks just need to 'educate themselves' and 'start asking hard questions'.

    Most of history disagrees, as do folks like John Lennox.
     
    • Winner Winner x 4
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  4. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    Messages:
    9,853
    Ratings:
    +7,925
    upload_2021-5-18_7-30-44.gif
     
    • Funny x 4
    • Like x 3
    • Winner x 1
    • Informative x 1
    • Optimistic x 1
  5. Jose Fly

    Jose Fly Fisker of men

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Messages:
    6,226
    Ratings:
    +5,114
    I didn't see anything indicating that the purpose of the paper was to identify ways to get people to stop being religious. Rather, it's about figuring out causes behind an already existing phenomenon (college students abandoning their faith).

    I don't believe anyone said anything like "religious people can't be critical thinkers".
     
  6. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    187,232
    Ratings:
    +64,432
    Religion:
    Atheist
    It only affects some that way, particularly those who
    believed things like the world being only a few thousand
    years old. When one's foundation isn't so rooted in
    literalism regarding loopy disprovable things, one is
    less vulnerable to losing one's religion.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  7. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    58,685
    Ratings:
    +27,335
    Religion:
    Love
    The article is blocked so I can't check some questions I had about it.

    One big question is considering secular theology. Another way of looking at the same question is to ask if they are more "spiritual but not religious", agnostic or atheist.
     
  8. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Messages:
    74,095
    Ratings:
    +29,478
    Religion:
    God is in the Rain
    I think it's more that we have reached a fundamental point in history where in the "modern world" only the dogmatic and willfully stupid are able to believe literalist interpretations of ancient beliefs. We've learned so much about the world, the solar system, the galaxy, and even the universe since most religions practiced today were born. And pagan religions, we don't just reconstruct them because so much has been lost but because we ethically know better regarding a lot of practices in the past.
    Add in that it often is those who are too deeply into their religion making a public scene about things, with so many others opting to keep religion a personal matter, it starts to look worse. Religion hasn't kept up. Science has. And the religions that try are saturated with pseudoscience and historic fabrications and exaggerations.
    Add in today, that while the majority have never really done much of academic/book heavy work, today we've placed authoritative figures aside and deeper, more critical readings of text in favor of believing "what I think and feel is equally valid and important." This is why so many will take a cheap shot at the Bible and claim it has pi wrong. Yes, strictly by what's there, but not actually when we realize this was before zero, before algebra was formalized, and no had a symbol for pi but the Jews borrowed from the Babylonians, who like Greeks knew 3 is an approximation.
    Bret Weinstein made the comment moderating a debate between Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson, stating he thought a good summary of their debate is a part of it revolving around how our traditional means of understanding the world are failing us today. And many just are not inclined to do much more than follow a self-imposed line of breadcrumbs to follow when they are given information to work with.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  9. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Grēne Mann
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2019
    Messages:
    1,905
    Ratings:
    +2,605
    Religion:
    None
    Though the sciences did play their role in my eventual atheism and materialist viewpoint, they aren't why I left my original religion - that was mostly due to an irreconcilable moral dilemma I had in regards to what scripture said vs. what I observed in my own personal surroundings. Had I not been a hard nosed scriptural literalist, my faith probably wouldn't have crumbled so easily in the face of inconsistency.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  10. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    15,084
    Ratings:
    +5,542
    Religion:
    Advaita and Spiritualist and Pantheist
    In reality science only contradicts a small amount of only conservative (Biblical literalist) thinking.

    I see another pattern in that exposure to secularism and science dissuades one from any old traditional religious upbringing. But that kind of upbringing is already rather weak in general in the college students of today.

    I see critical thinking as in the more spiritual types today taking a different path today. After disillusionment with old-time religion comes a period of non-religion. After that for the more spiritually inclined I find many find a comfortable home in eastern and New Age type perspectives that accords with but goes beyond science.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Jose Fly

    Jose Fly Fisker of men

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Messages:
    6,226
    Ratings:
    +5,114
    Not being in the office, I can't access the paper either. However, assuming that it relies on the same publicly-available surveys of people abandoning religion would mean that the majority become "nones", who basically describe themselves as simply "not religious".
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Rival

    Rival Iiu em hotep.
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Messages:
    20,132
    Ratings:
    +28,880
    Religion:
    Kemetic Pagan
    It seems we are talking about a certain kind of religiosity usually found in the US. This is clearly a topic all its own.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  13. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    Messages:
    9,853
    Ratings:
    +7,925
    Yeah ngl a lot of my Christian friends find the US version of hardcore Christianity utterly baffling. Hell some of those Christians are themselves scientists
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    12,193
    Ratings:
    +11,440
    Religion:
    RC (culturally at least)
    This also neatly accounts for all those creationist engineers and doctors we were discussing in another thread a few days ago. ;)
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. Rival

    Rival Iiu em hotep.
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Messages:
    20,132
    Ratings:
    +28,880
    Religion:
    Kemetic Pagan
    One of my local Vicars was a nuclear physicist. I always loved that.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  16. Jose Fly

    Jose Fly Fisker of men

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Messages:
    6,226
    Ratings:
    +5,114
    I think that depends on how deep into religious claims you want to go.

    That's not surprising. Spiritual folks will eventually find something that works for them.
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  17. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    Messages:
    9,853
    Ratings:
    +7,925
    Yeah there’s plenty of religious people in the sciences. Though I would wager very few are biblical literalists
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Grēne Mann
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2019
    Messages:
    1,905
    Ratings:
    +2,605
    Religion:
    None
    Definitely.

    I've been out of that headspace for a while, so it's weird for me to kind of step back into that mode of thought and think about the way I used to perceive those things. Who I was then vs. now are truly two different people.

    I'm not sure very many places in the west experience religious zeal on quite the same level as we do here in the US.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Rival

    Rival Iiu em hotep.
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Messages:
    20,132
    Ratings:
    +28,880
    Religion:
    Kemetic Pagan
    As a Brit and more broadly as a European it is seven levels of baffling to me.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  20. Jose Fly

    Jose Fly Fisker of men

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Messages:
    6,226
    Ratings:
    +5,114
    LOL....I believe the paper addresses engineering and how it's an outlier. The FA site quoted the paper as saying that "pure fields lead to more secularization than applied fields" and that that "explains the typical outlier in such studies--engineering".
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
Loading...