How Christians Should Engage Gender, Religion, and Science


(Professor Daniels)
Good evening. It’s nice to see as many of
you here as are here. For those of you who don’t know me my name is Denise
Daniels. I’m a professor of management in the School of Business, Government, and
Economics here at SPU. And, it’s really my great privilege to be able to
introduce our speaker to you all tonight. Before I do that, I just wanted to give
a quick thank you to the Faith and Science Club for helping to sponsor this
event and for all the snacks outside that you guys had a chance, hopefully, to
grab before you came in so thank you very much to that club and for the work
that you’ve done in letting people know about this event as well. So, it’s my
great privilege to introduce to you Elaine Howard Eklund. Many of you have
maybe read a little bit about her. Maybe you have had a chance to talk with
faculty about her or maybe you haven’t. So, for those of you regardless of what
you may already know, let me tell you a little bit about her. She is a professor
at Rice University in Sociology, that’s her discipline. She’s technically the
Herbert S. Autrey Chair in social sciences at Rice, which is kind of a big deal when
you get an names chair like that. That means that you’ve done
pretty remarkable and Elaine has indeed done some remarkable things in her
career. She has published a number of books. One of her earlier books was the
that was written – the title of was, “Science Versus Religion: What Scientists
Really Think”. That came out in 2010. That was chosen by the Times Higher Education as an international book of the week and named a book of the Year on religion, by
The Huffington Post. So, got quite a bit of play by both academics and in the
popular press. She has written another book that just came out last month
called, “Religion Versus Science: What People of Faith…”, actually I’m not saying
the subtitle wrong, “… Religion Versus Science: What Religious People Really
Think”. And it’s kind of the other perspective. So, what do people of faith
think about what scientists do? She’s going to talk a little bit about that
book tonight. Last year she also published a book
called “Failing Families, Failing Science: Work-Family Conflicts and Academic
Science”, which talks about the challenges that scientists in academic contexts
face trying to juggle and manage both their their work and their calling and
their family lives and she’ll talk about that book of it tonight as well. In
addition to the books that she has published, she has also been the
recipient of a number of grants and I’m going to just list for you some of the granting agencies that have found her work worthy of funding. That includes the Natural Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the Templeton World charity Foundation, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and the Lilly Endowment. So, you can get a sense
of the scope with which she works. So, obviously she’s a sociologist but she’s
done work in the area of science and I know a number of you are probably here
from a science background and some of you are here from a sociology perspective. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Elaine over several years. We were together on a long term project and we realized that we had some really similar interests and decided to work on a project together. So, she and I, she’s actually in town right now because we’re in the process of
gathering some data for a project on faith and work. And obviously my
discipline, which is management, is not science, but I’m interested in how people
think about their work broadly and so she’s starting her project and I’m
having the chance to work with her on that project as we gather data. So she’s
very accomplished, has interests in lots of different domains and I think you’ll
have, you’ll be very interested in hearing what she has to say. She’s going
to talk about 30 minutes and at the end of that time you’ll have a chance for a
question and answer. We are recording this for folks that couldn’t be here
tonight so when we do get to the end and there is an opportunity for Q&A we’re
going to ask folks who want to ask questions to come up and use one of the handheld mics and we’ll have a couple of people up here facilitating that So, without further adieu, let me introduce you in having welcome Dr. Elaine Howard Ecklund. (Audience Clapping) (Dr. Ecklund)
Thank you so much for having me here. It’s a real privilege. Thank you to Professor Daniels, and Professor Wall-Scheffler, and to Professor McKinney who’ve really done a lot of, lot of work. Is my mic on? (Professor Daniels)
Can you guys hear in the back?
I’m not sure that the mic is on. (Audience member)
You can’t see her though. (Professor Daniels)
You might want to move out. (Dr. Ecklund)
You can’t see me. Ok. So, really appreciate being here I was just
telling the colleagues that SPU is a very special place. Uh… you still can’t hear me huh? Its the mic not on? […] (Dr.Ecklund)
How’s that? There we go, great. I was telling the colleagues that SPU is a very special place because all dinner, when I met with these three colleagues, they were talking about specific students and the kinds of things that they’re doing with students. For the students in the room, your professors care about you a lot. And I think in universities, generally, that’s true, but I really sensed that energy here that the faculty really care for the students and at this is a really
generative learning environment. So, it’s a really special place to be so thank
you for having me. I also want to thank some other
contributors to this specific work. So, these two books that I’m going to touch
on a little bit tonight, were funded, the research that contributed to the books
was funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the National Science
Foundation and Rice University also provided some smaller funds for, to get
those grants so some pilot research and of course I want to thanks the Seattle
Pacific University for being here. So the first book that I’m going to walk you through a little bit is called, ” Failing Families, Failing Science: Work- Family Conflict in Academic Science”, and my husband is a particle physicist. So, he
smashes things through the, arou-… I’m really not upon what he actually does even though we’ve been married for seventeen years. He smashes things that was not a good lead into what he does. But, he is studies particles. He studies fundamental particles and, you know, he never comes home and says you know like my research subjects said X to me, right. His
particles do not talk back to him, but this is one of the really lovely things
about being a sociologist is that we study people. And the research subjects
that we study talk back to us and they really tell us things about how the
social world works. And they bring insights into our research that are
really really powerful. And so, this first book, I remember one of the very first
interviews that I did was with a woman who is an entomologist. So she studied bugs. And I went into her office and there was a picture of an arachnid on. There very particular kind of bug that she studied, on her wall so there’s a big picture of a bug. And as we got talking, I was there to talk to her about gender and family life and other kinds of related things and how they had
an impact or didn’t on her scientific career and I found out that she had just
had a baby six weeks ago. And, interestingly, on that particular trip I
was there as well and I had just had a baby about three months ago and that was
one of the first professional trips that I made after I had my baby. And in my
office at Rice University there are pictures of my-… it was like a little shrine
actually. There were pictures of my baby every place. You know, just like her you
know smiling, her not smiling. You know, her with my husband, her you know with
other baby friends, you know. Just sort of like, like really just like all over the
office and it really struck me that this woman had had this baby and didn’t even
have a single picture of the baby in the office and I just got thinking you know
what kind of work environment is it such that she didn’t. And I don’t really know,
it as it came out further, it was that she felt that she really could not advertise the fact that she was a new mother. She didn’t have any pictures of her baby because she kind of felt some subtle pressure. It wasn’t as if anyone said overtly, you know, never put up pictures of your children in your office. But, she kind of felt like she didn’t really want to be viewed as too much of a mommy kind of person. So here’s some of the questions that we set out to study, my co-author and I, Anne Lincoln. So, how do scientists, both men and women, experience gender and family life in science? And then, here’s a question that I’m thinking about tonight, as someone who is herself a Christian. Who’s very invested in her own church. As
someone who wants to see churches really care for the world in profound ways. So,
I’m asking myself what can I learn and what can churches learn for this research?
This was not research that it was specifically about church people or
Christians in particular. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most of the people I
interviewed wouldn’t consider themselves Christians, but I think there’s something
that the church can learn from these data as well. So the study focused at
first in very quantitative ways, numerical ways, was a survey of 3,455 U.S.
biologists and physicists at top research universities. So, places like Stanford or University of Michigan, the kinds of places that we studied scientists. We did in-depth conversations with people who took the survey. So, surveys, if you take in a survey, they really box people into answers so I as
the researcher decide the whole range of choices that you have on the survey. I
decide a priori what your answer options are. But, my co-author and I also wanted
to know how people talked about these things in their own terms. We wanted to
know for example, you know if our categories for understanding gender,
family life, and science are really what our respondents categories were. So
here’s a quote from Jennifer, a physics graduate student we interviewed she said,
“The main discrimination the sciences I see is this idea that there is an ideal
scientist. There’s one particular type of person who does science. They like to
work 14-hour days and they think in a particular way and their one and only
passion is doing research. I’m not that person and I wonder if that means all
never be a good scientist. Meet Arthur who we also interviewed he says this, “If you need to be a scientist it’s very helpful to have a very powerful woman. My
wife was a CEO, a secretary for our house and you wouldn’t believe it, she ran the
company. The boss meaning me only sign things. And she keeps doing this…”, his wife,
“…still today”. These are two very different kinds of quotes that give you some
insight into gender and science to some degree. What was surprising to my
colleague and I when we study these scientists is that actually young men,
who we interviewed for our research, were a lot more like Jennifer than they were
like Arthur. That young men actually were very invested in the potential of having
a family life alongside the academic science career. So we’re going to talk
about that a little bit. The image of the ideal scientists, so if for those of you
who are maybe social scientists in the room, this sort of ideal typical image
what we’re all aspiring to whether or not it’s reality what we think the ideal
ought to be. So, both men and women that we talked with in our research lived
under what we called the ideal scientist image. This is someone who sees scientific work as a kind of calling. There was, even for these people who were not necessarily spiritual in their own terms, this had a very spiritual sensibility about it. That scientific work was such an important calling. Such
an important calling that you ought to put scientific work above other kinds of
life pursuits in particular that you ought to put work ahead of family. Seeing
long hours is a badge of courage really. You’ve-… finding people in our study who
would kind of brag about how many hours they’d worked in a particular day to
sort of one-upmanship. We found in our research that there is a personal and cultural fatherhood penalty and I think the things that we found have important
lessons for women but are not particularly surprising to us but we
were able to document things clearly. We did find some things that were quite surprising to us in relationship to men and young men, in particular. So, we found that science influences family formation especially people who go on to elite, elite kinds of institutions. More women in particular
that we interviewed have fewer children than they wanted because of their
science career. But, we found that male faculty who’ve fewer children than they desired, are actually less satisfied with their lives than the women in our studies. So,
when we interviewed them, we found that women for example, never thought that
they could have it all. They thought that if they went into elite science that
there would be particular kinds of downsides. That they may not married. That they may not have as many children as they had wanted. Men however, thought that they could have it all. But we also found that there is an institutional and cultural motherhood penalty, which has huge structural impacts in science. LIke these pictures. If you just put like 1950s pictures of mothering this is the kind of thing that you get. So, we found that ideal, in people’s mindsets, when we interviewed them, that ideal scientists exclusively devote themselves to their work but, we also found, in these respondents and in research in our broader U.S. culture that ideal mothers exclusively devote themselves to their children.
There is the expectation that wives will care for the household activities and wom- and men will act primarily as bread winners. Now certainly, in our modern day society,
this is not even usual anymore. So many women work outside the home that this is
not a typical arrangement. But I’m talking about a cultural perception. Still, 60% of Americans think that this is best. If women primarily devote themselves to children and men primarily devote themselves to breadwinning. But we found amongst our scientist mothers that they really still were expecting themselves, and others were expecting them, to fulfill both roles
well. This came out in our interviews when we coded our interviews for how
men and women described their parenting. Men described their family contributions,
even re-progressive men, described their family contributions, as sacrifices and they felt very proud of the kinds of sacrifices that they made for their families. Women on the other hand, describe themselves as lucky, if their partner contributed. So, we actually coded what ended up being thousands of pages of interview transcripts over a hundred and fifty interviews for the number of times parenting was described
and how it was described in these two words sacrifice and lucky came up over
and over again with men describing their parenting as a sacrifice and women
describing men’s parenting, if they had an involved male partner, as describing
themselves as lucky. So, mothers tend to pay the high price in science. So, they’re
27% less likely to receive tenure than fathers. They’re also less likely than married women without children to receive tenure. And 47%, this was interesting, when compared to 0.3%, yes that’s right, 0.3 not 3 even percent, 0.3% of fathers who are full professors feel that they face family discrimination. Here’s an assistant professor of biology
Joanne who says, “You don’t want to be viewed as too much of a mommy kind of
person in this career. You know you don’t want to give off the vibe that you just
want to have lots of children”…, I don’t know what that vibe would be exactly, but, I think, what would the vibe that you would be have lots of children be, “… I think everyone would frown at you and think you weren’t very serious”. Here’s another professor of biology who says that, “Childcare has been hard and then just getting everything done is challenging. I’ve chosen not to travel very much. My husband helps out a lot by picking up the kids from school and then the teachers don’t know me. They still refuse to put my husband’s name as the primary contact on the school form, even though he’s more involved in the school. So, I’m gonna come back to some of the things that I think that particular book has made me reflect on especially when I think about my own life as a parent and as a professional as well as what I think churches can be reflecting on. I think
a very special opportunity for me to be at this particular institution tonight
talking about these kinds of things where we can have a freer kind of
conversation about, in particular, how churches ought to respond. But, I want to
move now to talking just a little bit about this other book, “Religion Versus
Science: What Religious People Really Think”. And, as Professor Daniel said, this
is the opposite for me and in some ways a kind of integration of the other book
that I wrote really almost eight years ago now called, “Science Versus Religion:
What Scientists Really Think”, and which made me wonder if the kinds of
stereotypes that scientists had about people of faith, and Christians in
particular, were accurate and so my co-author and I, Christopher Scheitle,
wanted to really delve into that. So, let me share just a little bit about that
with you now turning to this other project. So, again, a story that kind of
helped me delve into this research so, I think I start the book out with this
story for those of you who are read it. I was at Cornell University doing some PhD
work and my advisor had me, at the time, going to Bible studies as part of my PhD
work. So, she wanted me to figure out what Christians think about changes in family
forms. So, increase in single parents and same-sex couples raising children. So,
that was the particular topic that we were studying and as I was in one of
these research Bible studies, so I was there to do research, I met a woman and
she asked me what I was doing. So, what I was doing professionally, I said well, I’m
a PhD student at Cornell University and she said yuck I wouldn’t want my kids to
go to Cornell University. And the first thing that went through my mind was like
oh I guess Cornell’s not good enough. You want them to go to Harvard like what you know sort of, I was sort of like really not tracking with her. I was feeling kind of defensive because I was a Cornell student but it sort of a defensive in a kind of elitist way. And I said well, tell me more, you know, what do you hope for them? And she said, “Well, I wouldn’t want my kids to go there because they might take science classes”. It’s like wow, okay, tell me more. So, and she said, “Well I’m pretty sure that if they take science classes from Cornell University Professors, that they will take them away, that these professors will take the chip-… my children away from the faith. So, I want them to go to a different kind of school where the science professors won’t try to really take my children away from their faith”. And I got thinking, wow that is really fascinating. That had not been my experience with Cornell University
professors. That they were kind of out to eat young Christian children for lunch.
So, I, you know, that’s where you have this kind of experience where like wow. I really
want to study that and see if that’s typical if this woman’s views are
typical. What’s really going on in the science community? Are there scientists
who are Christians and, and I just thought gosh I got to study more of this
and that really led me on a kind of ten-year journey that I’ve been on
studying faith in science. So here’s this most recent book. We have a lot of
stereotypes and caricatures right so here’s Richard Dawkins. The author of “The
God Delusion” you’ll probably know, who said that, “Faith is the great cop-out the
great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in
spite of even perhaps because of the lack of evidence. So, the thing, maybe people of faith are not very reasonable, that they’re not a valu-, able to evaluate evidence well”. And then there’s Ken Ham, who maybe some of you know of, whose founder of the Creation Museum, who says, “Believing in a relatively young earth over a few thousand of years old which we accept, is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God is an infallible revelation from an omniscient, omniscient creator. So, this woman that I met at the Bible study was not crazy. I mean if she looked in the popular media around her, particularly at the time that I was doing that study, about twelve, thirteen years ago now, where there were school board cases about teaching evolution in the public schools and there was, there was tension around that issue in particular. We wouldn’t think of her as a crazy person. She had some reason to believe maybe scientists are against people of faith. So here are the questions that my co-author and I asked in this particular book. So, some of the questions. So, what a religious people think about science and scientists? So we focused in this book on all versions of Christianity, but also on Islam, and on Jews, so just the versions of those groups that are most populous in the U.S.. And then how should Christians think about science? So, the work that my colleague and I did was not particularly prescriptive, but I think you can use it in a way that’s
deeply prescriptive. So, research can be good news that we can use in our church
context if we choose to do, use it that way. So, here’s this study, just in brief,
we did a nationally representative survey, so we surveyed over 10,000. This a general population survey. It actually took into our sample an extra number of scientists, so, because we wanted to, in particular, figure out what rank-and-file scientists. So remember, in some of my previous research I studied scientists at elite institutions in particular so, I wanted to also look at people who might be more likely to be in the pews. So people who work in, across different sectors in our society, say in research in development in a corporation or in a hospital, or just outside the university in particular. We then went into congregations and this for my team and I, Esther Chan is here, who was very involved in this study, we went into congregations of all types. And this was so much fun so we studied twenty-three congregations. There’s actually a huge amount of work which took us several year period, and then we did in-depth interviews with people in the congregations. And we wanted, in this particular study, to look at Evangelical mainline Protestants and Catholics. And we wanted racial diversity in our sample. So most of the conversation about faith in science has really focused, implicitly, on white
Christians in particular and we wanted to make sure we had historically black
churches and Latino Catholic and Latino Evangelical churches in particular as well as Asian American churches and people in our sample. We found that Christians are very supportive of science. And actually, I was not deeply surprised by this. I mean I married a physicist and we met each other in a Christian Fellowship group at our university. So, I mean I know they’re out there right, you know glad for me but what I think the media has been very surprised by this finding from our study if you
google my name and religion and science you’ll see that I’ve given several
interviews recently where I’ve just said, like over and over in various ways
during the course their interview, yes you know religious people in general and
Christians, even Christians in particular, even conservative Christians in
particular, quite supportive of science it sort of it may not be news to the
people in this room but it apparently is is news to some others showing that
there’s this kind of cultural perception out there that Christians perhaps are
not so supportive of science. So here’s just a bit of evidence. If you read the
book there’s a lot more in there and we have a lot of research articles too on
my website, if you’re deeply interested in the statistics of this, but here’s
just a couple of touch points for you. So, we asked of how interested our
respondents are in various things and we found that this is the, the I actually
didn’t even collapse those were somewhat interested and very interested when the
numbers go up to be quite large, but just those who are very interested in, in new
scientific discoveries. So evangelical Protestants those who feel comfort
without labeled, 22% say they’re very interested in new scientific discoveries,
28% of mainline Protestants, you’ll see it’s even more for Jews and for
Catholics and for the non-religious and for those who are part of what sadly,
because there are such small numbers I’ve collapsed into this group called
non-western religions. So, but when you go to looking at medical discoveries, so we
asked our respondents to tell me how interested you are in new medical discoveries we found that 37% of Evangelical Protestants and 39% of mainline Protestants are very interested in new medical discoveries. And we did found that said to us that there do seem to be some difference in interest levels for issues that aren’t clearly connected to real-world applications. So here’s where there does seem to be some kind of religious difference that’s interesting to us. And this comes out in our interviews pretty strongly, that Christians in particular want to make change in the world for social good. And so my co-author, Christopher Scheitle, has written some about this and some research articles on college majors and finding
that Christian students are much more likely to major in majors that are
perceived as helping helping the world rather than say basic science. And so, they’re more likely to be pre-med than say you know, physics. And so that’s, that’s kind of interesting and something for us to interrogate. So how could we you know, make it more appealing, if we so want. And churches to be, to think abstract science is a good thing or could be used to help the world. So that’s, that’s kind
of something interesting to muse on for me. So here’s another question, so overall modern science does more harm than good? This is a kind of a forced answer question where we assert something strongly to the respondent and then we ask their opinon on it. And we found that 85% of all Americans disagree with this. So, in general, modern science has a pretty positive place in our society. It is 80-, Christians don’t differ, 86% of Evangelical Chrisitans diagree that overall, science does more harm than good. But, there’s still are some problems right. And the problems with science seem to hinge on these two particular theological issues. I just got some nasty email from a couple of scientists because I gave an interview to our local paper, “The Houston Chronicle”, I said that, you know, scientists ought to go to church to actually investigate if they want to be serious about doing scientific research on the social public that they seem to think disagree with them that maybe they ought to go to church and meet people who are Christians and try to understand why they have problems with a particular aspect of science that they do. And so, that particular quote, “scientist should go to church”, was taken out of context and really amplified. So yeah. So the problems with science hinge on these two things. The view of God and the view of humans. So, no problems with the science around refrigeration. No one’s out picketing about that or saying like refrigeration, I think it’s a bad thing, I mean you kind of see where I’m going with this. Or no one is like has morally opposed to the kinds of technologies, the goods with the automobile or other… I mean there’s there’s all kinds of science and technology things that we completely take for granted, in our society, and then we generally think are extremely positive. And people who are religious, particularly Christians, don’t differ any from the general public on these kinds of things that all you’ve assigned pretty positively, and technology in particular. But, these beginning of life technologies, so in our book, we go through several scientific issues, there were Christians in particular seem to have some kind of tension or at least give pause, beginning of life technology. So I’m thinking about things like, reproductive genetic technologies. So, making changes perhaps in-vitro or even a pre-in-vitro, which can, you know, rectify some types of disease or these, some of these aren’t able to be applied yet, but are on the horizon what we might call enhancement technologies, so this is a kind of colloquial expression but, perhaps you prefer a child that has blue eyes rather than brown eyes or brown eyes rather than blue, would there be the possibility, this is on the horizon, of selecting for these kinds of things. In-vitro fertilization, a reproductive technology, human embryonic stem cell researc, which you’ve hear probably a lot about in the news as well. So these kinds of things cause particular religious groups pause, actually, Jews, Muslims, and Chrisitians, of all types, these particular technologies cause them some pause. But, Evangelicals, in particular, so 66% of Evangelicals think that most forms of human reproductive genetic technologies are morally wrong. And 46% of mainline Protestants say that they’re morally wrong. But this is compared to only 20% of the non-religious. And we do more complex statistical analyses, kind of teasing out some of these things in the book, but on the face of it, there’s some big religious differences there when it comes to these kinds of technologies which we would traditionally think of as the beginning of life technologies. So, this is where it seems to, kind of the rubber meets the road, that some of these beginning of life technologies seem to apply a playing God for certain religious people. So, here’s a man who goes to an Evangelical church who says, “I referenced the Tower of Babel a little bit earlier and people tried to build a tower so high that they could get to God, that they could be equal with God and I think when we start playing God, with human genetics, we are doing the same thing, we’re putting ourselves equal with God. So I think that would be sinful. This playing God, a motif came up a lot in our research. Here’s another one, a mainline Protestant says, “The idea of human beings fucking around with our genomes to create, to basically really completely and totally make ourselves God, that scares me a little…”, I think it exactly scares him a lot, “…I think that is a really dangerous road we’re going down, in part because of the theological implications. It’s a pretty extraordinary form of idolatry”. And this is coming from someone who’s part of a mainline Protestant Church. The uniqueness of humans, so really the thesis of our book that is that it’s about God in humans and the theology that really is indicating. So, people are not, they’re not entirely just having knee-jerk reactions that then they think the science has some kinds of implications for these very important theological ideas. So, another Evangelical Christian says, “I don’t consider myself extremely knowledgeable, but according to the Bible, human life is sacred and I believe, based on my study of the Bible, that human life begins at conception. So, anytime after conception if you’re engaging in a practice that could lead to the destruction of human life, given that definition, I think
that’s a problem”. Another issue, of course, is evolution and here’s where we did something that’s a little bit unconventional in this research and we borrowed this approach from Jonathan Hill, my colleague at Calvin College, who gives people six narratives and when we ask them in the survey about evolution. So, on one end is the God created the universe, the earth, and all of life within the past 10,000 years so a kind of traditional, young earth perspective. To the other end, evolution without involvement of God. The universe and earth came into being billions of years ago. All life, including humans, evolved, including humans, evolved over millions of years from earlier life-forms due to environmental pressure to adapt. There was no God or intelligent force involved in either the creation or evolution of life. So my co-author and I, as well as Jonathan Hill scholar I just mentioned, think that a lot of the, the questions that survey researchers have asked about evolution have been pretty problematic. Have not given people a variety of choices that really allowed them to answer these questions a nuanced way. So another thing that we did was, which was kind of different, is we didn’t force people to choose only one thing. We allowed them, if you wanted to say like I believe all six of these a little bit you could. We found that people are incredibly inconsistent. So, people did.They are only consistent when we as researchers make them be consistent, or pretend that they’re consistent, so people actually did choose both of these things. Both the young earth and the evolution with no God. So, so, but we found that nearly 40% of Evangelicals actually couldn’t commit as a true believer to any single perspective on the origin of life. Although, Evangelicals also were the group that was most likely to commit to the young earth for those who were, who did commit. And so, that was kind of interesting to us. And here’s where the interviews became super instructive because we found that the evolutionary science really didn’t matter as much as the particular perspective, if the particular perspective of evolution allowed for God. And so, that whole idea is that evolution was problematic only in as much as it seemed to kind of be messing around with the uniqueness of humans and the involvement of God in the world. And there’s people who’ve written tons on this and I can point you to particular books that are good, but this is what we found. This is what’s our social science research showed. So, here’s an Evangelical Christian who said the, “Idea of a creator. Was a creator behind evolution? Or is there a creator or not? Is more important. Could a creator have used evolution as a means to create man or something? Sure, why not? But I think, “is there a creator?”, is a much more important question”. So, you can see the kind of, how people are struggling with that particular question. Whether or not evolution allows for God. And then the uniqueness of humans as well. And I put up a quote from a rabbi just to show that this was a very liberal rabbi. If you, I went on to talk with her about all kinds of issues and she’d definetly come on the liberal side of things theologically. But she too, she said we don’t get too hung up on any of these specific details when talking about evolution. But, they read about a plan, that God had a plan and human beings, created in the image of God. So, even she is kind of saying well, really, evolution still needs to allow for human beings to be created in the image of God and of course for God’s particular kind of plan. And here’s a Latino Christian from a Catholic Church who says, “We believe that we’re made in the image of God. So my physical form, or whatever, the physiology of man can change over a lifetime, and we’ll probably keep doing so, but this doesn’t affect anything of who we come from or where we’re going. I’m not going to change my opinion if someone comes and says we are created out of nothing. This is interest, this is an interesting quote to me and this came up in other interviews as well because some of the scientists I talked with, from my other research, think that convincing particular groups of religious people about evolution is only a matter of providing them better and more accurate information. They sort of want you know, the techniques of evolution need to be explained better. And I think that that’s partly right, but these data also show that you know, understanding something and assenting to it are perhaps to different kinds of
cognitive processes. And that you know the scientists who are saying it’s just
a matter of giving more information also need to understand the kind of
underlying reasons that some people are rejecting evolution and what’s at stake
for them. So when I’m giving these data in talks to the science community, I
say, well you need to understand you know this is not, it’s not helpful to say
oh you’re dumb you, don’t you don’t know enough right? That’s not a helpful
rhetoric. Instead, we need to be asking well what’s at stake for you right and trying to understand some of those underlying reasons. So I said Christians, you know, really are on board with science but perhaps related to the
uniqueness of humans and the allowance for the intervention of God, Christians
have the perception that scientists are kind of against them. And they, for their
part, do not always trust scientists. So, this came out in these data quite a bit, that there is a general sense amongst the Christians that we studied, and really, Evangelicals in particular, but also Catholics, and even some mainline Protestants, that scientists are perhaps against them, are not, do not have the best interests of religious people in mind or perhaps even morally biased. So we asked them, so to what extent do you think scientists are hostile to religion? So, 36% of Evangelical Christians think
that most scientists are hostile to religion. Here’s an evangelical, from a largely Latino congregation, who says, “I guess that scientists do have an agenda of trying to disprove God”. And these next couple of quotes I point out the ethnic and racial background of the respondent because we did find that these kinds of sentiments tended to come up in Latino and historically black congregations in particular. This perception as scientists were up against them. And this person says, “I wonder if certain scientists are against Christians”. 60% of Evangelicals think that scientists should be more open to considering miracles in their work. So when I assert statistics that say Christians are pro-science, some scientists say when I give this statistic, well, what kind of science is it that they’re in favor of? This doesn’t seem like real science if they want to allow for miracles. Here’s a respondent from a largely black church who says that, “I think that especially in science, people would be more apt to find a bone in the ground and say this is the missing link. This is what proves evolution. We can finally shut up those rotten Christians”. So here are some things I’m learning. This is by no means the entirety of these two books. I just kind of picked out some snippets of things that I thought would be interesting to share with you tonight, but here are some things that, that I’ve been thinking about, from my particular standpoint as a person who’s been a Christian for quite a while and also is very involved in her church. Here’s some things from my research that, that I want the church to struggle with, whether that I’m struggling with in the midst of my church. I think as Christians that, we ought to have a concern for changing our institutions. We don’t tend to talk very
much about that in most churches. We tend to dwell a lot on change in the individual person and I think that’s extremely important. Each of us has a very unique and personal faith narrative and faith journey, but there’s also a place for structural change and that’s where I think sociology can be a very helpful corrective in focusing us back to the institutional and to the structural. So, what can we do to change our universities? So we’re in a university. Some of us will end up in universities long term. So, when it comes to these family life kinds of issues, I started thinking through my study of
family gender and science about how I could think about equality of access to
child care in my particular university context. So, our university for example, provides a daycare which is amazing. Most universities do not have this as a resource. So, my daughter from the time she was three months until she was age five, actually, went to our on-campus university daycare, which allowed me to breastfeed her for quite a long time because she, are you allowed to say
breastfeeding in a public environment? Is that right? Put it right out there so,
looking around and wondering for how many of you this is relevant but that’s
all right he’s put it out there. So, so that’s, that’s a really cool thing if
you’re you know not there yet you may be or it may know someone who is so so
that’s neat. But, the, the university the on-campus daycare is so darned expensive
that only professors can afford it and not graduate students and even
postdoctoral fellows. So, what would it meet, what it mean, what it mean for me
as a tenured professor at my university, someone who has life time employment,
unless I commit some kind of morally egregious act so you know what would it
means for me to fight for equality of access to childcare for people who have
less resources in my particular university environment and non-standard
childcare benefits. I think this is important not just in universities, but
in many sectors the corporate world and in some ways, corporate sector is doing
better than some universities along these lines so, when you have to travel
for work for example, is there funding to bring along a nanny with you, if you have to
take a young child or if you have a sick child and you have to be at work. Another thing that my university does, which is really wonderful is provides a certain number of, what we call, backup child care hours for faculty where you have as part of your healthcare benefit,
that you have you can call this hotline if you have to teach a class or do
something else for your professional workers professor and they’ll send over
a care provider if you have a sick child. I mean that’s extraordinary so, companies
have done that but universities are just starting to do that kind of thing
non-standard childcare benefits. And then I think institutionally, in our churches, are there ways in which churches in particular can support scientists as a people group. So, would there be structural ways. I gave some of these data from the “Failing Families, Failing Science” book at Yale University to their Christian medical and dental society group several years back, and it was a really neat kind of conversation because there were both people who are part of church
communities and people who weren’t in the same room and we got into kind of
interesting conversation about well what would people who don’t go to church want
from churches in terms of helping them with family life and really helping say
you know parents both of whom are in graduate school or both of whom or a
postdoctoral fellows really stay in the sciences when they have young children.
So what could churches do in terms of providing daycare. What, could this be kind of a missional outreach to the scientific community? And then something which I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, is the whole issue of justice in science, and in particular, minority representation in science and let me tell you a little bit about that and I think the church can have a really
special role here. So these groups are underrepresented in science. So
Christians are underrepresented in science. Non-whites, particularly black
Christians and Latinos, are vastly underrepresented in science. So depending
on what kind of polls you look at and how you measure religious participation,
you know we’ve got over 85% some. Over 90% of African Americans think of
themselves as Christians to a certain extent. Yet, this is a group that less than 1% of whom are in the science community especially at elite research universities, and I think this is a very
very serious justice issue. And so, what could the church do in Houston, in my particular City, Latino and African-American congregations are huge providers of after-school programs for families that we have some very prominent and amazing churches in our community that are just doing the lion’s share of after-school provision you know, providing two or three hours of afterschool. Could those particular after-school programs be utilized for science enrichment in some kind of special way. So, what would it mean as a church to imagine maybe churches which have more science resources teaming
together with the churches who have other kinds of resources so sort of
thinking about that kind of imagination I’m in a group right now that is working
with a private school actually in Houston to try to sponsor a STEM program
this summer for kids who wouldn’t necessarily have like a high education
place to go during the summer and so what would it mean for churches to be
participating in what I would think of as science justice. I, this quote from an
African-American pastor I interviewed is particularly troubling for me when he
said, “Science still for a lot of African Americans is a no-trespassing zone”. I
could go on and on about this. Our team is doing some very specific research in
this area right now. And then I think at the more cultural or interpretive level,
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can tell different kind of stories about
the good. And this is where I think the Christian notion of redemption is
extremely important here when we think about things like justice and science.
When we think about faith in science so, how can we be a people group that tell
different kinds of stories than the common cultural narratives that we hear.
So, I want to think some about what godly ambition means. So the gender and science and the faith and science work have kind of melded together in my mind. But, I don’t hear very much, in our churches, about women being ambitious and what that might mean for women to be ambitious in
a church environment. I don’t hear stories of that what would that mean to
tell those kinds of stories. We usually think both in our university contexts,
there’s so many times that I’ve heard colleagues say I have these kids and
they’re a problem for my work for these particular kinds of problems but what
would it mean to think of our children as a blessing to our work? What would
that mean to tell a different kind of narrative about the ways in which having
children can enrich our work? I had this really lovely interview with a woman,
who’s a scientist, who had just had a child and said that the particular kind
of scientific work that she did with cell cultures had really changed since
she’d had a child. And she thought of herself as nurturing those cultures in a
kind of different and innovative way that she learned as a parent. And that’s
kind of an odd term, I owe, meaning, that I don’t hear it very often amongst the
scientists. And I’ve interviewed over a thousand scientists and I’ve not heard
very many talk about their scientific work, the participating in their scientific
work is a form of nurture. But, I thought that was a very interesting way of
cultivating a different kind of story in the scientific environment where we
think about science and family life is really enriching each other. And then
stories about work and family is both men’s and women’s issues. So, that this
work family tension is not just a woman’s issue, but that it’s an issue for
people, right. And so, how do we think about that in telling a different kind
of story about whose concern, work and family together, are. And then when it
comes to science and faith, what would it mean to think about the science and
faith is not just a struggle but are there ways in which we could think about
science and faith in our church communities? Could we tell stories of collaboration?
Could we be honest about tensions? So, the first time that a student has any kind of tension with faith and science shouldn’t be in a university classroom. It should be when they’re age seven in a youth group. When they’re starting to ask hard questions of the faith, right. Those
should be safe places where we could tell our stories of tension and struggle,
but then also have people tell their stories of collaboration and beauty. So, I
think those are those are important things to think about. So, I think I will
leave us there and really love to have your conversation and your questions if
we have time for that at this point. So, thank you. [Audience Clapping] […] (Professor Wall-Scheffler)
So, as we mentioned, we’re gonna have people with questions to just come down to the bottom of the aisle I think and Dr. McKinney will be on this side and I will be on this side and of course, we would like to open up questions to students first. So, if you are student and have a question for Dr.Ecklund, please come forward. (Dr.Ecklund)
They have to walk forward, alright. Yeah. I’m going to open a LaCroix now. (Soda Can Opening) (Dr.Ecklund laughing) (Dr.Ecklund)
Woah, sorry, I’ll come back here. (Audience laughing) […] (Dr.Ecklund)
Thank you. (Audience 1)
Is it appropriate to ask of your data why the church and people in the church have found mistrust with scientists, specifically, but not the discipline of science? (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah, so these… I hate to tell you this
but, social science can never tell you anything 100%, right. They’re sort of sub-…
like directions. So, here’s two things that I think are going on from the data
I’ve collected over the past ten years. It seems from our data that Christians do not know very many scientists. So, we have different ways of measuring this, but they have low relational networks when it comes to scientists, they don’t know very many of them. It seems yet, I find through my studies of scientists that there are Christians who are scientists so where are they? It
seems from interviewing them that they don’t feel very comfortable talking
about their scientific work in church. So, there those two things seem to be going
on that they perhaps are participating but they don’t feel comfortable talking
about their particular work. So, I think there needs to be more effort perhaps
made in the part of church leaders or particular congregations that would allow scientists to feel more comfortable talking about their work in a church context. It seems very very important. It almost seems like in this day and age that this is a special role that scientists might need to have. Where they’re bringing their science to church in a really profound way, right. I’m involved in some, actually, my husband and I usually lead a program at our church called, it’s part of a larger movement that some churches have been involved in, called “Science and Congregations” where we like, you know, have scientists share about their work in the church and then for churches that don’t have very many scientists, we export ours over there, you know. Sorry, that’s kind of, so, generally thinking about ways of getting scientists out, sharing about their work. […] (Audience 2)
Faith can be views that we’re more open to the concept of science, specifically Jewish communities and critical non-western communities. Were there any like common variables in terms of like relationship to scientists or faith approach to thinking about
certain things that you guys found? (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah, there’s a really cool organization called “Sinai and Synapses” that it’s run by Rabbi Jeff Mittleman. It’s located primarily in New York City
and so they’re doing a lot around this issue and they have a really neat
website if you want to hear multiple Jewish perspectives on science. But, some
of our most famous scientists have been Jewish and there is a real history in
that particular tradition fostering science and a commitment to science. For
horrific reasons scientists who are Jewish were pushed to the US and so
there’s also has been a real pipeline of Jewish scientists migrating to the US. So
there are historical reasons for that as well, why Judaism in the U.S. in particular is so science friendly, but there has not been a historical tradition of conflict in the same way that there has been in certain Christian communities and there’s probably historians in the room who could speak
to this much more intelligently than I can, but there’s a couple of things there that I think are really important. And I, I will say briefly that in Islam in, not so much in the US but in other national contexts, that Muslims are having also struggles with science in the same kinds of ways that some
evangelical groups are in the U.S. so, there’s a lot of discussion about Islam
in science in the UK. In particular, where there’s a large number of Muslim
immigrants and in our, we are, all our team has just finished up an eight country
study of scientists attitudes towards religion, which Esther was also a big
part of. And that in that particular study we found that Muslim conflict with science came out quite a bit so… but just not in the U.S. […] (Audience 3)
Hi. (Dr.Ecklund)
Hi. (Audience 3)
So, kind of large-scale, this book is about religion versus science and how that kind of dichotomy is continuing to widen and kind of affect each other in this kind of dance, but when I think about kind of the core of that I get really curious about a lot of things. The first is that this doesn’t seem like a new problem. In fact, it seems like an eighty-year-old problem that a lot of, you know, our 20th century history was essentially about, at its greatest scales. Which was if you took the extremes of science. Whish is, well, this is what is and you don’t really matter. And the extreme of religion. Which is, this is what you are. And then, and then, it seems like when you pull those things as far apart as they get, you get those extremes and it, I’m wondering why the US and Europe has
had this problem with kind of melding these together when it seems like in places that this conflict had happened in the 20th century like Germany and Russia and nowadays, the fastest growing Christian community being (unintelligible), I’m kind of curious as to what makes those climates so different, socially, as the one we have here, how that affects this conversation. (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah, so there are some very particular historic factors related to the Enlightenment, which led to a particular kind of conflict narrative. So I would say that I’m not sure I entirely agree with your framing, historically, this, this book is not about any of that by the way but, but I’m just, we’re amusing about broader things I’ve had some exposure to so, the, there did not seem to be much of a conflict between Christianity and science for much of our early and mid Christian histories. So, in fact a kind of extreme collaboration where, you know, scientists thought of themselves as very much
exploring God and their faith through science. And so, there’s, there’s kind of a historical movement then towards conflict, and perhaps now, a kind of movement away from that in some corners. So, I do think that’s kind of interesting, but that’s a better question for a historian about the particular
historical factors that led to that. We’re finding in our studies of other national contexts that there is a conflict framing, but about different kinds of issues. So, um India has been a really interesting place to study because there isn’t within the Hindu tradition an idea
of conflict between knowledge structures but yet there are societal conflicts
about faith in science that have to do with things like is astrology as science
or not? You know, which most Americans don’t think that’s like an issue at all,
you know, that you would even talk about and so but like evolution is not really
an issue for them. So, that’s, there are different kinds of cultural contexts that have a different kind of impact on the faith-science relationship. I think it’s a take home point. (Audience 4)
You mentioned that, during some of your data, it came out that religious people who oppose say evolution wouldn’t have their minds changed by another piece of data or better data. Did you get any information from them as to what would persuade them to change their mind or how, and maybe not necessarily that particular topic, but in general. (Dr.Ecklund)
So, knowing a scientist who’s an evolutionary biologist, who’s in the worship band at your church, it’s kind- I mean it’s kind of a kitchy way to say it, right. So, people are, in our studies show this to some extent and other research I think has shown this an even greater extent than ours has but, people are often persuaded by relational networks so, having, you know, if you have an identity that’s similar to the person, so say we’re both have the same religious identity, but you’re also a scientist, because I trust your underlying faith identity, that I’m more likely to listen to the pieces of your scientist identity that I would disagree with in other conditions, if I just met a random scientists who I didn’t share my faith identity. And so that’s why I think these relational networks, so it’s almost like the relationship has to come first, and then the information passes over the relational conduit. I think it’s something that sociologists are fine and social psychologists, even more
importantly, probably are finding to some extent. […] (Dr.Ecklund)
Oh my gosh, this is great. […] (Dr.Ecklund)
Thanks for coming forward. (Audience 5)
Hi, so… (Dr.Ecklund)
Yes. (Audience 5)
You mentioned that there’s these various penalties that father’s and mother’s involved in the science and, correct me if I got this wrong, but a lot of this comes from the workplace. I was wondering if you could speak into you what type of pressure comes from within the family, concerning divorce of thought as a scientist in love with scientists
and kind of how that plays out. (Dr.Ecklund)
In terms of pressure to, about family life or work life or social expectations kinds of things? (Audience 5)
Yeah, kind of like how, the like how the prime reasons rise in different ways from within the family, the evidence found. (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah, so, our study mainly asked people about their experiences in the scientific workplace. But, in an unintended ways, we didn’t ask it but it also often came up, that scientists felt pressures from spouses. They also felt pressures from families
of origin and expectations. So, in-laws and their own parents. Say to be a
particular kind of parent so, to have you know, a certain number of children, right.
You know, the in-laws or parents wanted grandchildren and they’re like well I’m
working on my career as a scientist and this is a lot of years in training so
I’m going to delay childbearing and that being a difficulty for extended family.
So, those kind of social pressures came up in our interviews to some extent. Also,
pressures that spouses put on one another in marital relationships. So,
pressures to be a certain kind of parent, to be a certain level of availability for children,
or to do certain things with the children. Criti-, critique of the other parent for not being the kind of parent that they wanted them to be or things like that. Is that, is that what you’re thinking
of yeah, so those things came up. […] (Dr.Ecklund)
Now are the faculty allowed to ask questions? Okay. (Audience giggles) […] (Audience 6)
Did you find any difference in different
disciplines of science and, in relation to the work family conflicts, were there
more like in biology or physics? (Dr. Ecklund)
Yeah, so, I’ve written some articles that compare the disciplines. So, if you want to know more about this you can, I’m happy to
even be an email contact with you and send me some of those. So, Physics has a
vastly lower proportion of women than Biology. So, I wonder if I, I can’t remember
if I kept this slide or not. I think I did so. This is kind of interesting, right. So here’s the percentage of men and women in top twenty U.S. PhD departments So, so at the graduate student level in Physics, we’ve start out in a really different places, right. So, eighty percent graduate students are men and less than twenty, than twenty percent are women. In Biology, there’s, there’s more, no. I don’t want to do that. Have to click, there we go. Alight. Great. Thank you. In Biology
there’s more parody but then when you get as you go through the ranks and my
co-author and I did some interesting kind of analyses where we looked
overtime at the proportion of women we might expect to be full professors in
Biology, given the proportion who enter as graduate students and so there is
significant attrition. So, leaving the career, hmm, as you go forward. So, I think
these dynamics have an impact on Biology and Physics, umm. But, it’s, here’s what
we also found though, is that it’s not just enough to have women in a discipline
that, so, it’s a necessary condition but not a completely sufficient condition. So
still, cultures, we found very pervasive cultures within biology science
departments where, you know, being an involved parent was not encouraged for
example. There were ways in which department chairs discouraged involvement or discouraged women from having children or wanting to be especially
involved in their children’s lives. And discourage men from that
as well. So, so, they’re, I would say like, attention to the proportion of
women in a discipline, or in a corporation, I think you can this can
apply to other types of workplaces as well, is very important. So, trying to bring
more women in and bringing women into power positions in particular. So, it
may be a necessary condition but I still think there are other things, culturally,
that need to change beyond just increasing numbers. So that’s, that’s some
of the distinctions and there were also different reasons. My co-author and I have
written quite a bit about the reasons that scientists give for the under-representation of women in science and there are different reasons among the disciplines that they get which is really fascinating and really fun stuff and
troubling stuff to read about in an interview, so. I give you lots of things to read if you
really get interested in that topic. […] (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah. (Audience 7)
Can I ask one more question? (Dr.Ecklund)
Oh, no. (Audience 7)
Umm… (unintelligible) umm… So, I am an engineer and I found that
in engineering, an engineering field, especially at these sort of elite
universities there’s often a very international group of faculty. And I was
curious if the sort of cultural background that they come from, or from the that’s
reprsented in the faculty, had an impact as to what you were finding with the family
work culture in some of these departments. (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah, actually with both projects, we found that so, in my broader work on “Science and Religion” and “What Scientists Think About Religion”, the International nature of science that elite research universities has an impact, quite a profound impact, on that
conversation. So at top US universities, depending on the university, as many as
40% of science faculty are born outside the US. So, it’s a hugely international
environment. Mostly East Asian, South Asian, some African nations. So, this is a,
this is a really big deal. So, incomplete and coming from very different religious
cultures than in the US as well and also very different ways of thinking about
family and work so, so the answer is yes. But, my co-authors and I some of the
students and I, at Rice, are writing some articles about that right now. Sort of, sort of the immigrant experience in science and things like that so… (Audience 8)
Hi. I’m interested in whether your religious understandings of science project looked at climate change denial and
whether a Christian rejection of climate change scientists also
viewed it in theological concerns. (Dr.Ecklund)
Very much so. So there’s, I wrote an article in a, in a journal called, “Environment and Behavior”. If you want to look at it’s on, it’s on, I think, I think a copy of it’s on my website but if it’s not, you can email me. And, we found that these, you know,
vision of God and vision of humans those two issues came up with a relationship to the environment as well so, the idea almost, I hate to use theological terms in this crowd because there are some real theologians in the room, but almost it a kind of dispensational theology where,
you know, you don’t, the world is gonna burn so you don’t need to take care of
it. God’s in control, you know, we’re really need to be about saving souls so these, I
mean kind of a bunch of different kind of theologies really but came up in
these, in narratives so, there was definitely that. But there is also a
narrative of care for the earth based on a very particular vision of God, right. So,
the idea that Christians have a moral commandment to really be the leaders and
caring for the earth. Jews talk about this a lot in their vision of healing, of
healing of the earth and justice for the earth. So, that came up. Also, the uniqueness of humans came up a lot when talking about environmental care. So the idea that, you know, environmental activists put animals on the same playing field as humans. And, we ought to be much more concerned about children who are starving than we are about saving polar bears. This kind of narrative came up over and over again and what creative Christian environmental activists are doing, I think, are really teaching the church that environmental care is a justice issue for human beings as well. And that the communities, which are of course most disadvantaged by decline in the environment tend to be the poorest communities, right. The poorest nations and the poorest communities even within the richest nations. So, you think about, you don’t live next to a factory that’s giving off pollution if you have an option to live somewhere else, right, you move. So, um, so, those so those two issues came up a lot. Climate change, I, we actually just had
Al Gore on the Rice University campus and like I sat next to him. That’s very weird, (unintelligible). Not be a tease weird I’m not even making any kind of political statement,
but it’s like what do you do there, right. You just say, hey, hi. I mean (Laughs). You’re like, do you have you know questions to ask him? I’m like, no I don’t. But anyway, and then he
left. Um, but the climate change is a really interesting issue because climate change,
I mentioned Al Gore deliberately because climate change has been so merged with a
particular form of democratic politics that it has become a political issue,
right, rather than a spiritual issue or religious issue for some people. And so,
we actually found in our research that political views tended, if you separate
you there’s ways you could do this statistically, if you separate them out
from religious views that political views are really the driver in whether
or not you assent to climate change or not. So, it’s I mean, you kind of think, it’s
the Fox News Christians who are against you know her sort of climate change
deniers if you want to use that phrase and that’s that’s kind of interesting
and our research actually found that people who, even from fairly conservative
Christians who attend church more, are actually more likely to be affirmers of, you know,
climate science than are people who attend church less. So, once you get into
a practicing, what that said to us is, once you get into a practicing faith
community you actually are more on board with these kinds of things than you are
if you’re not. If you’re just sort of saying you’re a Christian but not really participating
much and you know you’re merging that with politics then, you’re not necessarily pro-climate change. That’s kind of interesting. It’s kind of a long-winded answer
but that’s kind of a complicated topic. (Audience 9)
Um, I was just wondering when you’re
studying the congregations and interviewing them, if there was a difference in answers between men and women. (Dr.Ecklund)
Oh that’s a great. So, we’re writing an article right now on gender and politics and science. So, we’re kind of throwing that all together. Yeah, I just like to talk about everything controversial, all at once, all the time. So
fun to be with me, but the so there is, there are gender differences. So my,
there’s, there’s not huge gender differences on survey data on these
issues that we talked about in the book so in terms of climate change,
environmental care, human genetic group reproductive technologies so, gender, didn’t
really figure in so much there. In our studies of scientists, um, when we talk about there, there’s one question on our survey when we talk about sort of your abstract
views of collaboration or conflict between religion and science as concepts,
so we asked our survey respondents both scientists in the general public, whether
they think that science and faith are in conflict or they collaborate or they’re
independent. And we did find women more likely to have a collaboration view,
which is interesting. I know I’m not sure exactly what to do with that, but that was a kind of interesting gender, the fact that we’re exploring a little bit […] (Audience 10)
(Laughs) (Dr.Ecklund)
I’m assuming it’s me but I don’t know that it is. (Audience 10) (Clears throat)
It could be I, um, I’m struck by the various adjectives you place in front of
University when you speak of your research sample, (Dr.Ecklund)
Mmhmm… (Audience 10)
“Elite”, (Dr.Echlund)
Mmhmm…. (Audience 10)
“Research”, “Top 20”. (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah. (Audience 10)
Uh, I’m wondering if the various conflicts you speak of and address are differently constructed at places like this one. Not so much because this is a church related place and those other places are not. So, to be a professing Christian who is an
academic scientist at an R1 place or at an elite place where faith is sort of
tapped down. The ideal scientist puts faith at hands lengh-… at arms length.
Different than at a place like this I’m thinking more that this is a teaching University (Dr.Ecklund)
Mmhmm… (Audience 10)
and not a research university. (Dr.Ecklund)
Mmhmm… (Audience 10)
Uh, where priority is given to what takes
place in the classroom and not what takes place at the bench and I’m
wondering especially for academic scientists if constructions of what the
ideal looks like or how to stage manage relationships between what research is
done over and against family stuff, over and against student stuff, results in a
very different looking profile or a very different understanding of conflict. And
I’m wondering if you have taken the set of questions that you are asking in two
places like this place, a teaching University, a private place
even sectarian place maybe but not necessarily. I’m thinking mostly the
difference between a research university and a teaching University and how
science gets practiced at places like that. (Dr.Ecklund)
So, we have done some of that research. The first two studies were just of, of feeder PhD programs. So, looking at “Science and Religion: What Scientists Think About Religion”, at top 20 PhD granting programs and looking at “Family Life in Science”, so those were intentional studies of those particular kinds of contexts and I think for good
reason. So, those places tend to produce a disproportionate number of PhDs who
teach at all kinds of places so they are they do have a particular kind of
institutional influence. But, in our second study of religious understandings
of science, we did a very intentional oversample of scientists of all types. So,
in that population we had people who taught at community colleges. People who
taught at four-year institutions. People who are scientists outside of a
university context, which was particularly interesting. And those
people had very different views of the religion and science relationship than
people at top institutions. And so, there’s been for some reason,
maybe you can tell me why, um, psychologists historically and some
sociologists have been very interested in this question, are people at elite
institutions different than people at other kinds of institutions and their
views in the religion and science relationship? And been thinking thinking for
many many years is that scientists at elite institutions know more about science and
are somehow better scientists and once you know more about science then you
necessarily are negative towards religion or let go of religion and so
I’ve huge problems with those studies because they really assume the conflict
in the entire framing of this is of the whole question. So, I think it’s also
wrong to assume that people who at elite teaching at elite institutions
necessarily know the most about science that there’s a kind of elitism built
into the study itself. And so, our research I think has disproven some of
those earlier studies but even more importantly, I wonder if people at elite
institutions are socialized into particular kinds of perspectives on
these issues. So, I mean it could be that there’s a sort of per-…, as you go, sort of up
if you want to call it that in the elite-ness scale, you know, maybe it is that you
know more about science or something and you sort of, there’s sort of a
knowledge thing that’s going on. But, I think it’s much more likely that it’s a
socialization thing that’s going on or a self-selection thing that’s going on
where perhaps people are self-selecting into those kind of institutions because
they want to be sort of maniacally devoted to science at the expence of
everything else or because, you know, there’s sort of there’s ways in which
you can think about self selection and I have some evidence for that, which is
that when we ask people their religion at age 16 and then their religion now
that scientists at elite institutions disproportionately come from
non-religious homes. It’s, it’s actually pretty hard to find a large group of
second-generation atheists meaning that you were raised in a theist home that
just doesn’t exist very much in the U.S. It’s a fairly religious culture. It does
in a science community at those kinds of institutions. So, a disproportionate
number of second-generation atheists so there’s some evidence for for what
you’re saying for sure. I wouldn’t say it’s entirely, ouch… It’s not entirely
conclusive evidence but I think there is some good evidence that it’s maybe self-selection and socialization and that elite scientists are different, in some ways, with relationship to religion and science and maybe other things. (Audience 11)
Hey, um, I have a question about where do you find more Christian Scientists at. So, do find them more at academia or in places of research like in companies like… I don’t know… I don’t know… um… (Dr.Ecklund)
Intel or… (Audience 11)
Yeah (Dr.Ecklund)
Vashlom or, you know, whatever… (Audience 11)
The end like, if you see a discrepancy between the two, is there a reason why you see them? (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah, I think for some things that,
you know, these same kinds of issues that we’re just talking about
here so, so people who work as scientists in research and development or in
corporations are very similar to the general public in their attitudes towards religion. They’re actually are about the same. There’s a little bit, there’s a little bit of under-representation.
There’s about the same proportion of evangelicals for example and mainline
Protestants as there is in the general population. There is a pretty radical
difference when you compare the general population, religiously, to scientists who
teach at places like Stanford and Harvard and Princeton. They tend to be
disproportionately religious and people who are conservative Catholics, really
Catholics in general not just conservative Catholics but Catholics and
evangelicals are pretty vastly underrepresented. Now why is that the
case? Um, I’m not exactly sure. I do think that evidence does point a bit towards
socialization. There is a bit of a turn. So actually, compared my survey data on
scientists to surveys that have been done of U.S. faculty over the years. The
Carnegie Commission did some historic surveys of faculty, who I replicated those
surveys. There does seem to be actually an uptick in the religiosity of younger
scientists, so I don’t know if that points to, I don’t think it’s a large enough
uptick to point to a sea change in in religious belief but there does see to be more graduate students and postdoctoral fellws who are religious when compared to older faculty. It may be a life course matter. I don’t think it is. Our data points towards, actually, a generational change
rather than a life course kind of thing. […] (Audience 12)
I was thinking about how there are
class differences in terms of parental care (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah. (Audience 12)
Uh, and the type of effort that parents are expecting to put forth in cross-cultural differences (Dr.Ecklund)
Social class differences. (Audience 12)
Social class differences. (Dr.Ecklund)
Oh, yeah for that. (Audiene 12)
And then also, in cross-cultural differenes as well. And I was wondering if any of that came out in your interviews that you did with male and female scientists and how they perceive their role as parents and as scientist. (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah, and I’m, I’m thinking back to the question, you asked of, the gentlemen,
asked about sort of intra-family pressures. So, within family pressures. So,
that did come out that across, so, we’ve done a recent study of scientists in 8
different nations so cultural differences in family expectations and
are pretty important so and have an impact on science. So, for example, you know women’s and men’s roles in India and Taiwan. We study India and Taiwan and Hong Kong. There are differences then you know other countries we in those countries are certainly not the same. So, that’s, so
the sort of cultural differences, the national cultural differences are very
important. Science is, I mean whether or not you’re talking about elite
universities are not elite universities, science as a whole is an elite
enterprise. Nature and science have both done research briefs on this recently
that science is disproportionately the province of the elite social class wise.
People who get PhDs in basic science you know are privileged large by and large.
So, that’s and that’s something that’s the science community itself is
concerned about so all that to say I’m not sure we would have good data on
social class differences but yeah go ahead (Audience 13)
Yeah, so I was just wondering, so if you’re like upper class parents are supposed to spend more time, you know like, their kids are supposed to learn instruments and take, do sports and… (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah (Audience 13)
…multi-outlets I mean there’s a lot of them. So, there’s a lot more time that’s put into parenting and I was kind of wondering if you saw, but it sounds like you didn’t have have us a sample of… (Dr.Ecklund)
Yeah I don’t think we would know that. I would sort of just know that anecdotally from things scientists I said, you know, that I interviewed we didn’t really ask systematic questions about that so whether just sort of the amount of time
required to parent in you know like upper social class kinds of environments
is putting an undue strain yeah that’s interesting question. Really
interesting question. People did talk a lot about having to take their children
for lessons (Dr.Ecklund laughs) (Professor Daniels)
We’re crossing problems with this mic. (Professor Daniels)
We’ve got time for one more question
so I think, uh Hita Bell has one. (Audience 14)
Hi. Thanks for your time. (Dr.Ecklund)
Sure. (Audience 14)
I’m not a sociologist so this question may betray my ignorance but the other slide up there about different types of Christianity and Catholicism and what they thought about science as a whole, and I was just curious, you got Pope Francis, Jesuit, and PhD in chemistry right, is it? Uh… But, I was curious if Pope Francis’s past had any sort of influence on the Catholic perspective on science. (Dr.Ecklund)
Scientists who were Catholics who I interviewed
after he became Pope did mention him. I mean I think he’d had an impact on the Catholic Church in general. I don’t know how to measure what impact he would have on science, but that’s an interesting question that the Catholic Church I mean I’m thinking about you know the
traditionally, so science, so here’s where the Catholic Church came up a lot in the
popular imagination of scientists was you know the Galileo affair. So almost
every, and these are people like, some of whom would I think just know very little
about religion but everyone knows about Galileo. This was their sort of version
of what happened and how that’s evidenced that there’s an inherent
conflict between religion and science and um… and so that’s interesting, but I did
find among the Catholic scientists that we surveyed and interviewed for our
research that they seem to have a lot at their disposal for thinking through
science and faith issues. So, it strikes me that they, this is just from the
scientists that we interviewed in our study, this is not my own historical
understanding, it seems that they are thinking a lot about these issues have
read a lot of books about science and faith. Had a kind of vocabulary to talk
about science and faith perhaps more so than the Protestants in the sample. I
also think Catholic higher education and private edu-, pri-, private Catholic education is
robust in the sciences in the U.S. in a way that has become a feeder for
scientists. Um, and we did find, comparing our survey data to previous surveys, that
there is a rise in the proportion of Catholics in science. Perhaps because of
the prominence of Catholic higher education so that’s kind of interesting.
Those are some Catholic tidbits that came out of data. Yeah. You said one more I’m gonna
let the, you cut me off. Are you going to cut me off? (Professor Daniels)
Yeah, I’m going to cut you off. (Dr.Ecklund)
Okay. (Professor Daniels)
My mics not working anymore. (Dr.Ecklund Laughing) (Professor Daniels)
Wait, wait. I, I, one of the things I neglected to mention when I introduced Elaine is that she flew up from Houston this morning. If
you’ve been following the weather in Houston, shut down the airport because of
ice storms what that meant was that Elaine had to get up at 4:30 this
morning, Houston time, which is 2:30 our time, to make it here. She had a
delayed flight in San Francisco. She did make it here barely and is
time for her to go to bed. (Audience laughing) (Professor Daniels)
So, I’m going to be a little protective, um… (Audience Clapping)




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *