The study, titled, “Examining Links Between Religion, Evolution Views and Climate-Change Skepticism” and published in the “Environment and Behavior” journal, looked at the claim that there is a collective “anti-science” streak embraced by the members of some conservative Christian groups.
The research, which was undertaken by Elaine Howard Ecklund, a sociology professor at Rice University, found that, while 20 percent of the U.S. population is skeptical about human beings’ role in climate change, a much larger proportion — 45 percent — has qualms with the idea of “natural evolution,” believing it is probably or definitely false.
And skepticism over evolution skyrocketed among self-described evangelicals in the study, with 70 percent expressing the belief that it is likely false; meanwhile, 28 percent of evangelicals said the climate either isn’t changing or that humans are not responsible for what’s unfolding on the global warming front.
Ecklund said the results paint a different picture than some might assume when it comes to the meshing of religion and politics, according to the Rice University statement.
“This is different from the popular account that the people who oppose climate-change research and the people who oppose the teaching of evolution are the same and that evangelical Protestantism is clearly linked to both,” she said.
The study’s abstract expounds upon these themes, noting that media portrayals of late have attempted to tie together skepticism of both evolution and climate change.
According to the text, there’s a “modest association between the two forms of skepticism” and there are “shared predictors” such as lower education levels, political conservatism and a lack of confidence in science. But the text also noted that there’s a sizable difference in strength between the two forms of skepticism.
“On the whole … religion has a much stronger and clearer association with evolution skepticism than with climate change skepticism,” the abstract reads.
The study itself notes that those who attend more religious services are more likely to be skeptical of evolution than the religiously unaffiliated — another fact that isn’t all that surprising.
The professor’s analysis was based on 9,636 U.S. adults who were part of national survey data.
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