Are science and religion doomed to conflict with each other? Looking at the map above, it seems that for the time being, in many countries, science and religion remain at odds.
The map is based on the World Values Survey where people were asked whether they agreed with the following statement:
Whenever science and religion conflict, religion is always right
Surprisingly, the US disagrees more than it agrees with the statement, showing that there may yet be hope for the country. However, large sections of the developing world still rate religion answers to problems above those from science.
Given that the 21st century will likely be more science based than previous centuries, this does not bode well for them. The notable exception is China (although how much longer can it be termed developing?) which rates science far above religion.
But, just to be clear valuing science above religion is no guarantee of economic growth, just look at Japan over the past 20 years compared to the very religious Gulf states. However, I suspect if you looked at global trends, more science-oriented societies have tended to grow faster than more religious ones.
The keen-eyed among you may be scratching your heads at Spain and Morocco, both of which seem to show the opposite of what you’d expect. After some keen sleuthing reddit user helmetk uncovered the following:
Ok, found it! There’s an error in the spanish translation:
“Whenever science and religion conflict, religion is always right”
is translated as
“Cuando la ciencia y la religión entran en conflicto, la ciencia siempre tiene razón” -> “Whenever science and religion conflict, science is always right”.
The morroco (french) translation: “Quand la science et la religion sont en conflit, la science a toujours raison” has the same problem
So the two countries should have their views switched to the opposite of what they said.
Another frustrating feature of the map is that it omits Canada and many Western European countries. While we can guess at what they might have answered, it still would be interesting to see how they compare to very science-focused Australia.
To read more about the science vs religion debate, consider the following books:
- The God Delusion
- The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning
- The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
Any country on the map surprise you? Leave your comment below: