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:
So why don’t they correct it? Do they enjoy making Spaniards look silly?
Siobhan Elizabeth says
You’d have to go to the person who created the map, and the folks who did the survey it was based on, for that. The author of this article didn’t do either the map or the survey, and so cannot change the work of others. All this person can do is point out that in the case of Spain and Morocco, the question was mistranslated, and so the map (and any official reports on the survey) should be changed to show the actual opinion of these two countries.
A misleading question. It doesn’t determine if people are religious at all. Science is contested and changes daily and a conflicting is a matter of opinion and doctrine
This is bullshit, spaniards are not that retarded. Where did you asked the questions, in churchs?
Siobhan Elizabeth says
They said in the article the question was mistranslated. Same for Morocco. The article discusses a map created by someone else, so they can’t alter the graphic, but point out that it has two major errors to it.
E J says
There are a couple of issues with the question itself. I don’t know the exact details of the project, but if I requested a grant with such a question, in most places there would be a quick big, fat reject.
The question first of all assumes a adversarial relationship between science and religion. Sure there are those who consider that to be the case, but they tend to be more partisan popular personalities, most today would consider science and religion to occupy a non-overlapping domains, some consider science itself to be a sub-domain of religion, but nowadays that too is not taken seriously. Yes, the question uses the qualifying “whenever”, but if that whenever is found not to ever exist then the question is invalid to start with.
The second problem is the intimidating nature of the question. In both cases people answer the way they answer because they think that is how it ought to be answered. Belief in science has been built as a value in “blue” countries, and quite contrary, trust in faith is an overriding value in the “red” countries. The respondents would be very intimidated to go against these values in both cases. Thus, no matter the results, it is very hard to gauge what people really think on this issue.
Diren Yardimli says
Not is the map misleading, it’s downright stupid. Agreeing %50 and disagreeing %50 with the statement are basically the same thing. So Turkey agrees %50 while the US disagrees %50. What does it show me?
I thought the same thing, but know I think it’s plus signs and not percentage signs. Which means that +/-0 is 50% of both statement and not +50 for and +50 against.
Also a fairly good graphic showing the terrible places on earth and the best places on earth to live or visit.