What are the Religious Views of Leading Scientists Who Support Evolution?
Although the idea of “theistic evolution” receives plenty of attention from the newsmedia, it clearly represents a fringe position among leading biologists. According to a 1998 survey of members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), nearly 95% of NAS biologists identify themselves as either atheists or agnostics, a percentage of unbelief far higher than in any other scientific discipline.
Similarly, according to a 2003 Cornell survey of leading scientists in the field of evolution, 87% deny existence of God, 88% disbelieve in life after death, and 90% reject idea that evolution directed toward “ultimate purpose.”
Outside the circle of top biologists, the rates for atheism and agnosticism are somewhat lower, but they still are dramatically higher than the rates found in the general population. According to a national survey of faculty at both four-year and two-year colleges and universities published in 2007, more than 60% of all college biologists consider themselves atheists or agnostics.
The rates of atheism and agnosticism are not quite as high among scientists outside the field of biology, but again, they are dramatically higher than what is found among the general population. According to a survey published in 2007 of college professors at the nation’s major research universities, nearly 64% of scientists at those institutions classified themselves as atheists or agnostics.
In sum, Darwinian biologist Richard Dawkins, avowed atheist and author of The God Delusion, is far more representative of the beliefs of evolutionary biologists than Christian geneticist Francis Collins, author of The Language of God.