Professor Elaine Howard Ecklund is a leading sociologist studying the interface of science and religion. Her research has demonstrated the (perhaps) surprising reality that scientists themselves often do not subscribe to the view that science and religion exist in inherent conflict. In this article, Ecklund goes deeper into her sociological findings: while recognizing that scientists and religious believers are often affirming of each other’s pursuits, she also acknowledges the deep suspicions on both sides of the discussion. For example, religious believers often fear that scientific knowledge will challenge core propositions of their respective faiths, or that technological advances will threaten ethical and moral principles valued by various faiths. On the other hand, scientists often view religious groups – and more conservative groups in particular – as refusing to acknowledge the importance and reality of scientific evidence and methodology. What is needed, Ecklund suggests, is intellectual humility on both sides of the science and religion conversation. The issues at hand are often so complex, and require such nuance, that reflective input from both religious and scientific voices is key to both deeper knowledge and societal progress.

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