God in the Lab
Vol. 4, Num. 11
Toumey uses the appointment of evangelical Christian Francis Collins as head of the National Institutes of Health and the subsequent backlash in the atheist community to analyze how religious scientists really are and what religion in science might mean for nanotechnology. While the vast majority of Americans are in some way religious, a little over half of the scientists polled in a General Social Survey in 2004 said they held religious beliefs. While this does not square with the general views of the public, it is also somewhat surprising to Toumey to see that almost half of the scientists interviewed were religious. In a discipline where reason trumps faith, the idea that these people might temper their belief in evolution with a belief in God not only shakes the foundations of scientific objectivity itself but also has serious implications for nanotechnology, an emerging field that could be devastated by the battle between Christians and atheists, should it be caught in the middle. At the very least, an in-depth discussion of religions role in science would be called for in such a situation.