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While 83 percent of Americans say they believe in God and 12 percent believe in a “higher power,” 41 percent of U.S. scientists believe in neither, a study by the Pew Research Center revealed. And of U.S. scientists ages 65 and above, nearly half are either atheists or agnostics.
“However, unlike the general population, younger scientists are more likely than older scientists to have a belief in God or a higher power,” the study said. “In addition, more chemists than those in other specialties say they believe in God.”
“Scientists are also far more likely to identify religiously as unaffiliated than is the general public (48% vs. 17%) or as atheist (17% vs. 2%).”
Despite the difference in religious beliefs between scientists and the American public, 84 percent of U.S. citizens believe science has had a positive effect on society and made life easier for most people. Nearly seven in 10 citizens—including those who disagree on the validity of evolution and other scientific topics, or are skeptical of scientific findings—highly regard scientists when compared to other professions. Only members of the military and teachers rate higher for contributing to society’s well-being.