A new sociological study by Gordon Gauchat claims there has been, in the past four decades, a dramatic decline in churchgoers’ faith in science. The study, published last week in the American Sociological Review, finds that “public trust in science has not declined since the 1970s except among conservatives and those who frequently attend church.”

No doubt Pastafarians of the world (for those of you who don’t know, those are members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster—founded as a gibe at religion as irrational) will titter with glee at this “I-told-you-so” moment. The study plays into the popular trope that Christians are inclined by their religion to oppose science.

Regardless whether Gauchat’s paper has credibility from a purely empirical view (sociological studies being notoriously “soft”), it does offer opportunity for learning.

As a member of the scientific community, and a conservative Christian, perhaps I can add some insight into why churchgoers might be much less trustful of “science” than decades ago. I have all the qualifications usually claimed as proof of credibility: a Ph.D. (in physics), a consistent record of government-funded research for more than a decade, and an extensive list of peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals.

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