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Do you think all scientists are atheists? Heres why youre wrong
Despite what you may think, not all scientists are atheists. In fact, many have religious beliefs. - photo by Herb Scribner
Scientists dont just spend time with beakers and test tubes, but also with Bibles in the pews.

Thats according to a new survey out of Rice University, which looked into how scientists and religion co-exist and found that scientists across the world identify with religion, despite the common-held belief that scientists are atheists and less likely to have faith.

Though researchers found scientists overall are less religious than the general population, there were countries where the amount of scientists who identified as religious were almost 50 percent, according to the press release.

"More than half of scientists in India, Italy, Taiwan and Turkey self-identify as religious," Elaine Howard Ecklund the study's lead investigator, said in a press release. "And it's striking that approximately twice as many 'convinced atheists' exist in the general population of Hong Kong, for example, (55 percent) compared with the scientific community in this region (26 percent)."

Many scientists will use their faith and religious beliefs to help them solve ethical questions in the lab, according to the press release.

"(Religion provides a) check on those occasions where you might be tempted to shortcut because you want to get something published and you think, 'Oh, that experiment wasn't really good enough, but if I portray it in this way, that will do, one professor said in the survey.

To find this, researchers collected information from 9,422 respondents from countries across the world, including France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, Medical Daily reported. They then interviewed 609 scientists in-depth for more information.

A similar study from Rice University in 2014 found that about 18 percent of scientists attend weekly religious services, which is just two percentage points less than the general U.S. population.

"Science is a global endeavor," Ecklund said in the recent press release. "And as long as science is global, then we need to recognize that the borders between science and religion are more permeable than most people think."

But, as the study noted, there has long been a belief among popular culture and researchers that scientists dont believe in God or religion. In fact, a 2013 study out of Princeton University found that religious countries tend to make fewer technological and scientific advances.

"No one today can deny that there is a popular 'warfare' framing between science and religion," Ecklund said. "This is a war of words fueled by scientists, religious people and those in between."

But there have been times when science and faith have worked together.

For example, scientists have often supported the Buddhist religious practice of meditation, since its been known to provide health benefits for medical patients, which I wrote about earlier his year.

Similarly, through history, religion has encouraged scientists and philosophers to look to the stars for answers, which has increased scientific research, which I wrote about in September 2014.

And many Americans feel science and religion can work together, according to a survey from Advance Science, Serving Society. Though 27 percent of people say science and religion are in conflict, about 48 percent of evangelicals feel that science and religion can work together to help humanity, AAAS found.

"There is quite a bit of scope for both of our communities to learn more about the other, to combat some of the ignorance which we see, which sometimes gets in the way of collaboration, said Galen Carey, the vice president of government relations at the National Association of Evangelicals, according to AAAS.

It all depends on how you perceive the religious and scientific divide, according to Religion News Service. Some say science and religion get in each others ways, but others see them as two forces that can work together.

"We found that everyone from the least to the most religious seems fundamentally interested and positive about science," Jennifer Wiseman, an astronomer and program director of Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion, told RNS. "We found a lot of shared desire to use science and technology for the betterment of the world and the human condition. Theres a lot of common ground."

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