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He said it: Charles Murray on the fact that middle class people, including scientists, often go to church, …

Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010From Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010:

There is indeed evidence that the most prominent scientists and academics are secular. When academics who were members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences were polled in 1996, 65% responded that they did not believe in God. But [middle class] Belmont is not filled with members of the National Academy of Sciences. Of the academics and scientists in the GSS sample, only 16 percent said they had no religion. It should not be surprising that lots of people in Belmont still go to church. (p. 206)

And on the non-growth of working-class fundamentalism, contrary to claims: The minority who still go to church in [working class] Fishtown (206-7), sociologist Murray reports, are more likely to be fundamentalists than they were in the past. But the overall decline in church attendance means that the fundamentalist percentage of the population has risen only slightly. The best explanation is that most of the decline has been in middle of the road churches.

And third, on the difference it makes: A drop in church attendance changes a community. Murray observes,

People who don’t go to church can be just as morally upright as people who do, but as a group they do not generate the social capital that the churchgoing population generates—it’s not their “fault” that social capital deteriorates, but that doesn’t make the deterioration any less real. (p. 210)

For more on decline in social capital in general, see also: When Fishtown’s do-gooders just stopped doing good

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One Response to He said it: Charles Murray on the fact that middle class people, including scientists, often go to church, …

  1. This article on the theme of the religious faith of some of the smartest people in the scientific field is also interesting:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8318894/#.T3ipN9nLvTo

    Of course, it would be more difficult for them to remain ignorant of the issues surrounding life and death, if they were so disposed.

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