THE belief that religion and science are incompatible is common among GCSE and A-level students, many of whom believe that all scientists are atheists, research carried out by the God and the Big Bang project has found.
The group, which organises conferences on this issue for schools around the country, bases its findings on a survey of 2000 15-18-year-olds who have attended 37 conferences over the past two years. Students taking part were asked to complete a survey at the beginning of the day and another at the end. Around half had changed their minds after discussions with scientists who also held religious beliefs.
The findings were due to be reported at the Cosmology: The Beginning, the end and the vast conference at St John’s College, Durham, this week. The Professor of Physics at Durham University, Tom McLeish, said the project helped students understand that science and wider worldviews, including religious ones, did not negate each other. “It is an important contribution to the broad education needed in the world today.”
The God and the Big Bang project, based in Manchester diocese where it began in 2009, is now funded by the Templeton Foundation. So far, an estimated 3000 young people have attended conferences in schools and cathedrals around the country.