Monday, December 03, 2012

STEM beliefs

In the comments of a post showing sex ratios of various supernatural beliefs, someone suggested that the heavy male skew among atheists and agnostics might have to do with the fact that men are more likely to be in STEM fields than women are. The chicken-and-egg question aside, how do STEM majors compare with the general population when it comes to belief? Conventional wisdom says they're more spiritually skeptical than the rest of society is.

Using the GSS and ISCO88 occupational classifications, we get the following distributions, first for STEM people* (n = 451) and then for society as a whole:



And so they are. Raison d'etre, that tagline.

GSS variables used: GOD(1)(2)(3-5)(6), ISCO88(2111-2114, 2121, 2122, 2131, 2132, 2141-2146, 2211, 2212, 2221-2224)

* Physicists, astronomers, meteorologists, chemists, geologists, geophysicists, mathematicians, computer systems designers and analysts, computer programmers, civil engineers, electrical engineers, electronics and telecommunications engineers, mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, architects, biologists, botanists, zoologists, pharmacologists, pathologists, medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and pharmacists.

6 comments:

Aeoli said...

This is a topic of high interest to a lot of people, so I bet you get a lot of references. (But I suggest changing the title to something that has a shot at showing up on a typical google search.)

Anonymous said...

Bah. No way there are that many firm believers in this age of Cardinal Mahoney and Joel Osteen. I would guess liberally, less than 15%.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing with STEM is that certain sectors of Christianity are the same, only in inverse.

Some Christian men are heavily obsessed with (the Christian version of) STEM and Religion/Philosophy and not interested in FOX News/NRO/Glenn Beck/Palin or whatever.

Guys like Todd Akin maybe? Which once sat on the House Science Committe for Space, Science and Technology?

Maybe that's why BOTH Beck/Palin/Limbaugh and Barack Hussein Obama denounced him as some heretic?

Anonymous said...


Bah. No way there are that many firm believers in this age of Cardinal Mahoney and Joel Osteen. I would guess liberally, less than 15%.

Don't get out much, do ya?

Religious fanatics settled this continent. It is in their blood, man. Given that Osteen is in Houston, and his church is huge, there are probably quite a few STEM PhDs in his audience each week.

Noah172 said...

FWIW, from the giant Pew US Religious Landscape survey, the % of bachelor and post-grad degrees among members of churches similar to Osteen's:

Non-denom Charismatic: 13/11
Non-denom Evangelical: 18/15
Non-denom Fundamentalist: 19/11

Some caution here, small sample sizes, but close to the general population (16/11).

Anthony said...

So based on your post following, I'd be interested to see religious *behavior* broken out for STEM workers and non-STEM workers. How many of those supposedly "firm believers" actually go to church?