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BLACK PROTESTANT VIEWS OF SCIENCE

  • Cleve Tinsley (a1), Pamela J. Prickett (a2) and Elaine Howard Ecklund (a3)

Abstract

We ask how Black Protestants frame the connection between religion and science, analyzing fifty in-depth interviews with Black Protestants of different socioeconomic backgrounds who attend churches in two U.S. cities. Although individuals across the sample observe some tension, or incompatibility, between religion and science, Black Protestants from lower socioeconomic backgrounds tended to perceive much more tension when compared with those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. However, when science is thought to contribute to improving health conditions (e.g., medical improvements to diagnose or prevent birth defects), individuals from both SES backgrounds framed religion and science as compatible. This lack of tension in regards to medicine challenges prevailing wisdom about lower-income African Americans’ attitudes towards medicine. We draw out the implications of these findings for larger discussions about trust toward science and scientific communities, elucidating Black Protestant particularities and perspectives in tensions between science and religion as a foundation for further research.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Cleve Tinsley IV, Department of Religion, Rice University, 6100 Main Street - MS 15, Houston, TX 77005-1892. E-mail: cvt4@rice.edu

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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
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