Celebrity scientists ... public acceptance ... religious identity

Pop article. Original article below.

Celebrity scientists tend to sway the public toward greater acceptance of evolution, but not when religious identity is threatened

Original article:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0963662521989513

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I found this piece in the underlying paper to be interesting (and somewhat counterintuitive):

Familiarity with Richard Dawkins also significantly increases the odds of becoming more accepting of evolution among Catholics. The model predicts that the odds of a Muslim becoming more accepting of evolution are more than halved for those who associate Dawkins with science. However, associating Dawkins with science and associating Dawkins with a negative view of religion abolishes the significant effect among Muslims, but results in even higher odds of becoming more accepting of evolution among the Non-Religious and Catholics. We determined that this significant effect among Catholics persists if we analyse churchgoing3 Catholics only, thereby excluding cultural Catholics (data not shown4 ). A similar effect size is seen among churchgoing (see note 2) Anglicans, although the result is not statistically significant. More surprisingly, churchgoing (see note 2) Independent Evangelicals who associate Dawkins with science and a negative view of religion also show significantly higher odds of becoming more accepting of evolution.

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That’s really weird. I wonder whether those who associate Dawkins with science AND a negative view of religion differ from the others in that the others think that the negative view of religion represented by Dawkins’ writings is implicit in science itself, while those who associate him with the negative view do not necessarily attribute that view to science more generally. That might help explain the weird results.

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Fee fi fom! I smell a confounder somewhere.

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