Do Philosophy Professors Believe in God?

Incidentaly, here are some of the other questions on that survey that produced a clear majority favouring one particular view:

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?

Accept or lean toward: yes 604 / 931 (64.9%)
Accept or lean toward: no 252 / 931 (27.1%)
Other 75 / 931 (8.1%)

External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?

Accept or lean toward: non-skeptical realism 760 / 931 (81.6%)
Other 86 / 931 (9.2%)
Accept or lean toward: skepticism 45 / 931 (4.8%)
Accept or lean toward: idealism 40 / 931 (4.3%)

Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism?

Accept or lean toward: moral realism 525 / 931 (56.4%)
Accept or lean toward: moral anti-realism 258 / 931 (27.7%)
Other 148 / 931 (15.9%)

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean?

Accept or lean toward: non-Humean 532 / 931 (57.1%)
Accept or lean toward: Humean 230 / 931 (24.7%)
Other 169 / 931 (18.2%)

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don’t switch?

Accept or lean toward: switch 635 / 931 (68.2%)
Other 225 / 931 (24.2%)
Accept or lean toward: don’t switch 71 / 931 (7.6%)

Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?

Accept or lean toward: cognitivism 612 / 931 (65.7%)
Other 161 / 931 (17.3%)
Accept or lean toward: non-cognitivism 158 / 931 (17.0%)

We call upon all moral non-cognitivists and those won’t throw the switch on the trolley! Throw off your chains and rise against your oppressors!


You continue to make judgments on what counts as serious conversation. Who gives you the authority to decide that, here?

If you want a serious conversation, why don’t you simply respond intelligently to the contents of the OP above, instead of trying to slam my alleged motives? Do you agree that most philosophy profs (at least at the type of schools specified) are atheists? Do you not wonder why that should be the case? Is that not at least a sociologically interesting question? Do you think it would have been the case in Medieval Paris? In 19th-century Oxford or Cambridge? In 19th-century New England? If not, does that tell us anything interesting about current academic culture? What does it tell us? It would be nice to see something resembling reflective thought here.

This is exactly what I expected, since philosophy appears to me to reveal much of the poor reasoning that permeates religious thinking. Religious ideas around epistemology, explanation, morality, free will, and causality, are frequently exposed as either nothing but question-begging, when not simply incoherent.



Schools of thought change


Probably not.

Not really


No, not in the least.

But it appears, from the quote that @Art provided above, that you were actually asked to demonstrate that “many students with traditional beliefs have experienced hostility, mockery, condescension, etc. from profs who don’t share those beliefs.”

Obviously, you have not provided anything to substantiate that accusation. Do you think you have?

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I am focusing, on this one particular point, a point you conveniently failed to put in bold, in the sentence before the one you bolded:

I provided some data that for at least one of the arts departments, philosophy, my contention was correct.

I did not claim that the survey above establishes all of my former claims. In fact, I was very careful to state that the survey addressed only one of the many things we had been talking about. But regarding that one thing, you can now comment. You asked for numbers. I provided some numbers showing that “the religious ideas of most faculty” in philosophy departments are “very rarely traditional and conservative” (one in 7 endorsing theism is sufficiently close to “very rarely”, I think, but if you want to quibble over an adverb, I’ll drop the “very”). Do you agree that the numbers I have provided are relevant to that one particular claim, at least regarding one particular university department? And if you agree that they are relevant, would you care to modify your previous flat denial? I realize, based on several years of interaction with you, that conceding a point to an opponent is not your usual style, but can you bring yourself to do it here? Or must I always be wrong about everything, and must you always be right about everything?

But more than 7 out of 10 in the philosophy of religion are theists.

One example I find interesting is that a majority also supports moral realism. It is a common apologetic claim that moral realism is only possible if there is a god. It seems that the experts in the field disagree, since they support both moral realism AND atheism.

No one was disputing that most philosophers were atheists. I’m confused as to why you are bringing this up and beating your chest like you scored some big victory.

Um, hello? I’m here. And everyone here has found reason to work with me in one way or another.

I think the rhetoric here is overheated, in a way that polarizes what are actually shared concerns.

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Read the response I just wrote to Art. It covers your question.

When you reply to a totally different point (@Rumraket’s question) that was raised, you ought to insert a statement that you are actually not going to answer the question that was asked.

This is the question you were responding to:

Will you do @Rumraket the courtesy of a response? Or is my answer to the question:



TBH, I think the fact that, even there, 30% are not theists only further demonstrates the degree to which atheism is accepted in academia.

Interestingly, there are a number of other ideas that are far more readily accepted in academia than by the general public. For instance, that vaccines are effective and safe, just to choose one example out of the hat.

I wonder if @Eddie or anyone else here has an opinion on whether that indicates that academic opinion should be changed to more closely reflect public opinion.

It’s actually 19%. The other 10 or so percent chose other. But I know what you mean.

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Sorry, Joshua. I am aware that you have acknowledged some of these concerns in the past. I was referring not to you, or to Daniel, but to the responses of Herman Mays, Art Hunt, and several others which seem to pretend that there is no problem at all in the Arts, or that the problem may exist but is relatively small and too big a deal has been made out of it, not only by me but by the many writers who have written on the topic.

And I don’t think I have many “shared concerns”, regarding Arts education, with Herman Mays, Steve Matheson, Faizal Ali, Art Hunt, etc. At least, I have not yet seen any. Instead, I’m getting loud declarations from plant geneticists and paleobiologists that they know lots and lots about undergrad Arts education and that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Sorry, Art, I won’t let you keep ducking the question. You denied one of my claims. You said I lacked any numbers to support my judgment. I showed that, at least for philosophy departments, that claim was warranted. I nailed down the claim in my response above. Are you going to admit that at least that claim now has numerical documentation, with respect to philosophy departments? Or are you going to keep trying to change the topic so that you don’t have to retract or modify your denial?

No, they are not saying that.

They are saying this.

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Did you even read the OP above? I went out of my way not to “beat my chest” or claim to have scored a “big victory”. I indicated that the survey results only support one of my points and that a much fuller documentation would need to be provided to document the others. The point of the OP is to begin documenting what Art Hunt said was completely lacking in documentation. I have made that beginning. Whether Art will concede the point is up to him.

A point I never saw him dispute. If you can show me where he did I will gladly retract my comment.

I have to agree, and I can’t be the only one to have noticed that this phenomenon has a strange habit of rearing it’s ugly head in almost every thread where Eddie participates.