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Regarding the sub-sample which said that a deity does not exist (n = 53), 35.85% said that science disproves the existence of a god and 45.28% said that religious people are less intelligent. This is in stark contrast with those who selected “don’t know” (n = 47) when asked about the existence of a deity. Of the 47 in the “don’t know” category, only 12.77% said that science disproves the existence of a god and only 8.51% said that religious people were less intelligent.
Not surprisingly, 83.02% of those who said that a deity doesn’t exist said that science was better than religion, yet 81.13% said that a scientific theory could be proven true. This might indicate a slightly dogmatic view of science. 48.94% of those in the don’t know category said that neither science or religion was better and 14.89% even said that religion was better. While still high, it seems that less people, in the don’t know category, thought that a scientific theory could be proven true: 72.34%
One question that I wanted to look into when designing this survey was how strong of an opinion, regarding the nonexistence of a deity, self identified atheists tend to have. Of those surveyed who said they were atheists (n = 87), 51.72% selected “doesn’t exist” while only 31.03% selected “probably doesn’t exist”. While the sample size is small, we obtain an estimate for the true percentage of 41.22% to 62.22% at the 95% CL for those atheists who consider that a deity “doesn’t exist” rather than “probably doesn’t exist”. Depending on how you define religion, this could actually indicate a fairly high level of religiosity within the atheist group and could help to understand the perceived trend away from religiosity and cloud the conclusion made regarding the link between intelligence and religiosity that some have made.
When constructing a survey with only ten questions, it can be difficult to get a detailed picture of the population. In addition, it can make flaws in question selection and wording more pronounced. Still, the survey gave a fair amount of insight overall into the nature of peoples’ religious views and their views on religious people. It also showed a possible disconnect between how scientific theories are perceived and how they actually work.
If another survey were to be performed, there are two major changes that I would make. First, I would replace question 10 with a more meaningful question. One possibility is to ask whether or not the participant what kind of experience he or she has had with religion. Second, I would make sure that basic demographics questions must be answered. In addition, I would make some minor changes such as choosing either deity or god rather than switching back and forth between the two, as that may have had an impact on the results. A minor correction to spelling in question 9 would also be needed.