Conversations about science and religion are often portrayed and understood as conflicts about knowledge that portray scientists and religious people as using two different ways of understanding facts about the Universe. Unsatisfied by this conclusion, John Evans analyzes the General Social Survey and shows convincingly that perceived knowledge conflicts are likely rooted in moral, rather than scientific conflict. Controversies between science and religion are most likely over issues with the strongest moral ramifications, not because religious people and scientists have a fundamentally different ways of understanding the Universe.
Morals Not Knowledge, Recasting the Contemporary U.S. Conflict Between Religion and Science will be helpful for readers who have noticed that only a few specific scientific claims like human evolution or human caused climate change are vigorously contested. Evans shows that in most cases, religious adherents are as scientifically competent and science-positive as their non-religious counterparts. Existing tensions between religion and science are more likely due to conflicting cultural and moral visions. Evans shows why particular morally significant scientific claims might be scrutinized at very high levels, while casting a compelling vision for future research into the moral reasoning used by both science and religious practitioners. This is a “must read” for both scientific and religious practitioners working with morally charged scientific claims.