dissertation | Made-In-STS-UCL | UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)

Godless of Gower Street? Beliefs in God and Evolution in the UCL Student Population

Bridgland. 2018. Godless of Gower Street? Beliefs in God and Evolution in the UCL Student Population Wordle

Summary

This study investigates the relationship between beliefs in God and evolution in the current student population at University College London (UCL). Starting from the analysis of a 100- year-old survey by James H. Leuba and the historical impact it had, this paper aims to compare the UCL population to Leuba’s, investigate whether the teaching of evolution results in lower levels of religious belief, and explore the interaction religious belief has with belief in evolution and views on the relationship between science and religion more generally. Based partially on Leuba’s survey, a survey was created and distributed online as well as in paper form, gathering 385 UCL student responses. Results showed a variety of beliefs towards God and evolution in the UCL student population and significant differences to Leuba’s surveyed students. No associations were found between the teaching of evolution and lower levels of theism. The majority of theists believed in evolution, specifically a God guided form of evolution, with only 2% of responses being ‘creationist’ (believing in God creating life in its current form, not evolutionary theory). The theists that believed in evolution believed in a less personal form of God, perhaps to accommodate both beliefs. Students that believed in God saw science and religion as far more compatible than those that did not. Those that believed in a Godless evolution saw science and religion as far less compatible than all other beliefs, with the ‘creationist’ type belief viewing science and religion as the most compatible. Overall this dissertation is supportive of the complexity approach towards the relationship between science and religion.

Information

Title The Godless of Gower Street? Beliefs in God and Evolution in the UCL Student Population
Author Vanessa Bridgland
Module ANTH3040 Human Sciences Seminar Project
Session 2017-18
Level BSc year 3
Assignment The main assignment for this class is a research research project culminating in an report or dissertation not more than 10,000 words.
Credit Author
Other information STS academics supervise student projects in ANTH3040.
Citation Bridgland, Vanessa. 2018. “The Godless of Gower Street? Beliefs in God and Evolution in the UCL Student Population,” UCL Human Sciences. ANTH3040 Human Sciences Seminar Project.
Action Download essay (Bridgland. 2018. Godless of Gower Street? )