Thanks to an email from a regular reader of this here Church of the Churchless, I learned about an interesting article in Mother Jones, "Study: Science and Religion Really Are Enemies After All."
Are science and religion doomed to eternal "warfare," or can they just get along? Philosophers, theologians, scientists, and atheists debate this subject endlessly (and often, angrily). We hear a lot less from economists on the matter, however. But in a recent paper, Princeton economist Roland Bénabou and two colleagues unveiled a surprising finding that would at least appear to bolster the "conflict" camp: Both across countries and also across US states, higher levels of religiosity are related to lower levels of scientific innovation.
"Places with higher levels of religiosity have lower rates of scientific and technical innovation, as measured by patents per capita," comments Bénabou. He adds that the pattern persists "when controlling for differences in income per capita, population, and rates of higher education."
Being a proud Oregonian, I enjoyed this part of the piece.
Note that states like Vermont and Oregon are highly innovative and not very religious, whereas innovation lags in states like Arkansas and Mississippi, even as religion thrives.
Oregon has the nation's best land use system. All of our ocean shoreline is open to the public. We have assisted suicide for terminally ill people. Gay marriage became legal this year. My state is voting on legalizing recreational marijuana this November. We're #1 in craft breweries. Portland is a hotbed of innovation. Oregon was one of the first states to go 100% vote by mail.
So, yeah, we're irreligious and we're creatively cool. Deal with it, Arkansas and Mississippi.