Why Mathematicians Tend To Believe In God More Than Other Scientists

Karamchand Rameshwar - Feb 24, 2020

Why Mathematicians Tend To Believe In God More Than Other Scientists

A survey of scientists finds that they have a stable faith in Gods as they were before and mathematicians tend to believe in God more than other scientists.

Among all scientists, it is mathematicians that tend to believe there is a God according to a finding in a survey by Prof. Edward Larson at the University of Georgia and Mr. Larry Witham. Around 600 scientists participated in the survey, which was reported by the London Weekly Telegraph.

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A a survey of 600 scientists show that mathematicians tend to have more faith in god.

Prof. James Leuba at Bryn Mawr University in Pennsylvania, in 1916, conducted a survey about scientists’ religious beliefs. In the finding, he found that around 42 percent of them believed that there is a God, nearly the same as those who didn’t believe that. Another 16 percent didn’t deny the fact that there could be a God, but they also weren’t as convinced about God’s existence. Overall, around 60 percent of the survey participants could be considered as unbelievers and 40 percent as believers.

Leuba’s survey created a sensation and politicians were worried that the science courses in universities might lead young people away from religions. Professor Leuba also believed that the faith in God would fade away eventually and by the end of the century, the number of scientists who are believers could be nearly non-existent.

That is why, in 1997, Professor Larson and Mr. Witham decided to conduct the same survey to see whether the prophecy of Leuba is correct or not. The result shows that the ratio of believers to non-believers among scientists hardly changed. The percentage of the believers was 39.3 whereas 45.3 percent of them listed themselves as atheists and 14.5 percent were doubtful. That means the ratio was still 60:40 in favor of the believers.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that professor Leuba was wrong as there might be a time as the number of believers among scientists kept dropping and the trend could have later reversed.

The survey by Larson and Witham did show some interesting changes. In their survey, the participants included mathematicians, biologists, and physicists. In professor Leuba’s findings, biologists were the most determined atheists with 69.5 percent. Now, it is the astronomers and the physicists who list themselves as non-believers. Interestingly, it seems like biologists have recovered their faith, but the story on the London Weekly Telegraph didn’t say the exact figure.

Mathematicians Believe In God
Are you a scientist? Do you consider yourself a believer in God?

Mathematicians are the ones that have the strongest faith in God as 44.6 percent listed themselves as believers. Why is that? Perhaps answers from a physicist and a mathematician might give a decent explanation for the high belief among mathematicians.                                                                                                                         

Here is the answer of the physicist:

“I suspect it comes from the role mathematics plays in the exploration of the solar system. After all, using nothing more complex than Newtonian mathematics, the mathematician calculates the necessities of sending a rocket from here to Venus where it orbits and gathers thrust from the rotation of that planet, then comes back and circles Earth, gathering further thrust from our planet, then goes to Jupiter and takes up a precisely calculated position around that planet. All on the basis of simple Newtonian maths. The mathematician marvels at this. He begins to see mathematics, not as a mere humanly contrived system, but as a great work of art by a great Creator, and he is awestruck.”

Here is the answer of the mathematician:

“For me, it’s amazing the way in which the seemingly different areas of mathematics fit together. When you begin studying advanced math, you tend to think of geometry, algebra, analysis and so on as separate entities, each beautiful and elegant on its own.

“But as you go on, you realize that these different areas are connected in the most astonishing yet natural ways. You may discover that what you thought of as purely a part of geometry turns out to be an essential part of algebra. And what we're dealing with is not just something we've made up. It's a reality. It’s there.

“And it all intertwines and works so perfectly, so beautifully, that you realize that Somebody or Something must have done this. It simply could not have happened by chance. It’s a kind of revelation, I guess. And it’s very convincing.”


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