RATIONALITY AND THE “RELIGIOUS MIND”

Authors

  • LAURENCE IANNACCONE,

    1. Professor, Department of Economics, Santa Clara University, Phone 1–408-554-4345 Fax 1–408-554-2331 E-mail LIannaccone@mailer.scu.edu
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  • RODNEY STARK,

    1. Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle, Phone 1–425-881-1417
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  • ROGER FINKE

    1. Associate Professor, Department of Sociology Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Phone 1–765-494-4715, 1–765-497-9827 Fax 1–765-496-1476 E-mail finke@sri.soc.purdue.edu
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    • *We thank Alvin Plantinga, Doug Allen, and session participants at the 1995 meetings of the Western Economic Association for helpful comments and suggestions. lannaccone's contributions to this paper benefited from the support of the Lilly Endowment (grant #1996 0184-000) and the Hoover Institution. Condensed sections from an earlier draft of this paper appear in Stark, lannaccone, and Finke [1996]. Address communications to lannaccone, Department of Economics, Santa Clara University, 95053, LI-annaccone@mailer.scu.edu.


Abstract

The social-scientific study of religion has long presumed that religious thought is “primitive,” non-rational, incompatible with science, and (thus) doomed to decline. Contemporary evidence, however, suggests that religious involvement correlates with good mental health, responds to perceived costs and benefits, and persists in the face advanced education and scientific training. Although professors, scientists, and other highly educated Americans are less religious than the general population, the magnitude of this effect is similar to those associated with gender, race, and other demographic traits. Moreover, “hard” science faculty are more often religious than faculty in the humanities or social sciences. (JEL Z10)

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