Monday, July 18, 2011

Science Readiness and Religion

Susan White (Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics) and Paul Cottle (Florida State University) produced an index of Science and Engineering Readiness (SERI) for US states, based on a variety of information including Advanced Placement scores, National Assessment of Educational Progress reports, teacher certification requirements by state and physics class enrollment data.

I decided to compare those figures with the percentage of people who said yes to the question "Is religion important in your daily life?" (a measure of religiosity) in each US state.

(Click for larger image)

There's a surprisingly clear negative correlation.

Science and Engineering Readiness Index figures come from here, and religious importance figures from here.

(The importance of religion figures can be copypasta'd here)

That's one very scary potential explanation of why the US is falling behind in science. People watching the Texas SBOE (and on it!) may do well to take note.