"In 1998, Larson and Witham polled the cream of American scientists, those who have been honoured by election to the elite National Academy of Sciences . Among this select group, belief in a personal God dropped [as compared with the average person where belief in God is above 70%] to a shattering 7%. About 20% call themselves agnostic, and the rest are atheists. Similar figures obtain for belief in personal immortality. Among biological scientists elected to the National Academy, only 5.5% believe in a god. I have not seen corresponding figures for elite scholars in other fields such as history or philosophy, but it would be surprising if they were very different.
We have reached a truly remarkable situation: a grotesque mismatch between the American intelligentsia and the American electorate. A philosophical opinion about the nature of the universe, which is held by the great majority of America's top scientists and probably by the elite intelligentsia generally, is so abhorrent to the American electorate that no candidate for popular election dare affirm it in public. If I am right, this means that high office in the greatest country in the world is barred to the very people best qualified to hold it, unless they are prepared to lie about their beliefs: American political opportunities are loaded against those who are simultaneously intelligent and honest."
This is an excerpt from Richard Dawkins book The Greatest Show on Earth. If you haven't read it I highly suggest you do. It goes into amazing detail about evolution amongst other things.
The last line of the quote is so very important, "high office in the greatest country in the world is barred to the very people best qualified to hold it, unless they are prepared to lie about their beliefs: American political opportunities are loaded against those who are simultaneously intelligent and honest."
What he means by this is that if you are an atheist and you run for government office, you will either have to lie about your religious belief, or lack of one, (as many politicisations do) or else you tell the truth and are not elected (survey after survey shows that atheists are the most hated group in America.) Since the vast majority of the intelligentsia, 93%, are not religious, unless they lie about their beliefs, they are essentially banned from public office. Their office positions will therefore be filled by someone less intelligent or a liar.
I'm interested to here what others think about this, so please leave a comment.
-- Garrett Fogerlie