Media advisory: Erroneous stat in media coverage

MEDIA ADVISORY

David Ruth
713-348-6327
david@rice.edu

EDITOR’S NOTE – (Feb. 17, 2014) – Several news organizations, primarily in Germany, have reported an erroneous statistic in their coverage of a new Rice University study, “Religious Understandings of Science (RUS).”

The study’s author, Rice sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund, did NOT say that “90 percent of Americans believe in God.”

Ecklund’s study reported some of the most popular responses in a survey of more than 10,000 U.S. adults about which description(s) of evolution best describe(s) their position. Multiple answers were accepted. Among the findings:

  • 10 percent said that natural evolution involving no God was “definitely true.”
  • 7 percent said that intelligent design was “definitely true.”
  • 18 percent said that God-guided evolution was “definitely true.”
  • 22 percent said that strict creationism was “definitely true.”

Ecklund said it would not be accurate or appropriate to use these findings about different views on evolution to interpret the percentage of Americans who believe in God more generally.

The original news release for the RUS study is available at http://news.rice.edu/2014/02/16/misconceptions-of-science-and-religion-found-in-new-study-2/

For more information, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6327 or david@rice.edu.

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Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/AboutRiceU.

About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.