FSD3526 Role of Science in Finnish Worldviews and Everyday Thinking 2019-2020

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  • Haimila, Roosa (University of Helsinki. Faculty of Theology)
  • Taira, Teemu (University of Helsinki. Faculty of Theology)


beliefs, moral values, natural environment, science, spirituality (mental qualities), world view

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The survey studied the role of science in Finnish worldviews and everyday thinking. Main themes of the survey included how those who value science approach fundamental questions about the nature of the universe and human existence and how science informs their worldviews. The study was funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

First, the respondents' beliefs were charted with questions on the origins of human consciousness, evolution, the origin of the universe, and the reason for the existence of suffering. Scientific views were measured with several statements, for example, whether the respondents felt that science helped them to understand the world, whether science gave their lives meaning, and whether science informed their moral values. The respondents were also asked how science influenced their views on death and immortality, and whether they felt that science connected them to the rest of humanity and the universe.

The respondents' worldviews were explored with questions on, for example, the fairness of the world, destiny, and life after death. The respondents were also asked to respond to statements about nature in relation to topics such as the formation of the Earth, the origin of living beings, natural selection, and the forces affecting the world. Finally, the respondents responded to a measure that measured scientific belief which the researchers had translated into Finnish (for more information on the measure, see Farias, M., Newheiser, A.-K., Kahane, G., & de Toledo, Z. 2013. Scientific faith: Belief in science increases in the face of stress and existential anxiety. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49 (6), 1210 - 1213. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2013.05.008). The measure consisted of statements such as science provides us with a better understanding of the universe than does religion, we can only rationally believe in what is scientifically provable, and the scientific method is the only reliable path to knowledge.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, age group, years of full-time education, spirituality, religious affiliation, belief in God, religious beliefs, possible previous or current work experience at a research institute, and the field of research worked in.

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