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I have faith in science and in God: common sense, cognitive polyphasia and attitudes to science in Nigeria

Falade, Bankole A. ORCID: 0000-0003-1985-2273 and Bauer, Martin W. (2018) I have faith in science and in God: common sense, cognitive polyphasia and attitudes to science in Nigeria. Public Understanding of Science, 27 (1). 29 - 46. ISSN 0963-6625

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0963662517690293


This study, of modern common sense in Nigeria, combines questionnaires and interviews to examine the compatibility and incompatibility of religion and science. Nigeria is a large country with a complex diversity of religious, ethnic and cultural practices that condition the reception and elaboration of science in everyday life. We find evaluative attitudes to science structured as ‘progress’, ‘fear’ and ‘mythical image’. Scientific knowledge and religiosity have a direct bearing on expectations of progress and feeling of fear and worry about science; mythical image is independent of this. Nigerians trust both scientific and religious authorities in contrast to other social actors. Many of the results are consistent with the hypothesis of cognitive polyphasia of scientific and religious knowing manifesting as a ‘hierarchy’, when one form is elevated over the other; ‘parallelity’, when both serve separate functions; and ‘empowerment’, where one enhances the other.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 17:25
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 04:57
Projects: ES/K005820/1
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council - MACAS (Mapping the Cultural Authority of Science)

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