A new report from the American Humanist Association says atheists are less likely than Christians to receive access to scientific information in the United States, despite a growing number of new atheist organizations.
“As the population of atheists increases, we see an increased need for access to the science and technology of our nation,” said Adam Grant, executive director of the American Atheists.
“It’s not a new problem, but it’s one that has not received enough attention.”
Grant’s report found that atheists are the least likely of all religious groups to be granted access to any science-related information in America, with only 37% of atheists and agnostics receiving access.
The number of atheists who receive access has been growing since 2008, when a Pew Research Center study found that about 5% of Americans believed atheists could access scientific information.
As of last year, only 29% of U.S. adults reported receiving access to a scientific journal.
According to the report, atheists have been underrepresented in science-focused organizations in recent years, with a small percentage of groups seeking to include atheists and other nontheists in their membership.
“There’s an unfortunate trend of being excluded from the mainstream science-based organizations that are the best places to learn about science, research and the broader world,” Grant said.
Since the Pew report, atheist organizations have begun to expand the number of their members that receive access.
For example, the National Atheists Coalition (NAAC) of atheist groups launched a new website last year called The Science Project, which includes information on how to get started in science and how to reach out to others.
Atheist groups also have a number of nonprofit organizations and public events that offer opportunities for them to meet, hear and learn about their beliefs.
Grant noted that these groups and organizations are working to expand access to other nonreligious and nontheistic communities, such as the atheist community.
Some atheists are more active in organizing and speaking out on scientific issues, Grant said, but he believes this needs to change.
In recent years there has been a movement to educate the public about atheism, and Grant said the American humanist association hopes to encourage the public to talk to atheists about their views and experiences.
We have an opportunity to educate people who are uncomfortable with religion, or they’re not comfortable with their own religious beliefs, he said.
“The people who identify as atheist need to be able to express their viewpoints without fear of reprisal.
We want people to know they can find someone who shares their views.”
Grant also noted that it is important to educate atheists about the importance of science and that it should not be seen as a religion or as a “religion of reason.”
“Science can help us improve our lives, and it can help make the world a better place.
We need to help people to have access to that knowledge, even if they are atheists,” he said, adding that people can reach out and seek out atheists in person or through online resources.
Grant said the report highlights the need for more outreach and outreach efforts to educate atheist and agnostic Americans about science.