Research on the religious lives of scientists focuses mainly on U.S. scientists. Drawing on 115 interviews with UK biologists and physicists collected between 2011 and 2014, we move beyond to examine how UK scientists understand religion, a context that is seemingly more secular than the United States. Findings show that scientists maintain the legitimacy of science through boundary work with religion, and under certain conditions religion may actually gain legitimacy from these tight boundaries. When religion violates this tight boundary by making claims that conflict with science, particularly in the form of creationist claims, scientists consider religion illegitimate and irrational, engaging in critical boundary work. Yet, when they see religion as adaptable to science, flexible rather than dogmatic, scientists believe religion may be beneficial and engage in more conciliatory boundary work. This article shows how scientists react to religion and use it in ways that protect science's epistemological and institutional authority. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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