Chris Mooney over at Mother Jones has an excellent piece about how religion and science simply do not mix. Innovation is stifled when countries or states put mythological beliefs over the empirical power of scientific knowledge.
It is important to keep in mind that these findings are correlational in nature; the authors explain that they do not allow for “definite causal inferences to be drawn.” Their own view is that causation probably “goes both ways”: Religiosity stifles innovation, but at the same time, innovation and science weaken religiosity. Or as they put it: “In both international and cross-state U.S. data, there is a significant negative relationship between religiosity and innovativeness (patents per capita), even after controlling for the standard empirical determinants of the latter.”
The two charts below reflect the findings in the study.