The following facts seem indisputable:
- Currently the great majority of top scientists do not believe in "a personal God"
- Some top scientists (eg even amongst Nobel Laureates Hewish, Phillips and I think Martin Evans) do. And many of the all time greats (eg Newton, Faraday, Maxwell) certainly did. Indeed from about 1500-1900 almost all the world's top scientists were Judaeo-Christian, at a time when only about 20% of the world's population was.
- Broadly speaking we can distinguish between left-brain and right-brain thinking, with left-brain thinking tending to view the world mechanistically and right-brain tending to view the world relationally. Western science has over the last 100yrs or so become very left-brain whereas religion is a very right-brain activity.
- If you believe that Science is The Most Important activity in the world you are much more likely to become a professional scientist.
- Worldly success tends to give people a feeling of self-sufficiency. If you are at (or near) the top of your profession, financially secure etc. you may be less likely to believe in, and practice, a religion which emphasises that we are all equal in the sight of God, and have a duty of service to each other.
This is not, of course, to suggest that very smart people who are atheists are insincere: but to recognise that our beliefs and attitudes are shaped to a significant extent by the situations in which we find ourselves. We are social animals, not isolated idealised individual minds: on that surely both atheists and theists can agree.
PS amusing thwack of Dawkins from Archbishop Cranmer.