UK
22/10/2013 05:22 BST | Updated 21/12/2013 05:12 GMT

Scientists More Trustworthy Than Church Leaders, Survey Finds

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Who would you trust more, a scientist or a member of the church?

Most people see scientists as the most honest of all professionals, a survey has revealed, which also rated politicians as the least likely to tell the truth.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of those questioned said they believed politicians were the least honest, with journalists in second place at 30%.

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But the research showed scientists were thought to be the most honest, with 0.25% believing they are least likely to tell the truth, followed by artists at 2% and members of the clergy at 5.75%.

The online poll of 425 UK people conducted between September and October found 15% admitted lying every day and 30% every week - with 6% of people claiming never to lie.

The most common reason given for lying was to protect other people's feelings, at 87%, with 58% of people saying that they lied to avoid confrontation.

More than one in five - or 22% - said they lied to escape blame, 18% admitted lying to get their own way and 15% to get on at work.

The survey was conducted to mark the launch of the Westminster Abbey Institute, a new body examining religious, ethical and public policy issues.

Former home secretary Jack Straw will join journalist and historian Sir Max Hastings, medic and broadcaster Lord Winston and poet Wendy Cope at an inaugural debate for the institute.

Claire Foster-Gilbert, director of the Westminster Abbey Institute, said: "As the survey shows, we admit we tell lies ourselves and think our politicians do too.

"The difference is that politicians' failures are public ones.

"Those who are brave enough to seek public positions quickly learn 'there is no effort without error or shortcoming' (Roosevelt).

"The Institute has been established to support and challenge those in public life, reinvigorating their spiritual and moral values.

"We are starting with the most precious and elusive value of all: truth-telling."