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I need to submit and present well documented research reports of mine to a panel of experts. It is well known that there is a custom of including dedication page to any significant reports.

I want to include the statements like

Dedicated to god <-name->

My colleagues are cautioning me to not include such statements due to multiple reasons. The key reasons include: panel mates may be atheists and hence may not receive it properly, it is not encouraged for a research aspirant to mention god related statements in academic matters etc.,

I am interested to know the validity of the second reason: is it true that dedicating my report to god can be taken as a pit to my research aspiration?

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  • What does "as a pit to" mean? – Azor Ahai -him- Jun 15 '20 at 20:30
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    I had not realized that a dedication page was a 'normal part of any significant report' - I guess I haven't done a significant report ever. So, no, I don't think you should, because it is not needed or normal in my field and society. – Jon Custer Jun 15 '20 at 20:33
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    Unless your report is to a religious group, what is the point? Do other groups do it? Again, I have never had a dedication page on anything except my PhD thesis. – Jon Custer Jun 15 '20 at 20:38
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    Your colleagues know the local situation, and it might be best to defer to them. But I think that atheists are not the problem but rather strong, dogmatic, proponents of some other religious tradition. I have no issue with it, but urge caution. – Buffy Jun 15 '20 at 20:44
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    @SolarMike Not for everyone. – Bryan Krause Jun 15 '20 at 21:48
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Generally, I don't think that dedications are common. In engineering, for instance, you never see a dedication except in a textbook (not common though) and PhD thesis.

Besides that, no scientific reviewer should be impacted by a dedication. There are always black sheep, who won't like it or even have a problem with it. As reviewers or a panel are always a bit of a draw of luck, I would stay on the safe side and not put this in (any sciences/engineering).

If you are so faithful and personally committed to dedicate this work to "God" from a personal point, that's what matters. It's not necessary to state it. But that's a decision you have to make.

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The key reasons include: panel mates may be atheists and hence may not receive it properly,

I agree with this statement.

There is a thing in psychology called in-group versus out-group categorization. One such grouping is religion. So, when you put a dedication like this on the page, you are saying many things, but one of them is "I am a member of <religious group>". If the reader is also a member of said group, he will read it and think (consciously or unconsciously), "he is one of us!" But if he is a member of a different religious group (and count "atheist" as just another group here), he will read it and think "he is not one of us, he is one of them!". Now, if the reviewer is professional, he will try to not let this thought bias him positively or negative towards the work. However, such biases are much harder to ignore than we would like to think. See for example https://diversity.ucsf.edu/resources/unconscious-bias (this focuses on race, but many of the topics transfer to religion). So I would not do it unless I was absolutely sure that all the reviewers were members of the same religion.

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