ERIC Number: ED394470
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr-8
The Relationship Between College Zoology Students' Religious Beliefs and Their Ability to Objectively View the Scientific Evidence Supporting Evolutionary Theory.
Sinclair, Anne; Baldwin, Beatrice
An anonymous 12-item, multiple-choice questionnaire was administered to 218 southern college, introductory zoology students prior to and following a study of evolutionary theory to assess their understanding and acceptance of the credibility of the evidence supporting the theory. Key topics addressed were the history of evolutionary thought, basic Darwinism, natural selection, speciation, macro and micro evolution and evolutionary trends. All students followed the same course outline and identical laboratory investigations. Findings indicate internal student conflict between personal beliefs and values and ideas presented in the zoology courses. A number of misconceptions that students hold about evolutionary theory were identified. The students were also asked to explain whether or not their religious views were reconcilable with the evolutionary theory taught. Their beliefs were shown to interfere with their ability to view scientific evidence objectively, especially when they involved deeply ingrained religious teachings that were counter to the information being presented. All the students who rejected evolutionary theory gave as their reason opposing religious views. Those who held strong creationist religious beliefs felt the choice was dichotomous; they accepted a literal Biblical account of creation and rejected the evidence supporting the theory of evolution. (Contains 11 references.) (NAV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-13, 1996).