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ERIC Number: EJ1098520
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
The Science-Faith Debate in Higher Education
Carrington, Mary E.; Lyon, Gary L.
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2007 n1 Win 2007
A voluntary survey regarding beliefs on evolution, and creation and ethics was developed and administered on-line from June through July 2006 to over 100 students, faculty, and staff at a mid-sized public university in the Midwestern United States. The survey consisted of 33 questions to measure participant agreement with core principles of evolutionary theory, 5 questions designed to place participant views along a creationism-evolution continuum, 21 questions to measure respondent beliefs on ethics, and a concluding question asking for comments. A KR-20 value of 0.896 for the first 33 questions indicated high reliability of the evolution portion of the survey, but the KR-20 of 0.510 for the last 21 questions indicated lower reliability for the ethics portion. The hypothesis tested in this study was that teleological ethical views would correlate positively with evolutionist views. An evolution score and a teleological ethics score were calculated from each participant's responses to the first 33 questions and the last 21 questions, respectively. To generate evolution scores, a response to each of the 33 evolution questions was assigned a "1" if the response indicated agreement with evolution and a "0" if the response indicated agreement with creationism. The evolution score for each participant was the sum of the scores across all 33 questions. Likewise, to generate the teleological ethics scores, a response to each of the 21 ethics questions was assigned a "1" if the response indicated agreement with teleological ethics and a "0" if the response indicated agreement with deontological ethics. The teleological ethics score for each participant was the sum of the scores across the 21 ethics questions. The mean evolution score (n = 123 participants) of 26.10, responses to the 5 creationism-evolution continuum questions, and comments solicited at the end of the survey indicated that participant views were more evolutionist than creationist, but participants held a diversity of views, and seemed unsure of some evidence supporting evolutionary theory, and of the nature of scientific theory itself. The mean teleological score (n = 123 participants) of 10.08 indicated that participants were almost equally split between deontological and teleological ethics views. A weak positive correlation between evolutionary views and teleological ethics views (r = 0.258, p < 0.05) supported the hypothesis of this study. At the same time, however, answers to some ethics questions seemed contradictory, reflecting unclear questions, respondent uncertainty with the topic, the inherent difficulty of ethics itself, or a combination of these factors. A question arising from these results is whether ethical values might shift as participants learn more about evolution and the nature of science.
Descriptors: Surveys, College Students, College Faculty, School Personnel, Evolution, Creationism, Ethics, Hypothesis Testing, Correlation, Scores, Etiology, Scientific Concepts, Statistical Analysis, Teacher Attitudes, Student Attitudes, Beliefs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A