Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Your thoughts about evolution probably influenced by high school

High school is a formative time for all -- you work out your identity, your niche in society, maybe learn a few important life lessons. Depending on what your high school bio class taught, it probably had a big say on your current views on evolution and creationism as well.

A survey conducted by faculty at the College of Biological Sciences at University of Minnesota sought to see if there was a difference in how biology majors viewed evolution and creationism compared to non-biology majors. Two-thirds of the students learned evolution but not creationism in high school, while only 1-2 percent learned creationism but evolution. A large portion of the sample, 29 percent of majors and 21 percent of non-majors, had both evolution and creationism covered in high school. The survey produced surprising results: regardless of major, students who were exposed to creationist perspectives in high school were more likely to adopt them in college, while students exposed to evolution were more receptive to evolution teaching in high school. 72-78% of students exposed to only evolution in high school said that it was scientifically valid, while only 57-59% of students exposed to only creationism said that evolution was scientifically valid.

The authors of the survey also did a review of studies to discern why a large contingent of high school biology teachers still teach creationism. The statistics are astounding: a fourth of biology teachers don't know that is unconstitutional to teach creationism, and another fourth are convinced creationism can be validated with scientific proof.

The article does not mention the views of students who were exposed to both evolution and creationism in high school. Regardless, the findings raise alarm, as high school teachings regarding the origins of man seems to have a lasting impact on students as they move into higher education. The faulty assumptions of biology teachers regarding creationism certainly don't help either. The protocol for teaching the origins of man in high schools is long overdue for a revamping, as no one is getting a complete and accurate story.

article link here:

-Andrew Plan

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