Student positions on the relationship between evolution and creation: what kinds of changes occur and for what reasons?

Yasri, P. and Mancy, R. (2016) Student positions on the relationship between evolution and creation: what kinds of changes occur and for what reasons? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 53(3), pp. 384-399. (doi:10.1002/tea.21302)

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Abstract

Student positions on the relationship between biological evolution and divine creation have been examined in a range of contexts, and although there is evidence that students can change their position on the relationship over a period of study, these changes have not been well characterised or explained in a quantitative manner. To investigate student changes in position on the relationship between evolution and creation, we synthesised existing literature to develop a new research tool covering eight positions and a question probing reasons for changes in position. Buddhist and Christian high school students undertaking a course on evolution at a Christian school in Thailand (N = 125, mean age 17.6) responded to a survey to elicit their positions before and after course and reasons for any changes. Analysis revealed that a high proportion of students underwent a change in position, primarily towards increasing acceptance of evolution, a trend that was clearest among Christian students. Participants reported that these changes were influenced by changes in their understanding of the evidence for evolution and of ways of relating science and religion, but not in changes in their religious beliefs. The study shows that the tool is effective for detecting changes in position and eliciting key reasons for these changes. Moreover, it points to the importance during evolution education of focusing on the evidence for evolution and the relationship between science and religion.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mancy, Dr Rebecca
Authors: Yasri, P., and Mancy, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Research in Science Teaching
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ISSN:0022-4308
ISSN (Online):1098-2736
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
First Published:First published in Journal of Research in Science Teaching 53(3):384-399
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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