Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Upcoming Irtiqa Friday Journal Club

by Salman Hameed

Our next Journal Club this Friday (August 24th) will address a paper by Southcott and Downie: Evolution and Religion: Attitudes of Scottish Bioscience Students to the Teaching of Evolutionary Biology (Evolution: Education and Outreach, Volume 5, Number 2 (2012), 301-311). If you don't have access to the paper and are interested in reading it, drop me an e-mail and I will send you a pdf copy.

Here is the abstract for the paper:
Evolution and Religion: Attitudes of Scottish Bioscience Students to the Teaching of Evolutionary Biology 
In a questionnaire-based survey, the proportion of Glasgow University first year biology students who rejected evolution in 2009–2011 was about 7%, similar to the previously reported average figure for 1987–1999. However, by final year, evolution rejection was absent in students who studied evolution beyond first year and 4% among those who did not. Evolution rejection was closely related to accepting a religion-based alternative, whereas acceptance was related to finding the evidence convincing. Although many religious students accepted evolution, 50% of Islamic students were rejecters, compared to 25% of Christians. A question testing acceptance of several scientific propositions showed no evidence that evolution rejecters were generally more skeptical of science than accepters. Rejecters were overall less secure than accepters in their identification of the correct definition for terms related to evolution and creationism, but, surprisingly, more than 10% of final year students chose a Lamarckian definition for Darwinian evolution. Accepters and rejecters responded equally poorly to a question on Darwin’s history, but level 4 was much better. A breakdown of evolution into three components (human origins, macroevolution, and microevolution) found that some evolution rejecters accepted some components, with microevolution having the highest acceptance and human origins the lowest. These findings are discussed in terms of strategies for evolution education and the phenomenon of evolution rejection worldwide.
I will post my comments on the paper on Friday and will be looking forward to your input as well (for comments, please do read the paper or at least skim through it).

Check out past Irtiqa Journal Clubs here.


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