Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Since Darwin On the Origin of Species over 150 years ago, evolution via natural selection has gained essentially unilateral support among scientists, with 97% of scientists agree that life evolved over time, while a mere 12% to 29% of the general public accepts evolution via natural selection. About three-quarters of the public support teaching creationism in public school science classes--a violation of the First Amendment--and a recent survey shows that just 28% of high school biology teachers advocating for evolution in their classroom, as per the national guidelines.

The present study aims to investigate and clarify certain relationships that lead people to accept or reject evolution, to support the teaching of creationism in science class, and relevant moderators. Part one of the present study aims to clarify the relationship between knowledge of evolution and acceptance of evolution, findings about which have been mixed in previous research. Religiosity as a predictor of acceptance of evolution will be included for replication of previous research. Part two of the present study will examine how acceptance of evolution plays into support for teaching evolution or creationism, and will also examine two potential moderators of this relationship. First, one's confidence in their beliefs about the history of life, and second, one's tolerance for scientific ideas with which they disagree, are expected to moderate their support for teaching evolution or creationism. Part three of the present study aims to examine the effect of arguing in favor of teaching evolution, as per the national guidelines, on people's support for teaching evolution.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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