The article referenced within this post can be found on Blackboard under the Electronic Reserves tab.
Andrew Lac, Vanessa Hemovich, and Igor Himmelfarb (all graduate students at Claremont Graduate University) are the insightful researchers of the American sentiment about the teaching of creationism in public schools as opposed to evolution, or evolution and creationism.
What sets this piece apart from other commentaries on American feelings towards creationism is the fact that rather than a conventional textual dissertation on the nationwide attitudes regarding evolution, this article, entitled “Predicting Position on Teaching Creationism (Instead of Evolution) in Public Schools” is actually a statistical study. The authors begin the summary of the study with three main questions: (1) “what predictors reliably discriminate people’s position on creationism in public schools;” (2) “to what extent are creationism-only proponents and opponents different in their perceptions of whether scientists and science teachers, parents, and school boards should be responsible how evolution is taught in public schools;” and (3) “to what extent do parents who prefer creationism-only education more likely to report that their children encountered the problem concerning the topics of religion, sex, and homosexuality in public schools?”
Through careful statistical procedures the team analyzes the responses of their subjects and draws credible and solid conclusions. The first question they asked participants in the study was who should have a voice in deciding how evolution is taught in schools. They then provided participants with three optional answers. These included, scientist and science teachers, parents, and school boards. From their research, the team gathered that those who supported teaching strictly creationism decided were more likely to believe that parents of children should the most influence in the matter, while those in opposition favored scientists and science teachers. The study follows in a similar manner, citing the rather stark differences between the ideas of adults who favored a purely creationism curriculum and those who were more open to teaching the theory of evolution.
The team’s final results conclude, “variables commonly associated with religiosity (belief in God and importance of religion) [can] predict creationism-only support,” and “[l]ack of educational attainment, especially attaining less than a high school degree, served as the strongest predictor for supporting creationism-only education,” amongst other conclusions.
These assertions fail to surprise me. I do not at all find it unusual that people who are extremely religious or less educated would be in support of creationism-only teaching. This is not at all to slight either people who do believe in creationism or people with less educational experience. However, people who are staunchly religious may fail to see or acknowledge that there is another possibility of how we as humans came to be in our current form. In fact, at the start of the article the authors prefaced their research by saying that 44 percent of Americans believe that humans were created by God in their current form and never evolved or changed at all. In my opinion, these people are simply disregarding the facts, however, the research team was very credible in their (in my opinion) totally unbiased approach. Furthermore, people who have received less schooling than the general public tend to be missing vital pieces of education and thus tend to be more close-minded. I also would assume that these people would be far less open to the idea of non-Christian ideas being taught in school to students.
Personally, I believe that students should be taught both ideas so that they are able to decide for themselves what they choose to believe. That is how my school taught us in freshman year and I believe it was very effective. After all, how can we expect our children to be forward thinkers and decision makers when we only teach them what we want them to know and force them into only believing what they want to believe?