Influences On Biology Students' Acceptance Of Evolution
Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Biology
There are numerous variables that influence a person's acceptance of evolution. Variables generally fit into categories of school/knowlege-based understanding and cultural influences. This study investigated those variables that influence students' degreee of acceptance of evolution and determined the relative contributions of the variables to acceptance of evolution. Variables included both cultural and school factors: religious commitment, knowledge of evolution, completion of biology coursework, student classification, and understanding of the nature of science. Data were collected via surveys completed by biology majors (N=474) at theree universities in southwest Missouri. Overall, acceptance was strongly influenced by religious commitment while knowledge of evolution, student classification, and understanding of the nature of science contributed only weakly. Acceptance of the various topics within evolutionary theories was composed of two factors, more controversial topics and less controversial topics. Religious commitment was the strongest predictor of acceptance of the more controversial topics such as the origion of life and human evolution. Gender and knowledge of evolution were also predictors of acceptance of the more controversial topics in evolutionary theories. Acceptance of less controversial topics such as natural selection and gradual changes over time were predicted by knowledge of evolution and understanding of the nature of science. Future research may investigate the influence of gender, epistemological development, faith development, moral development, maturation, and the influence of print and television media on acceptance of evolution.
© Julie Mayne
Mayne, Julie, "Influences On Biology Students' Acceptance Of Evolution" (2001). MSU Graduate Theses. 1212.