Competing for the Minds of America: Does the Teaching of Evolution in High Schools Promote a Naturalistic Worldview?


James Shuls

Date of Graduation

Fall 2007


Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development


Early Childhood and Family Development

Committee Chair

Cynthia Wilson


The debate over evolution has been raging in America's public schools for the past century. This has led to numerous court cases that moved our teachers from teaching creationism in classrooms to today's curriculum of evolution only. Scientists hold evolution as an overarching theory that ties together many different principles. However, some feel evolution reaches too far and into the beliefs and worldviews of students. The research sought to understand the debate over evolution and find out what implications an evolution-only curriculum had on student's values. A descriptive study was conducted utilizing a research-constructed survey. The findings revealed there was not a significant correlation between the students' worldview and what they reported being taught to them in high school. However, there was a significant correlation between what students were taught and their believe in or acceptance of evolution. Similarly, there was a significant correlation between what the students believed about evolution and their worldview.


evolution, intelligent design, public school, worldview, science, methodological naturalism, ontological materialism

Subject Categories

Child Psychology


© James Shuls