Differential Impacts of Religious Cultural Competence on Students' Perceived Conflict with Evolution at an Evangelical University

M. Elizabeth Barnes, Ruth Werner, Sara E. Brownell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Evolution remains a controversial issue in the United States, particularly for evangelical Christians, who as a group have been a key player in anti-evolution education legislation. Religious cultural competence can be effective in decreasing undergraduate biology students' perceived conflict between religion and evolution. However, the impact on student populations who are particularly resistant to evolution is unknown. We explored the efficacy of culturally competent evolution education practices adapted for biology students in a genetics course at an evangelical Christian university. This included the presence of an instructor as a religious scientist role model who accepts evolution, and the use of the book The Language of God. We explored how this curriculum affected students' conceptions of religion and evolution using pre- and post-surveys. We found a differential impact of the curriculum: 31% of the students who indicated that there was a conflict between their religious beliefs and evolution changed their conceptions to be more in line with scientific evidence, but the remaining 69% did not. We describe reasons why, including students' perceptions of The Language of God. This research indicates the challenges of implementing culturally competent evolution education for evangelical students, given their strong commitment to biblical literalism and their lower likelihood of being convinced by scientific evidence for evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Biology Teacher
Volume82
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 19 2020

Keywords

  • Christianity
  • creationism
  • evangelical
  • evolution
  • nature of science
  • undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Differential Impacts of Religious Cultural Competence on Students' Perceived Conflict with Evolution at an Evangelical University'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this