, Volume 19, Issue 6-8, pp 797-819
Date: 25 Jun 2009

Scientific Experts and the Controversy About Teaching Creation/Evolution in the UK Press

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The issue whether creationist accounts of the origins of life should be taught in science education alongside or even instead Darwin’s theory of evolution is controversial in many countries. In 2002 there was a controversy around teaching creationism in science classes at a secondary school in England. The research presented in this paper uses this controversy around teaching creationism/evolution as case study to find out more about the public representation of science education. Here it focuses on the question who the experts were that appeared in the press coverage and examines the role of scientific experts in this controversy. Expertise is a key resource in many public controversies involving science and can also have an impact on decision-making processes and on the public opinion. Also the way expert sources are presented in media accounts of socio-scientific controversies can have an effect on how their credibility is perceived and the arguments being made.