, Volume 19, Issue 6-8, pp 739-755
Date: 24 Jul 2009

Three Decades of Anti-evolution Campaign and its Results: Turkish Undergraduates’ Acceptance and Understanding of the Biological Evolution Theory

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Abstract

Even though in the early years of the Republic of Turkey Darwin’s theory of evolution was treated as a scientific theory and taught fairly in schools, despite all the substantial evidence accumulated supporting the theory of evolution since then, Darwin and his ideas today have been scorned by curriculum and education policy makers. Furthermore, Turkish students and academics have been faced with unprecedented creationist propaganda for many years. In this paper, we first provide a glimpse of the theory of evolution and creationism in Turkey, we then report the results of our survey study (N = 1,098) about the undergraduates’ acceptance and understanding of Darwinian evolution and some of the socioeconomic variables affecting those measures. Our cross sectional study shows that acceptance and understanding of the theory of evolution is quite low. We criticize the current state of evolution education in Turkey and call for a change towards a scientific treatment of the theory evolution in schools.