, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 386-392

Attitudes of Students at a Private Christian Liberal Arts University Toward the Teaching of Evolution

Abstract

Students at private Christian colleges tend to have a viewpoint that incorporates faith and belief in God. Whether due to misconceptions about evolution, lack of knowledge of the nature of science, or belief that their faith cannot allow them to accept evolution, there tends to be a great deal of confusion about evolution. This study investigates the attitudes toward evolution of students at a small Christian liberal arts university located in east Texas (East Texas Baptist University, ETBU) and how they would feel most comfortable being approached about evolution in the college science classroom. The majority of students at ETBU are from either Texas or Louisiana. In high school, both states require at least one science course to be taken and evolution to be taught at some level of understanding. Students show a fair understanding that science includes only naturalistic explanations $ \left( {\overline{x} = 2.16 \pm 0.68} \right) $ . However, a greater number of science courses and maturity level of the student resulted in significant differences (P = 0.0001 and P = 0.002, respectively) in the understanding of science. Nevertheless, there was a general assertion that God should be included in the definition of science by the majority of students (64.4%), indicating a misunderstanding of the nature of science. Students responded that they would be most comfortable with being approached in the classroom about evolution through the presentation of the science supporting evolution (19.6%), and being shown how creationism and intelligent design are not science (29.8%). A number of students responded that the professor should accept creationism and intelligent design as science and teach them as such (38.2%). This paper will present methods to address students that respond to evolution in this manner.