Advertisement

Research in Science Education

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 1171–1186 | Cite as

Scientific and Religious Perspectives on Evolution in the Curriculum: an Approach Based on Pedagogy of Difference

  • David C. OwensEmail author
  • Rachel S. A. Pear
  • Hanan A. Alexander
  • Michael J. Reiss
  • Tali Tal
Article

Abstract

There is a long history of some students finding that the science instruction they receive in schools fails to address their deeply held concerns about the theory of evolution. Such concerns are principally religious, though there are also students with deeply held religious views who are perfectly comfortable with the theory of evolution. New instructional strategies are emerging, aimed at reducing the tensions that may exist between evolution and religion by making space for students to examine their own views and recognize the spectrum of views that exists between atheistic evolution and special creation, as well as the bounded nature of science and different ways of knowing. In this article, we discuss the teaching of evolution in societies where acceptance of the theory of evolution is far from universal, and argue that an approach based on pedagogy of difference has considerable potential to enhance students’ development of epistemic insight through recognition of the multiple perspectives that exist concerning the relationship between religion and science. In doing so, we explicate precisely what pedagogy of difference entails and introduce an approach that should enhance evolution education, and even aid students’ situating of science as a resource for making decisions about issues with scientific and societal aspects where the acknowledgement of multiple perspectives is valuable.

Keywords

Epistemic insight Religion Evolution Creation Pedagogy of difference 

References

  1. AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). (2008). Accessed June 9, 2011. www.project2061.org/publications/bsl/online/index.php?home=true
  2. Aikenhead, G. S. (1996). Science education: border crossing into the subculture of science. Studies in Science Education, 27, 1–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alexander, H. A. (2001). Reclaiming goodness: education and the spiritual quest. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  4. Alexander, H. A. (2015a). Reimagining liberal education: affiliation and inquiry in democratic schooling. New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  5. Alexander, H. A. (2015b). Education and the post-secular condition: resanctifying pedagogy in an era of disenchantment. In P. Wexler & Y. Hotam (Eds.), New social foundations in education (pp. 33–53). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  6. Alexander, H. A. (2017). Public theology and liberal education. International Journal of Public Theology, 11, 313–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Alexander, H. A., & McLaughlin, T. H. (2003). Education in religion and spirituality. In N. Blake, P. Smeyers, R. Smith, & P. Standish (Eds.), The Blackwell guide to philosophy of education (pp. 356–373). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Asghar, A., Wiles, J. R., & Alters, B. (2007). Canadian pre-service elementary teachers’ conceptions of biological evolution and evolution education. McGill Journal of Education, 42, 189–209.Google Scholar
  9. Barnes, M. E., & Brownell, S. E. (2017). A call to use cultural competence when teaching evolution to religious college students: introducing religious cultural competence in evolution education (ReCCEE). CBE-Life Sciences Education, 16, es4.  https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.17-04-0062.
  10. Barzilai, S., & Chinn, C. A. (2018). On the goals of epistemic education: promoting apt epistemic performance. Journal of Learning Sciences, 27, 353–389.Google Scholar
  11. Barzilai, S., & Zohar, A. (2014). Reconsidering personal epistemology as metacognition: a multifaceted approach to the analysis of epistemic thinking. Educational Psychologist, 49, 13–35.Google Scholar
  12. Basel, N., Harms, U., Prechtl, H., Weiß, T., & Rothgangel, M. (2014). Students’ arguments on the science and religion issue: the example of evolutionary theory and genesis. Journal of Biological Education, 48, 179–187.Google Scholar
  13. Billingsley, B. (2004). Ways of approaching the apparent contradictions between science and religion. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. In University of Tasmania. Australia: Hobart.Google Scholar
  14. Billingsley, B., Brock, R., Taber, K. S., & Riga, F. (2016). How students view the boundaries between their science and religious education concerning the origins of life and the universe. Science Education, 100, 459–482.Google Scholar
  15. Billingsley, B., Taber, K., Riga, F., & Newdick, H. (2013). Secondary school students’ epistemic insight into the relationships between science and religion—a preliminary enquiry. Research in Science Education, 43, 1715–1732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Blackburn, S. (1993). Essays in quasi-realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Brooke, J. H. (1991). Science and religion: some historical perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Byrne, C. (2014). Religion in secular education: what, in Heaven’s name, are we teaching our children? Boston, MA: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cobern, W. W. (2000). The nature of science and the role of knowledge and belief. Science & Education, 9, 219–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Clough, M. P. (1994). Diminish students’ resistance to biological evolution. The American Biology Teacher, 56, 409–415.Google Scholar
  21. Dawkins, R. (2006). The Root of all Evil? [Documentary]. United Kingdom: Channel 4.Google Scholar
  22. Deniz, H., & Borgerding, L. A. (Eds.). (2018). Evolution education around the globe. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Duschl, R. A. (1985). Science education and the philosophy of science: twenty-five years of mutually exclusive development. School Science and Mathematics, 85, 541–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Einstein, A., & Infeld, L. (1938). The evolution of physics. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  25. Evans, J. H. (2018). Morals not knowledge: recasting the contemporary U.S. conflict between religion and science. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ford, D. F. (2006). An interfaith wisdom: Scriptural reasoning between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Modern Theology, 22, 345–366Google Scholar
  27. Fowler, S. R., & Zeidler, D. L. (2016). Lack of evolution acceptance inhibits students’ negotiation of biology-based socioscientific issues. Journal of Biological Education, 50, 407–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hameed, S. (2015). Making sense of Islamic creationism in Europe. Public Understanding of Science, 24, 388–399.Google Scholar
  29. Hinnells, J. R. (2010). The penguin handbook of the World’s living religions. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  30. Hofer, B. K., & Pintrich, P. R. (1997). The development of epistemological theories: beliefs about knowledge and knowing and their relation to learning. Review of Educational Research, 67, 88–140.Google Scholar
  31. Hokayem, H., & BouJaoude, S. (2008). College students’ perceptions of the theory of evolution. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45, 395–419.Google Scholar
  32. Hull, J. (2000). Religionism and religious education. In M. Leicester, C. Modgil, & S. Modgil (Eds.), Education, culture and values: Spiritual and religious education (Vol. 5, pp. 75–85). London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  33. Jackson, D. F., Doster, E. C., Meadows, L., & Wood, T. (1995). Hearts and minds in the science classroom: the education of a confirmed evolutionist. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 32, 585–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kahn, S., & Zeidler, D. L. (2016). Using our heads and HARTSS*: developing perspective-taking skills for socioscientific reasoning (* humanities, ARTs, and social sciences). Journal of Science Teacher Education, 27, 261–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kaye, M. F. (2012). Scriptural reasoning with Israelis and Palestinians. The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning. Retrieved from (http://jsr.shanti.virginia.edu/back-issues/volume-11-no-1-august-2012/scriptural-reasoning-with-israelis-and-palestinians/).
  36. Konnemann, C., Asshoff, R., & Hammann, M. (2016). Insights into the diversity of attitudes concerning evolution and creation: a multidimensional approach. Science Education, 100, 673–705.Google Scholar
  37. Kuhn, D. (2001). How do people know? Psychological Science, 12, 1–8.Google Scholar
  38. Laats, A., & Siegel, H. (2016). Teaching evolution in a creation nation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lederman, N. G., Abd-El-Khalick, F., Bell, R. L., & Schwartz, R. S. (2002). Views of nature of science questionnaire: toward valid and meaningful assessment of learners’ conceptions of nature of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 497–521.Google Scholar
  40. Marincola, E. (2006). Why is public science education important? Journal of Translational Medicine, 4, 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Matthews, M. R. (2008). Science, worldviews and education: An introduction. In: Science, worldviews and education, Matthews, M. R. (Ed.), (pp. 1–26). Dordrecht, Springer.Google Scholar
  42. Matthews, M. R. (Ed.) (2014). International handbook of research in history, philosophy and science teaching. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  43. McLaughlin, T. H. (1992). Citizenship, diversity, and education: a philosophical perspective. Journal of Moral Education, 21, 235–250.Google Scholar
  44. Meadows, L., Doster, E., & Jackson, D. F. (2000). Managing the conflict between evolution & religion. The American Biology Teacher, 62, 102–107.Google Scholar
  45. Meyer, X., & Crawford, B. A. (2011). Teaching science as a cultural way of knowing: merging authentic inquiry, nature of science, and multicultural strategies. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 6, 525–547.Google Scholar
  46. Moore, J. A. (1984). Science as a way of knowing—evolutionary biology. American Zoologist, 24, 467–534.Google Scholar
  47. Mujtaba, T., Reiss, M. J., & Stones, A. (2017). Epistemic insight: teaching about science and RE in secondary schools. School Science Review, 99, 67–75.Google Scholar
  48. Nozick, R. (1981). Philosophical explanations. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  49. O’Brein, T. L., & Noy, S. (2015). Traditional, modern, and post-secular perspectives on science and religion in the United States. American Sociological Review, 80, 92–115.Google Scholar
  50. Oliveira, A. W., Cook, K., & Buck, G. A. (2011). Framing evolution discussion intelligently. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48, 257–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Owens, D. C., Sadler, T. D., & Zeidler, D. L. (2017). Controversial issues in the science classroom. Phi Delta Kappan, 99, 45–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pear, R. S. A., Klein, M., & Berger, D. (2015). Report from the field: a pilot project on the teaching of Jewish views of evolution in Israel. International Journal of Jewish Education Research, 25, 59–66.Google Scholar
  53. Quine, W. V. O. (1969). Ontological relativity and other essays. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Reiss, M. J. (2011). How should creationism and intelligent design be dealt with in the classroom? Journal of Philosophy of Education, 45, 399–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Reiss, M. J. (2014). What significance does Christianity have for science education? In: Handbook of historical and philosophical research in science education, Matthews, M. R. (Ed.), (pp. 1637–1662), Springer, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  56. Roberts, D. A., & Bybee, R. W. (2014). Scientific literacy, science literacy, and science education. In N. G. Lederman & S. K. Abell (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education (Vol. 2, pp. 545–558). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  57. Ryan, A. G., & Aikenhead, G. S. (1992). Students’ preconceptions about the epistemology of science. Science Education, 76, 559–580.Google Scholar
  58. Sadler, T. D. (2004). Moral sensitivity and its contribution to the resolution of socio-scientific issues. Journal of Moral Education, 33, 339–358.Google Scholar
  59. Sadler, T. D. (2005). Evolutionary theory as a guide to socio-scientific decision-making. Journal of Biological Education, 39, 68–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sadler, T. D., Barab, S. A., & Scott, B. (2007). What do students gain by engaging in socioscientific inquiry? Research in Science Education, 37, 371–391.Google Scholar
  61. Scheffler, I. (1965). Conditions of knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  62. Schilders, M., Sloep, P., Peled, E., & Boersma, K. (2009). Worldviews and evolution in the biology classroom. Journal of Biological Education, 43, 115–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sickel, A. J., & Friedrichsen, P. (2013). Examining the evolution education literature with a focus on teachers: major findings, goals for teacher preparation, and directions for future research. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 6, 23.Google Scholar
  64. Smart, N. (1998). The world’s religions (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Smith, M. U., & Siegel, H. (2004). Knowing, believing, and understanding: what goals for science education? Science & Education, 13, 553–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Smith, M. U., & Siegel, H. (2016). On the relationship between belief and acceptance of evolution as goals of evolution education. Science & Education, 25, 473–496.Google Scholar
  67. Taber, K. S., Billingsley, B., Riga, F., & Newdick, H. (2015). English secondary students’ thinking about the status of scientific theories: consistent, comprehensive, coherent and extensively evidenced explanations of aspects of the natural world–or just ‘an idea someone has’. The Curriculum Journal, 26, 370–403.Google Scholar
  68. Tal, T., Kali, Y., Magid, S., & Madhok, J. J. (2011). Enhancing the authenticity of a web-based module for teaching simple inheritance. In T. D. Sadler (Ed.), Socio-scientific issues in the classroom (pp. 11–38). Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tang, K. S., & Yang, X. (2017). Student agency in negotiating the relationship between science and religion. Research in Science Education, 1–17.Google Scholar
  70. Thomas, R. (2018). Beyond conflict and complementarity: science and religion in contemporary India. Science, Technology & Society, 23, 1–18.Google Scholar
  71. Yasri, P., Arthur, S., Smith, M. U., & Mancy, R. (2013). Relating science and religion: an ontology of taxonomies and development of a research tool for identifying individual views. Science & Education, 22, 2679–2707.Google Scholar
  72. Yasri, P., & Mancy, R. (2014). Understanding student approaches to learning evolution in the context of their perceptions of the relationship between science and religion. International Journal of Science Education, 36, 24–45.Google Scholar
  73. Walker, K. A., & Zeidler, D. L. (2007). Promoting discourse about socioscientific issues through scaffolded inquiry. International Journal of Science Education, 29, 1387–1410.Google Scholar
  74. Wittgenstein, L. (1953/1983). Philosophical investigations. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  75. Zeidler, D. L., & Sadler, D. L. (2011). An inclusive view of scientific literacy: core issues and future directions of socioscientific reasoning. In Promoting scientific literacy: science education research in transaction, C. Linder, L. Ostman, D. a. Roberts, P. Wickman, G. Erickson, & a. MacKinnon (Eds.) (pp. 176–192). New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
  76. Zeidler, D. L., Berkowitz, M. W., & Bennett, K. (2014). Thinking (scientifically) responsibly: the cultivation of character in a global science education community. In Assessing schools for generation R (Responsibility), M. P. Mueller, D. J. Tippins, & A. J. Stewart (Eds.), (pp. 83–99). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  77. Zeidler, D. L., & Kahn, S. (2014). It’s debatable! Using socioscientific issues to develop scientific literacy K-12. Arlingon, VA: NSTA Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education, Armstrong CampusGeorgia Southern UniversitySavannahUSA
  2. 2.Center for Jewish Education in the Faculty of EducationUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  4. 4.UCL Institute of EducationLondonUK
  5. 5.Faculty of Education in Technology and ScienceTechnion-Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations