Science & Education

, Volume 19, Issue 6–8, pp 739–755 | Cite as

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

Article

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.

References

  1. Aguillard D (1999) Evolution education in Louisiana public schools. A decade following Edwards v Aguillard. Am Biol Teach 61:182–188Google Scholar
  2. Alters BJ, Nelson CG (2002) Teaching evolution in higher education. Int J Org Evol 56:1891–1901Google Scholar
  3. Ashgar A, Alters B (2007) Science is in our brains and religion is in our blood: Muslim teachers’ and scientists’ conceptions of evolutionary science and evolution education. In: Paper presented at the annual meeting of National Association of Researchers in Science Teaching. New Orleans, LAGoogle Scholar
  4. Ata G (1931) Buyuk adamlar serisi: Darvin (Charles Darwin). MEB, IstanbulGoogle Scholar
  5. Basibuyuk HH (2007) Lisans ve lisansustu ogretimde evrim egitimi nasil olmalidir? In: Bozcuk AN, Ozmen M, Ciplak B (eds) Biyoloji Egitiminde Evrim. Inonu Universitesi Matbaasi, Malatya, pp 179–197Google Scholar
  6. Bilim Arastirma Vakfi (BAV) (2009) Evrim. In: Web site of BAV. http://www.bilimarastirmavakfi.org/evrim/index.html. Accessed 6 Jan 2009
  7. Bishop BA, Anderson CW (1990) Student conceptions of natural selection and its role in evolution. J Res Sci Educ 27:415–427Google Scholar
  8. Brem SK, Ranney M, Schindel J (2003) Perceived consequences of evolution: college students perceive negative personal and social impact in evolutionary theory. Sci Educ 87:181–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cobern WW (1994) Point: belief, understanding and the teaching of evolution. J Res Sci Teach 31:583–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dagher ZR, BouJaoude S (1997) Scientific views and religious beliefs of college students: the case of biological evolution. J Res Sci Teach 34:429–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dean C (2007) Islamic creationists and a book sent round the world. NY Times. http://www.nytimes. Accessed 8 Apr 2009
  12. Demastes SS, Good RG, Peebles P (1995) Students’ conceptual ecologies and the process of conceptual change in evolution. Sci Educ 79:637–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deniz H, Donnelly LA, Yilmaz I (2008) Exploring the factors related to acceptance of evolutionary theory among Turkish preservice biology teachers: toward a more informative conceptual ecology for biological evolution. J Res Sci Teach 45:420–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Devlet Matbaasi (1930) Turk Tarihinin Ana Hatlari, IstanbulGoogle Scholar
  15. Dobzhansky T (1973) Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Am Biol Teach 35:125–129Google Scholar
  16. Edis T (1999) Cloning creationism in Turkey. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 19(6): 30–35Google Scholar
  17. Edis T (2004) Grand themes, narrow constituency. In: Young M, Edis T (eds) Why intelligent design fails: a scientific critique of new creationism. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, pp 9–19Google Scholar
  18. Ergezen SS (2007) Biyoloji egitiminde evrim konusunun ogretimi ve lise biyoloji ogretmenlerinin yeterlilikleri. In: Bozcuk AN, Ozmen M, Ciplak B (eds) Biyoloji egitiminde evrim. Inonu Universitesi Matbaasi, Malatya, Turkey, pp 173–178Google Scholar
  19. Futuyma DJ (2005) Evolution. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MAGoogle Scholar
  20. Gross E, Simpson RD (1982) Attitudes of introductory college biology students toward evolution. J Res Sci Teach 19:15–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Guven T, Koksal F, Oncu C, Erdogan I, Acar O, Demirci S, Togral A, Simsek S (1990) Liseler Icin Biyoloji I. Milli Egitim Basimevi, IstanbulGoogle Scholar
  22. Heneghan T (2006) Creation vs. Darwin takes Muslim twist in Turkey. Reuters. http://www.reuters.com. Accessed 26 Dec 2008
  23. Heneghan T (2008) Muslim creationist preaches Islam and awaits Christ. Reuters. http://www.reuters.com. Accessed 26 Dec 2008
  24. Ingram E, Nelson C (2006) Relationship between achievement and students’ acceptance of evolution or creation in an upper-level evolution course. J Res Sci Teach 43:7–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kence A (1985) Evrim Kuramı ve Yaratılışçılık. Cumhuriyet, 24 Nisan, p 2Google Scholar
  26. Lombrozo T, Thanukos A, Weisberg M (2008) The importance of understanding the nature of science for accepting evolution. Evol Educ Outreach 1:290–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Miller JD, Scott EC, Okamato S (2006) Science communication: public acceptance of evolution. Science 313:765–766CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Morris HM (1985) Yaratilis modeli. Milli Egitim Basimevi, AnkaraGoogle Scholar
  29. National Academy of Sciences (1998) Teaching about evolution and the nature of science. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  30. Pedhazur EJ, Schmelkin LP (1991) Measurement, design, and analysis: an integrated approach. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hilsdale, NJGoogle Scholar
  31. Rutledge ML, Mitchell MA (2002) High school biology teachers’ knowledge structure, acceptance, and teaching of evolution. Am Biol Teach 64:21–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rutledge ML, Warden MA (2000) Evolutionary theory, the nature of science & high school biology teachers: critical relationships. Am Biol Teach 62(1):23–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sagdic D, Bulut O, Korkmaz S (2003) Lise biyoloji 3. Milli Egitim Basimevi, IstanbulGoogle Scholar
  34. Sayin U, Kence A (1999) Islamic scientific creationism. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 19(6): 18–29Google Scholar
  35. Scott EC (2005) Evolution vs. creationism: an introduction. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, CAGoogle Scholar
  36. Sinatra GM, Southerland SA, McConaughy F, Demastes JW (2003) Intentions and beliefs in students’ understanding and acceptance of evolution. J Res Sci Teach 40:510–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smits J, Hosgor A (2006) Effects of family background charecteristics on educational participation in Turkey. Int J Educ Dev 26:545–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Somel RN (2005) Turkiye’de biyolojik evrim egitiminin sosyolojik bir degerlendirmesi. Unpublished master’s thesis. Ankara, Ankara UniversityGoogle Scholar
  39. Somel RN, Somel M, Tan MG, Kence A (2006) Turkiye’de evrim kurami uzerine tartisma ve ogretmenler. Cumhuriyet Bilim Teknik 20(1018):20–31Google Scholar
  40. Somel M, Somel RNO, Kence A (2007) Turks fighting back against anti-evolution forces. Nature 445:147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Special Report (2006) Anti-evolutionist raise their profile in Europe. Nature 444:406–407Google Scholar
  42. Steinvorth D (2008) Taking on Darwin in Turkey. Spiegel online. http://www.spiegel.de/international. Accessed 26 Dec 2008
  43. Steinvorth D (2009) Most express sympathy for the censorship. Spiegel online. http://www.spiegel.de/international. Accessed 27 Apr 2009
  44. Tatli A (1992) Evrim ve yaratilis. Damla Matbaacilik, KonyaGoogle Scholar
  45. The Inter Academy Panel on International Issues (2006) IAP statement on the teaching of evolution. http://www.interacademies.net. Accessed 8 Aug 2007
  46. Tolon M, Kurt S, Guner G (2008) Public acceptance of evolution on a university campus in Turkey. Int History Philos Sci Teach Group Newsl, November, p 7. http://ihpst.arts.unsw.edu.au//newsletters.html. Accessed 20 Nov 2008
  47. Trani R (2004) I won’t teach evolution; it’s against my religion: and now for the rest of the story…. Am Biol Teach 66: 419–427Google Scholar
  48. Yahya H (2006) The atlas of creation. Global, IstanbulGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry (MC0308)Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Secondary Science and Mathematics EducationMiddle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Department of BiologyMiddle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey

Personalised recommendations