Students’ Perceptions of Apparent Contradictions Between Science and Religion: Creation Is Only the Beginning
The potential for conflict between science and religion in pupils’ education and thinking runs deeper than commonly perceived. Those forming their understanding of the situation by drawing on the picture presented in the media would likely conclude that instances of tension and conflict are confined to science lessons on origins and affect only those pupils who believe that the story of Creation describes six literal days.
While the question of how to deliver teaching on origins is rightly a concern, research suggests that pupils’ perceptions of what science tells us have the potential to interact with a much broader set of religious beliefs.
In this chapter I draw on studies of young people’s perceptions of the relationships between science and religion to highlight some of the characteristics of their thinking when there is the potential for individuals to perceive that science and religion are opposed. I then argue that social constraints operate in science classrooms which can have the effect of masking the nature of pupils’ perceptions of the relationships between science and religion from teachers. To close the chapter, I argue that it is important that teachers provide opportunities for pupils to see that a religious worldview is not necessarily scientifically untenable.
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