Advertisement

Conceptual Frameworks, Metaphysical Commitments and Worldviews: The Challenge of Reflecting the Relationships Between Science and Religion in Science Education

  • Keith S. TaberEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 8)

Abstract

One issue for science educators who are concerned that science teaching should be inclusive, and so should be accessible to all students, is the perception of science as in some sense essentially contrary to religion, and inherently atheistic. This is a view that has been strongly presented in public by some scientists, and – despite not representing the views of the scientific community – it is a perspective that seems to have been accepted by many school children in some national contexts. If students who have a personal faith, or at least identify strongly with faith communities, consider that science is essentially opposed to religion, then they are likely to feel excluded, compromised, disadvantaged or indeed alienated from science and science classes. School-age learners are known to generally have limited understanding of the nature of science and may not appreciate the distinction between the extra-scientific claims made about science by some of its practitioners and the ‘scientific values’ that are adopted as shared commitments by the scientific community as a whole. This chapter offers an analysis of this issue and argues (i) that a pluralist science education should be informed by the distinction between the metaphysical commitments (some shared, some not) that scientists bring to their work and the conceptual frameworks and knowledge claims that are constructed and critiqued through scientific discourse itself and (ii) that inclusive science education must explicitly represent the diversity of views within the scientific community on whether, and if so how, science and religion are related.

Keywords

Science Education Science Teacher Science Classroom Science Lesson Scientific Idea 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgment

The author would like to acknowledge useful discussions on the issues considered in this chapter with colleagues working on the Learning about Science and Religion project, in particular Dr Berry Billinglsey (University of Reading).

References

  1. Aikenhead, G. S. (1996). Science education: Border crossing into the sub-culture of science. Studies in Science Education, 27, 1–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aikenhead, G. S., & Jegede, O. J. (1999). Cross-cultural science education: A cognitive explanation of a cultural phenomenon. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(3), 269–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alexander, D. R. (2008). Creation or evolution: Do we have to choose? Oxford: Monarch Books.Google Scholar
  4. Allen, N. J., & Crawley, F. E. (1998). Voices from the bridge: Worldview conflicts of Kickapoo students of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35(2), 111–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alsop, S., & Bowen, M. G. (2009). Inquiry science as a language of possibility in troubled times. In W.-M. Roth & K. Tobin (Eds.), Handbook of research in North America (pp. 49–60). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  6. Ambusaidi, A., & Al-Shuaili, A. (2009). Science education development in the Sultinate of Oman. In S. BouJaoude & Z. R. Dagher (Eds.), Arab States (Vol. 3, pp. 205–219). Rotherdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  7. Antolin, M. F., & Herbers, J. M. (2001). Evolution’s struggle for existence in America’s public schools. Evolution, 55(12), 2379–2388.Google Scholar
  8. Barbour, I. G. (2000). When science meets religion: Enemies, strangers or partners? San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  9. Bentley, D., & Watts, D. M. (1987). Courting the positive virtues: A case for feminist science. In A. Kelly (Ed.), Science for girls? (pp. 89–98). Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Berry, R. J. (Ed.). (2009). Real scientists real faith. Oxford: Monarch Books.Google Scholar
  11. Bhaskar, R. (1975/2008). A realist theory of science. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Brandt, C. B., & Kosko, K. (2009). The power of the earth is a circle: Indigenous science education in North America. In W.-M. Roth & K. Tobin (Eds.), Handbook of research in North America (Vol. 1, pp. 389–407). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Brewer, W. F. (2008). Naïve theories of observational astronomy: Review, analysis, and theoretical implications. In S. Vosniadou (Ed.), International handbook of research on conceptual change (pp. 155–204). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Brickhouse, N. W., Dagher, Z. R., Letts, W. J., & Shipman, H. L. (2000). Diversity of students’ views about evidence, theory, and the interface between science and religion in an astronomy course. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(4), 340–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Capra, F. (1983). The Tao of Physics: An exploration of the parallels between modern physics and eastern mysticism (Revised edition ed.). London: Fontana.Google Scholar
  16. Carambo, C. (2009). Evolution of an urban research project: The Philadelphia project. In W.-M. Roth & K. Tobin (Eds.), Handbook of research in North America (Vol. 1, pp. 473–489). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Claxton, G. (1993). Minitheories: A preliminary model for learning science. In P. J. Black & A. M. Lucas (Eds.), Children’s informal ideas in science (pp. 45–61). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Cobern, W. W. (1994). Worldview theory and conceptual change in science education. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Anaheim, CA.Google Scholar
  19. Cooper, L. N. (1980). Source and limits of human intellect. Daedalus, 109(2), 1–17.Google Scholar
  20. Cray, D., Dawkins, R., & Collins, F. (2006, November 5). God vs. Science. Time. Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1555132,00.html
  21. Dagher, Z. R. (2009). Epistemology of science in curriculum standards of four Arab countries. In S. BouJaoude & Z. R. Dagher (Eds.), Arab States (Vol. 3, pp. 41–60). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  22. Darwin, C. (1859/1968). The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  23. Darwin, C. (1871/2006). The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. In E. O. Wilson (Ed.), From so simple a beginning: The four great books of Charles Darwin (pp. 767–1248). New York: W W Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  24. Darwin, C., & Wallace, A. (1858). On the tendency of species to form varieties; and on the perpetuation of varieties and species by natural means of selection. Proceedings of the Linnean Society, 3, 45–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dobbs, B. J. T. (1982). Newton’s alchemy and his theory of matter. Isis, 73(4), 511–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Driver, R., Leach, J., Millar, R., & Scott, P. (1996). Young people’s images of science. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Duit, R. (1991). Students’ conceptual frameworks: Consequences for learning science. In S. M. Glynn, R. H. Yeany, & B. K. Britton (Eds.), The psychology of learning science (pp. 65–85). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  28. Eldredge, N. (1995). Reinventing Darwin: The great evolutionary debate. Lonon: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.Google Scholar
  29. Francis, L. J., Gibson, H. M., & Fulljames, P. (1990). Attitude towards Christianity, creationism, scientism and interest in science among 11–15 year olds. British Journal of Religious Education, 13(1), 4–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Fulljames, P., Gibson, H. M., & Francis, L. J. (1991). Creationism, scientism, christianity and science: A study in adolescent attitudes. British Educational Research Journal, 17(2), 171–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Geertz, C. (1957). Ethos, world-view and the analysis of sacred symbols. The Antioch Review, 17(4), 421–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Geertz, C. (1973/2000). The impact of the concept of culture on the concept of man. In The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays (pp. 33–54). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  33. Gilbert, G. N., & Mulkay, M. (1984). Opening Pandora’s box: A sociological analysis of scientists’ discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Grant, E. (2000). God and natural philosophy: The late middle ages and Sir Isaac Newton. Early Science and Medicine, 5(3), 279–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Grumett, D. (2009). Naturla theology after Darwin: Contemplating the vortex. In M. S. Northcott & R. J. Berry (Eds.), Theology after Darwin (pp. 155–170). Milton Keynes: Paternoster.Google Scholar
  36. Hameed, S. (2008). Bracing for Islamic Creationism. Science, 322(5908), 637–1638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hansson, L., & Redfors, A. (2007). Physics and the possibility of a religious view of the universe: Swedish upper secondary students’ views. Science & Education, 16(3–5), 461–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Harding, S. (1994). Is science multicultural? Challenges, resources, opportunities, uncertainties. Configurations, 2(2), 301–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hewitt, D. (2000). A clash of worldviews: Experiences from teaching aboriginal students. Theory Into Practice, 39(2), 111–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hirst, P. H. (1974). Liberal education and the nature of knowledge. In P. H. Hirst (Ed.), Knowledge and the curriculum: A collections of philosophical papers (pp. 30–53). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  41. Hodson, D. (2009). Teaching and learning about science: Language, theories, methods, history, traditions and values. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  42. Hokayem, H., & BouJaoude, S. (2008). College students’ perceptions of the theory of evolution. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(4), 395–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Johnston, G. S. (1993). The Galileo Affair. Lay Witness Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.scepterpublishers.org/product/samples/9716.pdf
  44. Kawagley, A. O., Norris-Tull, D., & Norris-Tull, R. A. (1998). The indigenous worldview of Yupiaq culture: Its scientific nature and relevance to the practice and teaching of science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35(2), 133–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Koltko-Rivera, M. E. (2006). Rediscovering the later version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Self-transcendence and opportunities for theory, research, and unification. Review of General Psychology, 10(4), 302–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kuhn, T. S. (1996). The structure of scientific revolutions (3rd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lakatos, I. (1970). Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programmes. In I. Lakatos & A. Musgrove (Eds.), Criticism and the growth of knowledge (pp. 91–196). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Leach, J., & Scott, P. (2002). Designing and evaluating science teaching sequences: An approach drawing upon the concept of learning demand and a social constructivist perspective on learning. Studies in Science Education, 38, 115–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lemke, J. L. (1990). Talking science: Language, learning, and values. Norwood: Ablex Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  50. Long, D. E. (2011). Evolution and religion in American Education: An ethnography. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Losee, J. (1993). A historical introduction to the Philosophy of Science (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Mansour, N. (2009). Religion and science education: An Egyptian perspective. In S. BouJaoude & Z. R. Dagher (Eds.), Arab States (Vol. 3, pp. 107–131). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  53. Martin-Hansen, L. M. (2008). First-year college students’ conflict with religion and science. Science Education, 17, 317–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Matthews, M. R. (2002). Constructivism and science education: A further appraisal. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 11(2), 121–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Matthews, M. R. (2009). Teaching the philosophical and worldview components of science. Science Education, 18(6), 697–728.Google Scholar
  56. Medawar, P. B. (1963/1990). Is the scientific paper a fraud? In P. B. Medawar (Ed.), The threat and the glory (pp. 228–233). New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  57. Merton, R. K. (1938). Science, technology and society in seventeenth century England. Osiris, 4, 360–632 (ArticleType: research-article / Full publication date: 1938 / Copyright © 1938 Saint Catherines Press).Google Scholar
  58. Millar, R. (Ed.). (1989). Doing science: Images of science in science education. London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  59. Millar, R., & Osborne, J. (1998). Beyond 2000: Science education for the future. London: King’s College.Google Scholar
  60. Morris, H. (2000). The long war on god: The history and impact of the creation/evolution conflict. Green Forest: Master Books.Google Scholar
  61. National Academy of Sciences Working Group on Teaching Evolution. (1998). Teaching about evolution and the nature of science. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  62. Nickerson, R. S. (1998). Confirmation bias: A ubiquitous phenomenon in many guises. Review of General Psychology, 2(2), 175–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Pesic, P. (2006). Isaac Newton and the mystery of the major sixth: a transcription of his manuscript ‘Of Musick’ with commentary. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 31, 291–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Phipps, W. E. (2002). Darwin’s religious odyssey. Harrisburg: Trinity Press International.Google Scholar
  65. Poole, M. (2008). Creationism, intelligent design and science education. School Science Review, 90(330), 123–129.Google Scholar
  66. Reiss, M. J. (2008). Should science educators deal with the science/religion issue? Studies in Science Education, 44(2), 157–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Reiss, M. J. (2009). Imagining the world: The significance of religious worldviews for science education. Science Education, 18(6), 783–796.Google Scholar
  68. Roth, W.-M., & Alexander, T. (1997). The interaction of students’ scientific and religious discourses: Two case studies. International Journal of Science Education, 19(2), 125–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Roth, W.-M., & Bowen, G. M. (1995). Knowing and interacting: A study of culture, practices, and resources in a grade 8 open-inquiry science classroom guided by a cognitive apprenticeship metaphor. Cognition and Instruction, 13(1), 73–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sagan, C. (1985/2006). The varieties of scientific experience: A personal view of the search for God. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  71. Schutz, A., & Luckman, T. (1973). The structures of the life-world (R. M. Zaner & H. T. Engelhardt, Trans.). Evanston: Northwest University Press.Google Scholar
  72. Slezak, P. (2008, November). Opinion: Theism vs naturalism. International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group Newsletter, 8–9.Google Scholar
  73. Solomon, J. (1992). Getting to know about energy – In school and society. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  74. Solomon, J. (1993). The social construction of children’s scientific knowledge. In P. Black & A. M. Lucas (Eds.), Children’s Informal ideas in science (pp. 85–101). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  75. Springer, K. (2010). Educational research: A contextual approach. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  76. Taber, K. S. (2008). Towards a curricular model of the nature of science. Science Education, 17(2–3), 179–218.Google Scholar
  77. Taber, K. S. (2009). Progressing science education: Constructing the scientific research programme into the contingent nature of learning science. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  78. Taber, K. S. (2010). Straw men and false dichotomies: Overcoming philosophical confusion in chemical education. Journal of Chemical Education, 87(5), 552–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Taber, K. S. (2011). The natures of scientific thinking: Creativity as the handmaiden to logic in the development of public and personal knowledge. In M. S. Khine (Ed.), Advances in the nature of science research – Concepts and methodologies (pp. 51–74). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  80. Taber, K. S., Billingsley, B., Riga, F., & Newdick, H. (2011a). Secondary students’ responses to perceptions of the relationship between science and religion: Stances identified from an interview study. Science Education, 95(6), 1000–1025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Taber, K. S., Billingsley, B., Riga, F., & Newdick, H. (2011b). To what extent do pupils perceive science to be inconsistent with religious faith? An exploratory survey of 13–14 year-old English pupils. Science Education International, 22(2), 99–118.Google Scholar
  82. Tamny, M. (1979). Newton, creation, and perception. Isis, 70(1), 48–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Thagard, P. (2008). Conceptual change in the history of science: life, mind, and disease. In S. Vosniadou (Ed.), International handbook of research on conceptual change (pp. 374–387). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  84. Vallely, P. (2008, October 11). Religion vs science: can the divide between God and rationality be reconciled? The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/religion-vs-science-can-the-divide-between-god-and-rationality-be-reconciled-955321.html
  85. Verhey, S. D. (2005). The effect of engaging prior learning on student attitudes toward creationism and evolution. BioScience, 55(11), 996–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. von Glasersfeld, E. (1989). Cognition, construction of knowledge, and teaching. Synthese, 80(1), 121–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Wörne, C. H. (2008). Some physics teaching whispered fallacies. Latin-American Journal of Physics Education, 2(1), 18–20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations