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

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


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.


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.



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).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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