Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kansas Biology Teachers and Evolution

The Wichita Eagle is reporting that a new survey of Kansas biology teachers reveals that they have the highest acceptance of evolution of any state in the country. As John Schrock writes:

The percentage of biology teachers from different states who thought that creation has a valid scientific foundation were: Kentucky teachers, 69 percent; Oklahoma, 48 percent; South Dakota, 39 percent; Ohio, 38 percent; Illinois, 30 percent; Georgia, 30 percent; Louisiana, 29 percent; and Kansas, 24 percent.

Creationist belief that contradicts science may actually be substantially lower than these percentages suggest. In a 1991 survey, 85 percent of Kansas biology teachers said they thought "the modern theory of evolution has a valid scientific foundation." But 25 percent also indicated that they thought "creationism has a valid scientific foundation."

After that survey, I chatted with teachers in the field. Some explained that they marked both answers because they were not literalist and saw 3.5 billion years of evolution as no problem. But they did believe in a supernatural creation of the universe in the beginning and, in some cases, a supernatural instilling of the soul on the evolutionary route from ape-men to humans. In neither case would their beliefs interfere with teaching modern evolutionary biology.

I suspect that this is more common than we think. After all, I can think of a number of people, myself included, who are committed evolutionists who also believe in a God-ordained creation. This gives one hope, although the numbers in Kentucky are a bit scary.

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