Presentation on theme: "Accepting Evolution Anusuya Chinsamy and Éva Plagányi Cape Town, South Africa University of."— Presentation transcript:
Accepting Evolution Anusuya Chinsamy and Éva Plagányi Cape Town, South Africa University of
EVOLUTION ” “Troubling”“Controversial” “Contentious” “Troubling” “Controversial” Challenges religious beliefs and values
Farmer, P. (1979) Beginnings: Creation Myths of the World. Atheneum, New York Hamilton, V. (1988) In the Beginning: Creation Stories from around the world. Harcourt, Brace, Javanovich, San Diego. Many different religions- many ideas about how the world was created.
CENTRAL IDEA OF BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION: All life on Earth shares a common ancestor Through process of descent with modification, the common ancestor diversity of life on earth. Scientific view (i.e. involves observation, hypothesis and Testing): 1. Life has a history i.e. it changed over time 2. Different species share common ancestors
1831: - post as naturalist (unpaid!) on the H.M.S. Beagle - Voyage around the world lasted about 5 years - Collected a wide range of plants, insects, and animals, incl. fossils. Also studied and animals, incl. fossils. Also studied geological formations. geological formations.
Significance of Darwin’s hypothesis 1. Provides volume of evidence that evolution occurs 2. Provides a mechanism for how evolution occurs i.e. through natural selection through natural selection 3. Unifying theory for biology- explains why related organisms are similar; explains relationship between organisms are similar; explains relationship between structure and function; leads to testable hypotheses structure and function; leads to testable hypotheses
Resistance to the science of evolutionary biology Driven by: proponents of intelligent design perceived incompatibilities between evolution and a diversity of religious faiths
“before/after” survey of 1 st year students in Faculty of Science assess their background knowledge on the subject 2006 - attitudes of the first year students to learning about evolution Student bodyGood mix of race; gender; religions Generally about 18 years High achieving students Evolution – only taught in schools in SA since 2009
SURVEY Right/wrong Anonymous Code-names 17 questions; ranked in 5 categories: Strongly agree; Agree; Don’t know/neutral; Disagree; Strongly disagree. 1 X Express a view 94 Before and After questionaires; matched code-names a)Religious-based questions concerning evolution; b)Questions probing fundamental understanding of evolution concepts; c)Scientific facts regarding evolution d)Fallacious questions to test the quality of responses.
Fallacious questions to test the quality of responses.
Questions probing fundamental understanding of evolution concepts
. “I found it interesting. One of those things I heard people talk about but never really took seriously. Now I found all the evidence towards it fascinating and convincing.” “It is very necessary and I appreciate it.” “It was a great experience. It is a privilege to learn and understand a scientific explanation for the origin of biodiversity and a much more believable explanation than any religious propositions. “I am looking forward to it.” “I have an interest in learning about it but I do not believe in it!” “I enjoyed it thoroughly, it was an eye-opener! It explains a lot. I understand it better and it’s very fascinating. BEFOREAFTER
“I feel that my personal beliefs and strong faith will contradict what I am taught, but I am willing to be open-minded.” BEFORE “Its been quite interesting getting different people’s views on things. My opinion of evolution changed (but I still don’t agree with).” AFTER
Educators need to be aware of the challenges facing the understanding of Evolution Actively engage with students preconceptions Relevance to society today Scientific method Workshops for teachers
“There is grandeur in this view of life, ….. from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” Darwin 1859