In the shadow of Intelligent Design: the teaching of evolution

Cleaves, Anna; Toplis, Rob
December 2007
Journal of Biological Education (Society of Biology);Winter2007, Vol. 42 Issue 1, p30
Academic Journal
The theory of evolution by natural selection is contrasted in the media, and in some schools, with creationist ideas, in which the diversity of life on Earth is said to be the result of direct species-by-species creation, not of evolution. More recently, the Intelligent Design movement has claimed that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection" (Intelligent Design Network website). A sample of 35 trainee and 29 experienced teachers from secondary schools in England were interviewed about their views, teaching and school policies regarding Darwin's theory of evolution and challenges to it, shortly before an organisation promoting Intelligent Design sent resources to all science departments in the United Kingdom. Data were grouped according to responses to creationist views, school policies and the value of the theory of evolution by natural selection. The majority of the teachers and trainees would use existing evidence that makes it highly probable that evolution has occurred, but for some there was a failure to recognise the nature of scientific enquiry. Aspects of practice and viewpoint gave serious concern about whether all science teachers and prospective science teachers have a scientific view of evolution or have sufficient training to respond to 'alternative theories' in science lessons. Professional development and curriculum guidance for both trainee and experienced teachers is indicated.


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