When discourses collide: creationism and evolution in the public sphere

Dávila, Denise
December 2014
Cultural Studies of Science Education;Dec2014, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p877
Academic Journal
This review essay focuses on Özgür Taşkın's discussion of the theory of evolution (TOE), intelligent design (ID) and the convictions of fundamentalist science educators and students in his paper entitled: An exploratory examination of Islamic values in science education: Islamization of science teaching and learning via constructivism. It examines the competing social discourses of evolution and creationism in the United States, which is partially maintained by national public opinion polls and states' legislation about the TOE in the science curricula. The examination of US social discourses presented here is framed by James Gee's () theory that Discourses with a capital 'D,' are unconscious and uncritical socially accepted ways of speaking/listening and writing/reading that are merged with 'distinctive ways of acting, interacting, valuing, feeling, dressing, thinking, [and] believing...so as to enact specific socially recognizable identities...' (p. 155). Such Discourses identify insiders of and outsiders to religious affiliations and other social or cultural groups. The context of this examination is unique in that is draws from the national conversation about the inclusion of ID alongside of the TOE in the public school science programs. Gee's () concept that Discourses serve as tools of inquiry guides the analysis of video recorded public messages from Bill Nye and Lawrence Krauss as well as Creation Museum president Ken Ham. The analysis and discussion of the national conversation about creationism and public education suggests that the education community must consider the global landscape of science literacy both locally and internationally. It also indicates that preservice and practicing science educators may require special training and support. In order to provide unbiased, religious-resistant, evidence-based science instruction, science educators must understand how to separate church from state regardless of their personal beliefs. They must also know how to navigate conversations about the TOE among diverse communities of learners that include both religiously and non-religiously affiliated students.


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