U of M Study: high school teachers dramatically impact student views on evolution, creationism

When it comes to the evolution vs. creationism "debate," what side you come down on depends largely on your high school biology teacher's grip-on-reality (or lack thereof), according to a recent University of Minnesota study.

Published in this month's issue of BioScience (a journal put out by the American Institute of Biological Sciences), the report found that students who learned the biological ropes from admitted creationists are more likely to embrace centuries-old fairy tales themselves, even after entering adulthood.

From Science Daily:

Students whose high school biology class included creationism (with or without evolution) were more likely to accept creationist views as entering college students. Similarly, students exposed to evolutionism but not creationism were more likely to accept evolution in college. For example, 72 to 78 percent of students exposed to evolution only agreed that it is scientifically valid while 57 to 59 percent of students who were exposed to creationism agreed that it can be validated.

"I've long known that many biology teachers teach creationism, but was surprised to learn they have such a strong impact," said Randy Moore, professor of biology and lead author. "It's unfortunate that so many teachers think their religious beliefs are science. Teachers who don't teach evolution deny students the understanding of one of the greatest principles in history."

In a seriously-what-the-fuck moment, the study also found that the ratio of creationists-to-reasonable people and was pretty much the same among biology majors and non-biology majors alike.

"I was shocked that there weren't bigger differences between majors and non-majors," said Sehoya Cotner, associate professor of biology. "Evolution is the foundation of the entire discipline. It leads me to believe that these students are probably interested in biology for reasons besides gaining a full understanding and appreciation of the science."

To be fair, evolution skeptics and their ilk contend that Science's contributions to technology, health, and society in general are vastly overrated, and that human progress is largely result of the power of Prayer. Creationists often make this point on Luddite-centric blogs using a personal computer.

Please feel free to pray your complaints into existence in the comments section below.