Zimmerman, Michael 'The Evolution-Creation Controversy: Opinions from Students at a 'Liber

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Zimmerman, Michael "The Evolution-Creation Controversy: Opinions from Students at a 'Liberal' Liberal Arts College" Ohio Journal of Science 86(4):134-139, 1986. Zimmerman, professor of biology at Oberlin College, Ohio administered a questionnaire to 362 students at his college which was originally developed and distributed at Ohio State University. From the abstract: Most Oberlin students claim that they believe in evolutionary theory (89%) and recognize both that it has solid scientific foundation (88%) and that most scientists accept its scientific validity (92%). Over one-half of the students surveyed (56%) thought, however, that creationism should be taught in the public schools. At the same time, over one-half of those surveyed (60%) also felt that such an introduction into the public schools would constitute the teaching of religious principles. Zimmerman expressed great dismay that such a large percentage of students, who claimed they believed in evolution, also thought that creationism should be taught. He attributed this to the creationists' plea for academic freedom and felt that people holding liberal views, such as the students at Oberlin, are particularly swayed by such arguments. His conclusion: Although it does not make sense educationally for science curricula to be determined by popular opinion, this appears to be the trend. It is thus critically important for evolutionary biologists to work more directly at educating the public about the facts of evolutionary biology and the shortcomings of "creation-science."


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