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How to Teach Evolution to Religious Students

IN A STUDY CONDUCTED AT A PUBLIC COLLEGE IN THE United States, only 50 percent of the students said that they believe in evolution. More broadly, a Gallup poll found that only 44 percent of adult Americans said that they believe humans were created by God and that evolution had no part in the process.1 According to a Pew Research Centre survey, 60 percent of Americans believe that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while one-third of them reject evolution and believe “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” About a quarter of the adult American population (24 percent) also thinks that “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.”2

Apart from climate change, evolution is curently the most charged and debated topic in the public sphere. This is mainly because many students and adults feel that there is a conflict between their religious beliefs and acceptance of evolution. Unless efforts are taken by scientists and educators to change the way we communicate about evolution, this resistence to accepting evolution will persist and may even increase.

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