Teaching biological evolution has as object the understanding of concepts constructed along the history of evolutionary biology, but treating evolution as just another common subject being taught is not appropriate. The reason lies in the fact that the evolutionary ideas play a central role in the organization of biological thought. Despite its relevance, many investigations about the teaching of evolution have considered the limited public understanding about the subject a problem, showing that there is still much to advance the investigation about learning in this field of knowledge. This study was to verify the acceptance of the theory of biological evolution of 2,365 High School students from 84 public and private schools from all regions of Brazil and map possible relationships between the attitudes of students about evolutionary theory and their religious beliefs. Results’ reporting that religion is valued by young people participating in the survey say that people are religious and have faith and understanding and believe in religious doctrines. With regard to the acceptance of the evolutionary theory, the data indicates that there seems to be a relationship between religiosity and acceptance of biological evolution. This is an important result, because it signals a break with the absolutist view that the acceptance of evolution is incompatible with religious faith and religious beliefs prevent the acceptance of the evolutionary theory. These results suggest that in the future we can have more flexible population interpretations of religious doctrines and most sensitive scientific issues.

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Biological evolution and religious beliefs
Attitudes of young brazilian students

Helenadja Mota Rios Pereira   Faculty of Education and Research Nucleus on Education, Divulgation and Epistemology of Evolution “Darwin” – São Paulo University

Ana Maria Santos Gouw   Faculty of Education and Research Nucleus on Education, Divulgation and Epistemology of Evolution “Darwin” – São Paulo University

Nelio Marco Vincenzo Bizzo   Faculty of Education and Research Nucleus on Education, Divulgation and Epistemology of Evolution “Darwin” – São Paulo University

Teaching biological evolution has as object the understanding of concepts constructed along the history of evolutionary biology, but treating evolution as just another common subject being taught is not appropriate. The reason lies in the fact that the evolutionary ideas play a central role in the organization of biological thought. Despite its relevance, many investigations about the teaching of evolution have considered the limited public understanding about the subject a problem, showing that there is still much to advance the investigation about learning in this field of knowledge. This study was to verify the acceptance of the theory of biological evolution of 2,365 High School students from 84 public and private schools from all regions of Brazil and map possible relationships between the attitudes of students about evolutionary theory and their religious beliefs. Results’ reporting that religion is valued by young people participating in the survey say that people are religious and have faith and understanding and believe in religious doctrines. With regard to the acceptance of the evolutionary theory, the data indicates that there seems to be a relationship between religiosity and acceptance of biological evolution. This is an important result, because it signals a break with the absolutist view that the acceptance of evolution is incompatible with religious faith and religious beliefs prevent the acceptance of the evolutionary theory. These results suggest that in the future we can have more flexible population interpretations of religious doctrines and most sensitive scientific issues.

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