“Evolution? I Don’t Believe in It”: Theological Tensions Surrounding the Implementation of Evolution in the Israeli Curricula

Merav Siani, Anat Yarden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Due to the controversies surrounding the topic of evolution among religious and non-religious people alike, the treatment of biological evolution in education—both teaching and learning—is a potential minefield. The goal of this study was to probe the insights of Israeli stakeholders in education regarding the revision of the Israeli science and technology and biology curricula with respect to evolution. Our study is designed to capture the educational stakeholders’ opinions regarding the theological tensions surrounding the incorporation of evolution in the curricula, as well as methods of action to overcome or avoid these possible tensions. The study population was composed of 21 educational stakeholders, 11 of them scientists, developers of teaching and learning materials, and current or former chief supervisors at the Israeli Ministry of Education. These stakeholders were interviewed in-depth. The other 10 stakeholders were junior-high-school science or high-school biology leading teachers, for which focus groups were arranged. To obtain the main themes arising from the interviews, thematic analysis was conducted, and codes were obtained by grounded theory analysis. The results show themes of opposition to teaching evolution, a clear voice for no opposition to teaching evolution, and methods of action to overcome or avoid tension at the teacher and student levels. We suggest a culturally competent intervention program to reduce the dissonance between religion and evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-441
Number of pages31
JournalScience and Education
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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