Evolution and Creationism in Public Education

The Post Modernism Influence

Main Finding: For a minority of Americans, it is their fundamentalist religious beliefs driving their support for including Creationism in the public school curriculum. However, for most Americans who would like to see some mention of God or a divine role in the development of humans, it is not primarily religion behind their opinions. It is much more of what can be called a Post Modernist perspective (a “Hey, you never know” mentality).

Why do so many Americans support the discussion of religious explanations for the origins and development of humans, along with Evolution, in public schools? Most Americans feel this way not out of some fundamentalist, religious belief system, but rather what is better described as a “post modernist mentality”. This perspective is characterized by a wide tolerance for many different beliefs, since no single belief is seen as the final and complete answer to most issues. Those Americans believe it is good to expose students to several different ways of thinking about complex ideas (reflecting a “Hey, you never know” mentality). It is not due to a strict belief in the Bible.

However, among the minority of Americans who believe only Creationism should be taught, religious fundamentalism is the driving factor.

Reasons Why Religious Explanations For Human Origins Should Be Taught About In Public Schools

Shown: % who find the reason to be “very convincing”All Americans
Americans who believe schools should teach Evolution and about Creationism
Americans who believe schools should teach ONLY Creationism
(Post modernism argument)
“Young people should learn to keep an open mind about different ways of looking at life”
(Post modernism argument)
“Students should be exposed to both points of view so that when they are older they can make up their own minds”
(Moral argument)
“Teaching Creationism will help instill children with a more solid moral base”
(Post modernism argument)
“No one really knows how life developed, so why not teach alternative views”
(Fundamentalist argument)
“Because if the Bible says something is true, then that’s the truth and children should learn it”
(63% of total)(16% of total)

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