Tuesday, September 08, 2015

After the dust settles

As a teacher of evolutionary biology, I have seen a minority of students every year move from weakly held theism to a naturalist evolutionary position. Strongly religious students deepen their faith from my evolution course; the course regularly ends with more creationists than when it began. Students who are already naturalist delight in what they find in evolution. William Provine, "Evolution, Religion, and Science" The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science (2006), 679.

That's very interesting. You'd expect a course like this to have a sorting action. 

The fact that some nominal theists lost their faith when they took his class is unsurprising. What's striking is that after the dust settles, "the course regularly ends with more creationists than when it began."

That's despite the fact that he proselytizes for naturalistic evolution. Despite the fact that he had an advantage over students by knowing more about the subject than they do.

Yet in spite of that pressure, more students moved into the creationist camp than the naturalistic evolutionary camp. 

There's a cliche about Christians losing their faith when they go to college. But some stand firm, and others people find their faith when they go to college. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I myself actually did lose faith when I had went to college the first time around. Went the online classes route the 2nd time around, which helped greatly. But then again, I was about 20 yrs older.