PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Understanding and Acceptance of Evolutionary Theory in the United States

Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly fail to evolutionary theory --- why? This paper we explores one possible reason: the relationship between people’s acceptance of evolutionary theory and their understanding of it. Previous work has suggested, intriguingly, that understanding and acceptance are not correlated, at least in students. But new data from a demographically representative sample show that evolutionists do score significantly higher on a measure of evolution understanding than creationists. This suggests that there is a relationship between understanding and acceptance, hence that combatting ignorance about evolutionary theory may be an effective strategy for increasing acceptance of it.

Author Information:

Deena Skolnick Weisberg    
University of Pennsylvania

S. Emlen Metz    
University of Pennsylvania

Michael Weisberg    
University of Pennsylvania

 

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