Effect of Instructor Bias on High School Biology Students’ Acceptance of Evolutionary Theory
When I was in high school, my biology class was not taught evolution. My teacher told us up front that she would not be including the theory of evolution in any of her lessons, as it may contradict a student’s religious beliefs. If we were interested in the theory, we were told that we may read the relevant chapters in the text book, but it would not be taught nor would we be tested on any material regarding evolution. This was an honors biology class in a middle class community whose citizens were generally welleducated. And yet we missed out on learning about the arguably most important theory in all of modern biology. Why did this occur? Why was my teacher so afraid of offending students that she opted to completely omit an entire scientific theory from our course? Or was it that she anticipated resistance from religious students and their parents and wanted to avoid confrontation? As a biology major, I recognize the importance of evolutionary theory, and realize that it is the unifying principal to all of biology. Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973), a renowned geneticist, even went as far as to say “Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution.” In support of Dobzhansky’s claim, evolutionary theory has helped answer questions in various biological fields, including neurobiology, physiology, developmental and molecular biology.