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Education Faculty Less Accepting of Evolution Than Other Professors, Study Finds

Three-quarters of faculty members who educate prospective teachers accept the truth of biological evolution, far less than the 94 percent of general faculty members who say the same, according to a study of professors and students at 35 colleges and universities in New England that has been published in Evolution Education and Outreach. The study—by Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and Avelina Espinosa, an associate professor of biology at Roger Williams University—also found that education professors were about twice as likely as general faculty members to be unaware that human beings are apes (45 percent vs. 26 percent) or that the origin of the human mind can be explained by evolution (32 percent vs. 15 percent).

Still, an overwhelming majority of education faculty, 86 percent, favored teaching evolution exclusively. In general, education faculty were relatively more religious, more open to intelligent design and creationism, and more unfamiliar with evolution than general faculty were, but less so than students. The authors’ sample drew from colleges in New England, a region whose progressivism, they wrote, helps shed light on the effects that creationism and intelligent design have on attitudes toward science, reason, and education in science.

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