ID the Future Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Science Podcast

Why Do Students Reject Evolution? It’s the Science!

Casey Luskin
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Despite the Darwinist community’s long-standing campaign to help the public come to the “correct” view that “evolution and religion are compatible,” public skepticism of evolution remains high. (See this link for documentation.) This would logically lead one to the conclusion that there are other factors besides religion that drive skepticism of evolution. Perhaps, one might even suggest, for many people the issue has a lot to do with science!

Recently I was told about a 1997 article in Scientific American which reported a study conducted by Brian Alters on students’ reasons for rejecting evolution (“What Are They Thinking?: Students’ reasons for rejecting evolution go beyond the Bible,” by Rebecca Zacks, Scientific American, October 1997, pg. 34). The study surveyed over 1200 college freshman, and found that large percentages of students who reject evolution stated scientific reasons for holding their views. Alters claims that all their scientific reasons are wrong, and another educator simply believed that students’ views could be corrected by telling them what to think, i.e., if “misconceptions are countered with specific evidence.”

While some of their reasons may be questionable, some of them are on the right track — i.e., students rejected evolution due to insufficiencies of the mechanism of random mutations or the statistical impossibility of the origin of life. As the article stated, “nearly 40 percent of those skeptical of evolution believe the chance origin of life to be a statistical impossibility”!

These are good reasons to be skeptical of evolution — and this shows that for many people this issue is not a matter of evolution vs. religion, but rather of evolution vs. science.

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.