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Evolution and Its Discontents: A Role for Scientists in Science Education


"A coalition of scientific societies and science teachers has conducted a national survey of likely U.S. voters to examine acceptance of evolution, attitudes toward science and scientists, and opportunities for promoting science education. Most of these folk who responded to the survey accepted that life evolved, many accepted that it evolved through natural processes, and more favored teaching evolution than creationism or intelligent design in science classes. The majority ranked "developing medicines" and "curing diseases" as the most important contributions of science to society. They also found that "promoting understanding of evolutionary science's contribution to medicine" was a convincing reason to teach evolution. The respondents viewed scientists, teachers, and medical professionals favorably, and most were interested in hearing from these groups about science, including evolution. These data suggest that the scientific community has an important role to play in encouraging public support for science education."