James Krupa teaches evolution for non-biology majors at the University of Kentucky. This is more difficult than you might expect, he says, because so many of his students were taught that evolution is in direct opposition to Christian belief, and others don’t have much background knowledge because Kentucky schools try to avoid the subject if at all possible. That was a surprise to me because my Kentucky daughters were taught about evolution in both parochial and public school.
We live in a nation where public acceptance of evolution is the second lowest of thirty-four developed countries, just ahead of Turkey. Roughly half of Americans reject some aspect of evolution, believe the earth is less than ten thousand years old, and that humans coexisted with dinosaurs. Where I live, many believe evolution to be synonymous with atheism, and there are those who strongly feel I am teaching heresy to thousands of students. A local pastor, whom I’ve never met, wrote an article in The University Christian complaining that, not only was I teaching evolution and ignoring creationism, I was teaching it as a non-Christian, alternative religion.
There are students who enroll in my courses and already accept evolution. Although not yet particularly knowledgeable on the subject, they are eager to learn more. Then there are the students whose minds are already sealed shut to the possibility that evolution exists, but need to take my class to fulfill a college requirement. And then there are the students who have no opinion one way or the other but are open-minded. These are the students I most hope to reach by presenting them with convincing and overwhelming evidence without offending or alienating them.
Krupa wrote about the challenges his job entails and the reasons he keeps doing it, at Orion magazine. -via Boing Boing