Date of Conferral
Science curriculum and pedagogy are at the center of a centuries-long debate concerning the appropriate relationship of faith and science. The difficulties that science educators face seem to be based in misinformation about the historical roots of this conflict. To address that conflict, the goals of this research were to separate myth from reality and to provide a necessary context to the current tensions that are disrupting science pedagogy and curriculum content within American public schools. Working within a theoretical framework of historical literacy, this qualitative, historical analysis was a comprehensive examination of the relationship of faith and science from ancient times through the Renascence to the emergence and development of Darwinism. The historical approach methodology was utilized as a means to document the systematic examination of past events, in order to illuminate and interpret the meaning of those events. The historical record revealed that science and religion are not necessarily incompatible and that the early Christian religion provided a fertile environment in which modern science could emerge. Also noted were many instances where the record was inconsistent with what educators have commonly taught as historical fact. Finally, the complex sources of tension between modern fundamentalist Christianity and Darwinism, which has appeared as a flashpoint in public discourse within science education, were examined in depth. Based on this analysis, the study includes recommendations for educators in their approach to addressing these challenges and teaching science. This analysis can produce positive social change for educators and their students, as this information is advanced as a means to enhance historical literacy among educators and their students.