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A Comparative Study of Korean and United States College Students' Degree of Religiosity, Evolutionary Interest, Understanding and Acceptance and Their Structures

한국과 미국 대학생들의 종교성, 진화 흥미, 진화 개념, 진화 수용의 수준과 구조 비교

  • Received : 2012.07.30
  • Accepted : 2012.12.05
  • Published : 2012.12.31

Abstract

This study aims to explore the differences between Korean and United States college students regarding their degree of religiosity, interest in, understanding and acceptance of evolution, and the effects of their interaction on these variables. A total of one thousand and fifteen Korean and US biology majors and non-majors college students participated in this study and a sub sample of 516 students were randomly selected for statistical tests. The results illustrated that Korean college students harbored significantly lower degrees of religiosity and interest in evolution but significantly higher degrees of knowledge and acceptance of evolution than US college students. The path analysis uncovered that the knowledge of and interest in evolution played a mediating role between religiosity and acceptance of evolution. Korean college students' interest in evolution was less correlated to other variables than US college students' interest. The acceptance of evolution was less predicted by knowledge of evolution in the Korean biology major sample than in the US biology major sample. The acceptance of evolution was predicted more by religiosity in the Korean non-major sample than in US non-major sample. This study suggests that future Korean science curriculum for evolution needs to enhance the degree of students' interest in evolution. In addition, future Korean science curriculum needs an instructional strategy in developing students' ability to make scientific decisions, such as the acceptance of evolution, without interference from their personal religious belief.