Is It Christmas Yet? Teaching Evolution to a Resistant Public

Author(s): Anna Novotny

Year: 2018


As an anthropologist I pride myself on seeing the value of diverse worldviews. However, as a biological anthropologist I continue to struggle to communicate effectively with students whose worldview denies the authority of science and the theory of evolution. In this paper I present a case study, an ongoing negotiation between myself and a student in my introductory class who insists on a formal in-class debate between evolution and creationism. That many scientists do not find religious beliefs and evolution mutually exclusive so far falls on deaf ears. I refuse to place creationist concepts at the same level as evolutionary theory, particularly in a science class. I argue that the core of this conflict is as much about intellectual authority as it is evolution. Our mutual refusal to accept the other’s point of view is a microcosm of the contemporary political climate. Still, I feel professionally and personally compelled to communicate with and educate this student. How do we teach to a public that insists that core principles of the discipline are still debatable?

Cite this Record

Is It Christmas Yet? Teaching Evolution to a Resistant Public. Anna Novotny. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445070)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22383