Biology Education, University of Giessen
Despite its great importance and enormous explanatory power, evolution as a fact and the theory of evolution are still poorly understood and are actively rejected by many. While the evolutionary theory is supported by an overwhelming body of scientific evidence, it remains the most controversial scientific theory in the history of man.
Today, broad data is available on knowledge about and attitudes towards evolution among many societies and social groups. The lecture offers an overview of the acceptance and understanding of evolution in different European countries. Studies on preconceptions about selection, adaptation and fitness, the knowledge of the deep time concept, and the interpretation of phylogenetic trees will be presented and compared. Less well known are the influences of general attitudes (e.g. towards science and religion) and of cultural backgrounds on acceptance and understanding of evolution. Some of the scientific evidence on these topics will be presented too.