Changes in student views of religion and science in a college astronomy course

Harry Shipman, Nancy Brickhouse, Zoubeida Dagher, William Letts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


A cautious introduction of the dialogue between science and religion into a college astronomy course provoked diverse reactions from the 340 students in the course. We studied student responses to this curricular intervention with data from the entire class and from a set of interviews of a focus group of 19 students. Approximately half of the students in the class engaged with the issue of science and religion to some extent. There were extraordinarily few negative reactions to this minor intervention. The intellectual paths taken by students who did engage the issue were very diverse; they negotiated their ways across some complex intellectual borders in their own different ways. Some of these pathways led to internal conflict in some students, but this conflict is not necessarily an obstacle to further understanding. Several students developed some rather deep understandings of the interface between science and religion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-547
Number of pages22
JournalScience Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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