Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Theory Into Practice, 52 (2013), pp 59–65.

DOI: 10.1080/07351690.2013.743778


Copyright © 2013 The College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University; published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


Scientific knowledge often appears to contradict many students’ religious beliefs. Indeed, the assumptions of science appear contradictory to the metaphysical claims of many religions. This conflict is most evident in discussions of biological evolution. Teachers, in attempts to limit the controversy, often avoid this topic or teach it superficially. Recently, there has been a political effort to teach to the controversy—which some see as a way of introducing religious explanations for biological diversity into science classrooms. Many science educators reject this approach, insisting that teachers limit classroom discussions to science alone. This science only approach leaves the negotiation of alternative knowledge frameworks to students, who are often ill-prepared for such epistemological comparisons. To support students’ understanding of science while maintaining their religious commitments, this article explores the utility of emphasizing the boundaries of scientific knowledge and the need to support students in their comparison of contradictory knowledge frameworks.