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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore how some university biology majors in Beirut, Lebanon, accommodate the theory of biological evolution with their existing religious beliefs. Sixty-two students enrolled in a required senior biology seminar responded to open-ended questions that addressed (a) their understanding of the theory of evolution, (b) their perception of conflict between this theory and religion, and (c) whether the theory of evolution clashed with their own beliefs about the world. Based on their responses, 15 students were selected for an in-depth exploration of their written responses. Students' answers clustered under 1 of 4 main positions: for evolution, against evolution, compromise, and neutral. The authors suggest that teaching students about the nature of scientific facts, theories, and evidence is more likely to enhance understanding of evolutionary theory if students are given the opportunity to discuss their values and beliefs in relation to scientific knowledge. © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 34: 429–445, 1997.