EVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM IN MIDDLE EASTERN EDUCATION: A NEW PERSPECTIVE

Authors

  • Elise K. Burton

    1. Departments of Middle Eastern Studies and Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
    2. Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
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Abstract

Statements made in a recent outcry against a creationist in the Israeli Ministry of Education starkly illuminated Western misconceptions about Iranian science education. These misconceptions are perpetuated not only among the general public but also within the international scientific community, where investigations of "Islamic creationism" often incorporate misleading assumptions regarding Islamic religious attitudes toward science as well as the nature of secularism in non-Western states. In turn, these assumptions have led to superficial analyses that overly rely on state religiosity to explain the treatment of evolution in national science education. Therefore, a new framework accounting for local political and social circumstances is crucial and urgently needed to effectively analyze science education in the Middle East.

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