Misconceptions About Evolution in Brazilian Freshmen Students
Evolution: Education and Outreach
Regarding such an important issue as our origin, as well as the origin of all biological diversity, it is surprising to realize that evolution still faces drawbacks in keeping its deserved notability as a unifying theory in biology. This does not happen because evolutionism lacks validity as a scientific theory, but rather because of several misconceptions regarding evolutionary biology that were and continue to be found in elementary and secondary education. Furthermore, mistaken evolutionary
... taken evolutionary ideas also affect some philosophical and social issues. The aim of the present study was to evaluate knowledge about evolution among freshman students from distinct majoring areas at Universidade Estadual do Centro-Oeste do Paraná (UNI-CENTRO), Brazil. The research was carried out based on a ten-question questionnaire about evolution with distinct levels of difficulty, comprising the most observed misconceptions. In this study, 231 students attending classes in biological sciences (morning and evening schedule), exact sciences (agronomy, physics, chemistry, and math), and human sciences (history, geography, and pedagogy) were interviewed. The total average of right answers was 48.8%, and the highest average per course obtained was 58.7% from the students attending biological sciences (evening schedule). Although evolutionary biology and ecology are supposed to represent teaching guide issues according to the recommendations of the National Curricular Parameters for the Secondary School, the data obtained suggest that the evidence for evolution, the role of natural selection and random events, as well as the sources of variation, must be better focused at schools.