|Wesley R. Elsberry
Joined: May 2002
As the discussion going on on PT concerning Verhey's article makes clear, there are two take-away messages:
1) This indicates that some further study may be useful in college students, not high-school students, as stated by the paper's author
2) The statistics are too weak to make any sweeping conclusions whatsoever. As Dr. Verhey noted, the paper's conclusion says, "Indeed, from a formal, statistical point of view, the results presented here are not generalizable beyond this case study." So, while Verhey's study may be "suggestive", it definitely does not establish that any radical change in pedagogy is to be preferred.
So about all that Verhey's study indicates is that it would probably be useful to conduct a larger-scale study of college students to figure out whether there really is an effect to be had. And that study could benefit from some more attention being paid to experimental design, with some prospective power analysis applied to set the needed number of students in the study in order to detect an effect. It does not establish that Verhey's approach is a pedagogical plus, and it says nothing about high school student instruction.
Beyond that, I'm personally uncomfortable with the notion of science instructors trying to cause a change in belief in students. The goal of instruction in evolutionary biology should be making students understand the concepts and grasp the evidential support for evolutionary biology, not to make a change in religious belief of students.
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker