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PLoS One ; 15(11): e0242189, 2020.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33216764


In this article, we present the development and validation of an implicit association test for measuring secondary school students' associations between genetics concepts and teleology concepts on the one hand, and between genetics concepts and essentialism concepts on the other hand. In total, 169 students from 16 school classes took part in the study, from January 2018 to May 2018. We investigated the strength of the aforementioned associations and the influence of various covariates such as gender, age, school class, or previous learning of biology on the association of teleology or essentialism concepts with genetics concepts through an analysis of covariance and a multi-level analysis. We found moderate associations between genetics and teleology concepts, as well as between genetics and essentialism concepts. These results might reflect a tendency of students of different ages and with various backgrounds to think about genes in terms of goals (teleology) and stability (essentialism), which should be investigated further in future research.

Evolution (N Y) ; 13(1): 1, 2020.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32647556


Teleology, explaining the existence of a feature on the basis of what it does, is usually considered as an obstacle or misconception in evolution education. Researchers often use the adjective "teleological" to refer to students' misconceptions about purpose and design in nature. However, this can be misleading. In this essay, I explain that teleology is an inherent feature of explanations based on natural selection and that, therefore, teleological explanations are not inherently wrong. The problem we might rather address in evolution education is not teleology per se but the underlying "design stance". With this I do not refer to creationism/intelligent design, and to the inference to a creator from the observation of the apparent design in nature (often described as the argument from design). Rather, the design stance refers to the intuitive perception of design in nature in the first place, which seems to be prevalent and independent from religiosity in young ages. What matters in evolution education is not whether an explanation is teleological but rather the underlying consequence etiology: whether a trait whose presence is explained in teleological terms exists because of its selection for its positive consequences for its bearers, or because it was intentionally designed, or simply needed, for this purpose. In the former case, the respective teleological explanation is scientifically legitimate, whereas in the latter case it is not. What then should be investigated in evolution education is not whether students provide teleological explanations, but which consequence etiologies these explanations rely upon. Addressing the design stance underlying students' teleological explanations could be a main aim of evolution education.

Bioessays ; 40(11): e1800148, 2018 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30246395


Concepts have a central and important place in science, therefore, it is important that their meanings are always made clear. However, such clarity does not always exist, even in the case of such fundamental biological concepts as "gene" and "adaptation." A quick look at textbooks reveals that different meanings may be attributed to the same concept, even within the same textbook, without explicitly discussing the differences of those meanings. This can be misleading, and mask important conceptual differences. Therefore, the differences between the various meanings of the same concept should be discussed and explained in order for conceptual understanding to be achieved.

Adaptação Fisiológica/fisiologia , Fenômenos Genéticos/fisiologia , Genética/educação , Livros de Texto como Assunto , Adaptação Fisiológica/genética , Humanos
Public Underst Sci ; 27(1): 2-10, 2018 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27117489


Data from studies conducted to determine acceptance rates for evolution are often misleading. The questions that are asked and compared to one another do not always give an authentic picture of respondents' views. Quite often, polls, such as those by IPSOS, Gallup, and PEW, also run together questions asking respondents' beliefs in concepts like God with questions asking respondents' beliefs about concepts like evolution. The two are distinct and should not be confused. One might believe in evolution while having wrong beliefs about it, whereas someone else might decide not to believe in evolution while having accurate beliefs about it. Distinguishing between " belief in" and " belief about" might help remove an unrecognized confounding element from these studies.

Per Med ; 9(6): 633-643, 2012 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29768797


Misconceptions about genetics and genomics, such as notions of genetic determinism and the existence of 'genes for' particular traits, are widespread both in educational contexts and in the public perception of genetics and genomics. Owing to such misunderstandings, the prospect of personalized medicine often raises concerns with the general public about possible adverse societal consequences of the technologies that are implemented. Among the questions that are to be addressed in this context are: to what extent is personalized medical treatment possible? Does it require access to sensitive personal data? Who should be given such access? What other ethical issues might be raised by personalized medicine? How could these be answered? We argue that scientists have a professional responsibility to effectively communicate current knowledge and views about potential applications to the public in order to better address and resolve such issues.