The emergence of the controversy around the theory of evolution and creationism in UK newspaper reports

Holliman, Richard and Allgaier, Joachim (2006). The emergence of the controversy around the theory of evolution and creationism in UK newspaper reports. Curriculum Journal, 17(3) pp. 263–279.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585170600909738

Abstract

The question of whether religious explanations about the origin of life should be taught alongside scientific accounts in compulsory science education has sparked controversy in several countries for decades. An important site for these controversies is media reporting. This paper presents the results of a quantitative and qualitative analysis of UK national and regional newspaper coverage from 2002. The sampled articles reported the controversy about teaching creationism in science classes alongside the theory of evolution at Emmanuel College, Gateshead, UK. The results describe how the National Curriculum for Science was represented in these articles, in particular how scientific controversies were initially described and revised as the public debate developed. Furthermore, the article documents the mobilisation of a range of actors who used media reporting as an important channel to argue their case about this issue. It is argued that media reporting of creationism/evolution was an important factor in framing public debate about these issues, influencing, in part, the debate over which controversial science-based topics should be taught as part of the National Curriculum for Science.

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