Religiously Expressed Fatalism and the Perceived Need for Sci ...

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This study examines relationships among locus of control, God-mediated locus of control, attitudes towards science, and scientific knowledge (evolutionary biology), and demographic markers among students at a Historically Black University (North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University). Studies indicate that African Americans of all socioeconomic groups tend to score higher on fatalism, external locus of control, and religiosity measures than other groups in the United States (Schieman 2006; Krause 2007; Wade 1996; Powe, Daniels, and Finnie 2005). However, the impact of this on African American college students’ attitudes towards evolutionary biology has not been examined. For this study, students’ attitudes toward religious fatalism were determined via the Berrenberg personal control scale (Berrenberg 1987) and correlated with scales of attitudes toward and knowledge of evolutionary biology. The results indicate that student religious fatalism is relatively low while their overall attitudes toward evolutionary biology are negative and general knowledge of evolution is low. The relationship between F1 and F2 personal control subscales and attitude toward, and knowledge of, science is significantly negative, while the positive F3 personal control subscale relationship with attitude towards science is repeated. Interestingly, this group of students displayed a significantly negative relationship between their attitude toward evolutionary science and their knowledge of evolutionary science. The implications of these data are discussed in the light of modern secularist and postmodern post-secularist theory. These results contribute to the sociological study of African American Millennials, college students, and HBCUs, the role and function of religion in human lives, the role and function of fatalism in human lives, and the predictive power of competing theories of modern culture (modern secularist, postmodern fractural, and social psychological).