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Journal of No. 118

December 2nd, 2015

Intuition vs Analysis @ 06:54 am


Despite overwhelming scientific consensus, popular opinions regarding evolution are starkly divided. In the USA, for example, nearly one in three adults espouse a literal and recent divine creation account of human origins. Plausibly, resistance to scientific conclusions regarding the origins of species—like much resistance to other scientific conclusions (Bloom & Weisberg, 2007)—gains support from reliably developing intuitions. Intuitions about essentialism, teleology, agency, and order may combine to make creationism potentially more cognitively attractive than evolutionary concepts. However, dual process approaches to cognition recognize that people can often analytically override their intuitions. Two large studies (total N = 1324) found consistent evidence that a tendency to engage analytic thinking predicted endorsement of evolution, even controlling for relevant demographic, attitudinal, and religious variables. Meanwhile, exposure to religion predicted reduced endorsement of evolution. Cognitive style is one factor among many affecting opinions on the origin of species.
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Date:December 4th, 2015 12:07 am (UTC)

Speaking as someone who once espoused creationism, the main problem for me was that I had not been taught to analyze anything, much less scientific data. When I got into college (and not everyone goes), I started to learn and to question. I still came up largely with the answers I already had, but that muscle was getting used for the first time and I could already feel it a bit. I later learned, but I had quite a learning curve. If people aren't used to using that analysis muscle, they'll rely on whatever flabby limb they have to get their answers.

Journal of No. 118