Thursday, July 09, 2009

Creation, Evolution and Closed Minds

According to a story in the Australian, a new article called Science communication reconsidered, in the journal Nature Biotechnology suggests that people reject science and scientific findings for a variety of reasons. Of people who encounter a scientific topic, the article notes:

"If they lack a motivation to pay close attention to science debates, they will rely heavily on mental shortcuts, values and emotions to make sense of an issue, often in the absence of knowledge." The paper, wisdom of a Washington, DC, workshop bringing together a score of experts, including Melbourne psychologist Christine Critchley, suggests there is more to science communication than knowledge.

Scientists, it seems, are kidding themselves if they imagine mere ignorance explains public resistance to their projects. "Knowledge is only one factor among many influences that are likely to guide how individuals reach judgments, with ideology, social identity and trust often having strong impacts," the paper says.

This is frustrating to me, since I tend to be left-brained about the way that I view the world. "How can you ignore the evidence," I say. "Just look into the blinkin' telescope!"

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