May 29, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Resisting Science, or Resisting Purposelessness?

Why do so many adults “resist science”?, asked Yale psychologists Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg in an essay on The Edge.  They argued that childhood common sense impressions lead to a teleological view of the world.  These impressions conflict with evolutionary ideas presented at school, but are reinforced by religious authorities.  The job of the teacher, then is to help them overcome their natural proclivities toward design thinking.  They ended,

Given the role of trust in social learning, it is particularly worrying that national surveys reflect a general decline in the extent to which people trust scientists.  To end on a practical note, then, one way to combat resistance to science is to persuade children and adults that the institute of science is, for the most part, worthy of trust.

Dr. Albert Mohler launched into a commentary on this essay on his blog for May 29.  He joked, “The attorney who asks a jury, ‘What are you going to believe, my argument or what you see with your own eyes?,’ has a fool for a client.”  More seriously, he turned the tables on Bloom and Weisberg: “Many polls indicate that a majority of Americans reject the dominant evolutionary theory and believe in some form of divine creation.  This frustrates the evolutionary scientists to no end.  But they are asking Americans to reject what they learned in Sunday School in favor of a theory that insists that the universe is a great cosmic accident.  It’s not just children whose brains are hard-wired to reject that.”

This interchange provides some good food for thought, but before digesting it, add this antacid: what on earth do Bloom and Weisberg mean by science, anyway?  Sounds like they could use a purpose-driven life instead of a life divorced of purpose.

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