From Dan Kahan at Yale’s Cultural Cognition Project on why believing in “modern evolutionary science” (Darwinism) is not the same thing as knowing anything about it:
First, there is zero correlation between saying one “believes” in evolution & understanding the rudiments of modern evolutionary science.
Those who say they do “believe” are no more likely to be able to be able to give a high-school-exam passing account of natural selection, genetic variance, and random mutation — the basic elements of the modern synthesis — than than those who say they “don’t” believe.
In fact, neither is very likely to be able to, which means that those who “believe” in evolution are professing their assent to something they don’t understand.
That’s really nothing to be embarrassed about: if one wants to live a decent life — or just live, really –one has to accept much more as known by science than one can comprehend to any meaningful degree.
What is embarrassing, though, is for those who don’t understand something to claim that their “belief” in it demonstrates that they have a greater comprehension of science than someone who says he or she “doesn’t” believe it.
Of course, believing in “modern evolutionary science” is how TV hairpieces can pretend to be educated people.
Having “got it,” that people might not be ignorant just because they doubt, Kahan then goes on to say:
The thing is, though, even after acquiring knowledge of the modern synthesis– likely the most awe-inspiring & elegant, not to mention astonishingly useful, collection of insights that human reason has ever pried loose from nature–the bright kid who before said “no” when asked if he or she “believes” in evolution is not any more likely to say that he or she now “believes” it.
What? Dan Kahan can’t possibly be dumb enough to believe that Darwin’s undemonstrated mechanism is “astonishingly useful.”
For what? For clubbing people into line, yes indeed. Lysenkoism did the same thing in Stalin’s Soviet Union. In politer societies like our current one, an endless production line of “aren’t I good?” girls, male and female, results.
But at this late date no one who has been paying attention honestly confuses weeding out losers (natural selection) with enormous information levels in life forms. That Darwin stuff was all cooked up long before anyone realized the vast amounts of information life forms need.
The cult got started, and is perpetuated at universities to this day because dealing with the real issues would be too much work.
Is this guy Kahan just falling into line, to prevent being besieged by Darwin’s trolls? Does he need to get out more? At least he sticks to his guns about what he actually knows: Knowing about Darwinism has no relationship to believing it any more than knowing about magical thinking means believing it.
Too bad if he wimps out at this point. Dissent is rational.
See also: Why telling more people the good news of Darwin won’t help
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