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Rationalization, not reason drives doubts about Darwin – science writer Chris Mooney

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In “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science” (Mother Jones, April 18, 2011), Chris Mooney offers to explain “How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism link.” For example,

Consider a person who has heard about a scientific discovery that deeply challenges her belief in divine creation—a new hominid, say, that confirms our evolutionary origins. What happens next, explains political scientist Charles Taber of Stony Brook University, is a subconscious negative response to the new information—and that response, in turn, guides the type of memories and associations formed in the conscious mind. “They retrieve thoughts that are consistent with their previous beliefs,” says Taber, “and that will lead them to build an argument and challenge what they’re hearing.”In other words, when we think we’re reasoning, we may instead be rationalizing. Or to use an analogy offered by University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt: We may think we’re being scientists, but we’re actually being lawyers (PDF). Our “reasoning” is a means to a predetermined end—winning our “case”—and is shot through with biases. They include “confirmation bias,” in which we give greater heed to evidence and arguments that bolster our beliefs, and “disconfirmation bias,” in which we expend disproportionate energy trying to debunk or refute views and arguments that we find uncongenial.

Which is, apparently, a new phenomenon to the folks at Mother Jones. In support of their view, we could offer New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s desperate public flirtation with the later disowned Ida (Darwinius masillae): “It All Begins (and pretty much ends) Here.”

6 Replies to “Rationalization, not reason drives doubts about Darwin – science writer Chris Mooney

  1. 1
    Joseph says:

    Right- only the people who doubt have biases, not the people who over-sell their position…

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Perhaps Chris Mooney would care to defend against the fact that he cannot even trust his reasoning/rationalizations in the first place if his atheistic worldview is correct;

    Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    further notes;

    John Cleese – The Scientists – humorous video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M-vnmejwXo

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Nuclear Strength Apologetics – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....pologetics

    John Lennox – Science Is Impossible Without God – Quotes – video remix
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6287271/

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Perhaps Chris Mooney would also like to share his rationalizations for why bacteria look exactly the same as they did 1 billion years ago, but whales supposedly saw fit to evolve from a wolf like animal in a mere 10 million years;

    Static evolution: is pond scum the same now as billions of years ago?
    Excerpt: But what intrigues (paleo-biologist) J. William Schopf most is lack of change. Schopf was struck 30 years ago by the apparent similarities between some 1-billion-year-old fossils of blue-green bacteria and their modern microbial microbial. “They surprisingly looked exactly like modern species,” Schopf recalls. Now, after comparing data from throughout the world, Schopf and others have concluded that modern pond scum differs little from the ancient blue-greens. “This similarity in morphology is widespread among fossils of [varying] times,” says Schopf. As evidence, he cites the 3,000 such fossils found;
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/.....a014909330

    Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4165203

    Do you think Mr. Mooney will be able to spot himself crossing from reasoning into rationalization???

  4. 4
    Ilion says:

    BA, one doesn’t even need to point to what you have pointed to; one can simply point to Mr Mooney’s own words.

    By his own words, NO ONE can ever engage in rational reasoning, but only in irrational rationalization. Therefore, we who are rational are fully justified in ignoring his pseudo-argument.

    At the same time, he is asserting that the conclusion arrived at is the sole criterion for determining whether a specific act of ratiocination is indeed rational or is merely (irrational) rationalization. He is asserting that a determination of rationality cannot be made by examination of the steps involved in reaching a conclusion and judging those steps against an objective measure, but rather can only be made by a subjective appraisal of the conclusion.

    Therefore, we who are rational are fully justified in mocking the intellectually dishonest fool.

  5. 5
    Ilion says:

    And, by the by, this absurd manner of thinking — this antithesis of reason — is generally how Darwinists, and Freudians, and Marxists … and most political “liberals” (at any rate, when they think about politics) … think.

  6. 6
    MedsRex says:

    But there is Nothing to Rationalize or Reason. Everything came from Nothing will return to Nothing and what we currently experience is but a transitional mode of nothingness. And that is a certainty.
    AAAAAAAH!!!
    Can you imagine the world we would live in if guys like Shermer and Mooney were allowed to reign?
    I believe they made a book about it…it was called THE NEVERENDING STORY.

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