2013 Mother Jones article on why humans find evolution hard to accept

MotherJones.com brought us a ‘think-piece’ back in 2013
about the creationists battle with evolution on the occasion of a book publication (see below). Article author, Chris Mooney, summarized, “Our brains are a stunning product of evolution; and yet ironically, they may naturally pre-dispose us against its acceptance.” The title of the article (click to view) is “7 reasons why it’s easier for humans to believe in God than evolution.”

To that I will add:
sometimes evolutionists find it hard to accept new ideas from other evolutionists. And this, too, is human nature, yet another product of natural selection. And yes, I’m pointing my fin-turned-finger at you, Vertebrate Palaeontology Researcher in Residence, Darren Naish, who will someday champion ReptileEvolution.com.

Book author Robert N. McCaulety explains,
“I don’t think there’s any question that a variety of our mental dispositions are ones that discourage us from taking evolutionary theory as seriously as it should be taken.” McCauley is director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture at Emory University and author of the book ‘Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not.’

Much ‘natural’ thinking common to young children
must be overcome with science. Mooney reports, “4 and 5 year old children tend to opine that clouds are ‘for raining’ and that the purpose of lions is ‘to go in the zoo.'” In similar fashion, some people think you have to get a PhD to contribute to paleontology. Not so.

Here are the seven reasons cited by McCauley and listed by Mooney,
why humans find it easier to believe in God than evolution, along with their antidotes:

  1. Essentialism. ‘Kinds’ are not kinds forever. Often one thing evolves over time or it may go extinct.
  2. Teleology. Things do not exist for ‘a purpose’.
  3. Agency detection. Living things are not ‘designed’ by a designer.
  4. Dualism. Minds/Souls are not separate from brains. Brains, like other parts, evolved over time and various niches, often convergently.
  5. Vast time scales. These can be difficult to comprehend. Geology is not intuitive, but must be learned, like the sun-centered solar system.
  6. Tribalism. In the wrong hands this can be detrimental. For entrenched leaders, heretics who propose new ideas that upset traditions must be opposed en masse. See “Why the world has to ignore ReptileEvolution.com” by Darren Naish 2012.
  7. The need for certainty. This should not be based on fear, especially fear of death. If hypotheses fail during a test, they must be considered invalid, even if being taught by a priest or a professor and even if it appears in holy texts or university-level textbooks. Outsiders often have the advantage over insiders, who have to follow protocol and tradition, or likewise fear the wrath of their mentors and peers.

Imagine what is going through the minds of paleontology students 
(whether enrolled or not) when Wikipedia, Facebook, Nature and Science are telling them one thing, and someone not affiliated with a museum of university is showing them errors and omissions in published images, cladograms and hypotheses. This is Dr. Naish’s nightmare… until he wakes up and runs his own phylogenetic analyses to see for himself what is and what isn’t. That’s always step one in paleontology.

The MotherJones article states, 
“First, this doesn’t mean science and religion are fundamentally incompatible.” Yeah, they are incompatible by definition. The former demands evidence. The latter denies/ suppresses evidence and relies on intuitive and traditional myths. On second thought, maybe, just maybe… paleo departments really are more like religions than they might care to admit.

The MotherJones article also states, 
“it doesn’t automatically follow that religion is the direct result of evolution by natural selection.” Yeah, it does automatically follow. Religion binds parties together for a common cause. Sometimes that common cause is to suppress, slander and libel individual heretics for the sake of continuing a traditional existence into the next and following generations. Even if all that heretic does is to invite testing with an expanded taxon list. See where that gets you here.


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