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 Is Evolution Counter-Intuitive?
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Ghost_Skeptic
SFN Regular

Canada
510 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2007 :  08:02:46  Show Profile Send Ghost_Skeptic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This article poses the question
Does fundamentalist religion cause the rejection of evolution?
or is it the other way around?

The author argues that many people fall for creationism because the theory of evolution is counter-intuitive for them (as are a lot of scientific theories). They present some examples of interesting evolution-like behavious of "wisdom of crowds" systems including Wikipedia. (The quality of a Wiki article is much better than the average quality of an edit.) These are good analogies for understanding evolution.

Got this from Pharyngula

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. / You can send a kid to college but you can't make him think." - B.B. King

History is made by stupid people - The Arrogant Worms

"The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism." - William Osler

"Religion is the natural home of the psychopath" - Pat Condell

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter" - Thomas Jefferson

Edited by - Ghost_Skeptic on 10/16/2007 08:03:21

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2007 :  08:25:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's good stuff. Once a person understands the basics of evolution, it seems so "natural" and right, that it's really easy to forget that getting the foundations of the process into one's head was, indeed, not "intuitive."


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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dv82matt
SFN Regular

760 Posts

Posted - 10/17/2007 :  19:15:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dv82matt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Food for thought.

I think that a naive view of evolution is or tends to be counterintuitive and does cause some skepticism, but the refusal to move beyond a strawman understanding is more driven by religious ideology. You really don't see the same scale of rejection of relativity or quantum mechanics and those theories are more counterintuitive than evolution.
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SamoanEagle
New Member

United Kingdom
11 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2007 :  05:05:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send SamoanEagle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by dv82matt

Food for thought.

I think that a naive view of evolution is or tends to be counterintuitive and does cause some skepticism, but the refusal to move beyond a strawman understanding is more driven by religious ideology. You really don't see the same scale of rejection of relativity or quantum mechanics and those theories are more counterintuitive than evolution.


But the majority of people probably won't encounter quantum mechanics or relativity in any meaningful sense. Evolution is taught in schools, whereas quantum mechanics and relativity are more specialised fields, something the average person won't ever study. I do, however, agree that religious ideology is the major driving force in rejecting evolution.
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dv82matt
SFN Regular

760 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2007 :  10:46:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dv82matt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by SamoanEagle
But the majority of people probably won't encounter quantum mechanics or relativity in any meaningful sense. Evolution is taught in schools, whereas quantum mechanics and relativity are more specialised fields, something the average person won't ever study.
Good point.

I still think the analogy works though. Most people do encounter at least layman's explanations or descriptions of relativity and QM at some point and it would be difficult to miss their inherent counterintuitiveness. Evolution on the other hand isn't really so counterintuitive once you have a basic understanding of it.
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