Skip to comments.Getting to Darwin: Obstacles to Accepting Evolution by Natural Selection (How to convince students)
Posted on 04/15/2010 8:24:57 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Paul Thagard1 and Scott Findlay1
Philosophy Department, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada
Published online: 20 August 2009
Abstract Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection is central to modern biology, but is resisted by many people. This paper discusses the major psychological obstacles to accepting Darwins theory. Cognitive obstacles to adopting evolution by natural selection include conceptual difficulties, methodological issues, and coherence problems that derive from the intuitiveness of alternative theories.
The main emotional obstacles to accepting evolution are its apparent conflict with valued beliefs about God, souls, and morality. We draw on the philosophy of science and on a psychological theory of cognitive and emotional belief revision to make suggestions about what can be done to improve acceptance of Darwinian ideas.
"Historically and currently, one of the greatest obstacles to acceptance of evolution is the claim that human thought is a product of it. Alfred Wallace, who discovered natural selection independently of Darwin, was never able to accept that it applied to minds, which he thought had an irreducible spirituality. Students today find that the most implausible aspect of Darwins theory is the suggestion that it could provide a way of accounting for the operations of human minds. Here students have a double difficulty: not only is evolution an emergent process on the Darwinian account, but thinking is also an emergent process on the account currently being developed in neuroscience. Thus the human mind is an emergent process resulting from an emergent process! So it is small wonder that students and ordinary people, not to mention many contemporary philosophers, have great difficulty imagining how mind could be the result of brain structures arising from natural selection."
"Thagard and Aubie (2008) offer a neuro computational model of emotional consciousness that explains how many interacting brain areas can generate such emotions as happiness."
As for the actual evidence for free will, the authors solve this by stating :
"Third, within our lifetimes, people are not completely constrained by the kinds of physical and biological forces that generated evolution, but rather operate by free will. Not only is free will supported by our subjective experience of having genuine choices to make, it also fits with our preferred view of ourselves and others as responsible agents."
For those interested in inter-acting with the author(s), one of them can be reached here :
More propaganda for common descent. Sorry, the old problems are still the new problems. And the lame attempt to throw a bone to the perceived need for “free will” is laughable.
Very simple: embrace materialism/naturalism! Darwinism follows necessarily. (Epicurus and Lucretius had already said pretty much everything worth saying regarding that point of view.)
I just have one question with a followup. If God did not cause the Big Bang, did God(s) evolve from this event or is the conclusion that God does not exist?
This isn’t a question of timelines or manners of species propagation. This a central question of “creation” and something common to all religions with a belief in God(s).
If evolution by natural selection is the norm, then why do we have endangered animal funds when that goes against nature?
They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-two students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With their rich maroon gowns flowing .. and the traditional caps, they looked almost .. as grown up as they felt.
Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.
This class would NOT pray during the commencements——not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it.
The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.
The speeches were nice, but they were routine.....until the final speech received a standing ovation.
A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened.
All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED !!!!
The student on stage.. simply looked at the audience and said,
’ GOD BLESS YOU
And he walked off stage...
The audience exploded into applause. This graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God ‘ s blessing on their future with or without the court ‘ s approval.
Isn ‘ t this a wonderful story? Pass it on to all your friends..........and
GOD BLESS YOU!!!!
This is a true story; it happened at the University of Maryland .
Oh, how I wish THIS one would take off and FILL the whole Country!!
IN GOD WE TRUST
PAUL & CAROL
No trees were killed in the sending of this message,
but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
And what does Quantum Theory have to say about God, the mind, and evolution ?
Consider for a moment that God exists on a Quantum plain - both particulate and wave-form.
LOL! You’ve got to be a lawyer! (But God loves you anyway.)
Why not convince students solely on the statistical strength of the TOE? /s
Never underestimate the ability of your students to look around, observe modern humanity, and then look back at you and say “Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me?”
I’ve been told that I should pursue Law, or that others have confused me for such.
But my concept is pro-god. That all of Heaven is greater than the world, yet fits in each grain of sand.
God’s existence fits within Quantum Physics pretty well. That the human brain and soul can receive god, and even Jesus (One also existing in both realities) when it is allowed. God existing as both wave and particle is a pleasing thought.
And our own “Evolution”, fits in well with Creation, Intelligent Design, and Evolution. Our bodies may evolve and adapt to changing environments, but our minds can “Tune” or attract god through ways not even conceived. Quantum physics can assist us in understanding.
I’m not religious, but I am observant. (I can still make friends with devout Freepers !)
Sometimes intellectualizing can muddy the waters. The Christian faith is pure, clean, and relatively simple. You might say it is the Divine road map for a good after-life. Jesus didn’t use complicated theory. His Golden Rule was pithy and to the point. Try as one might, you cannot improve on, add to or subtract from what is written in the Holy Bible.
Somehow I knew the fault would lie with the students and with the theory.
YIKES, SeekAndFind! Humans have been so reduced on this view that they are just passive, machinelike objects that can be tinkered with to resolve "emotional obstacles" to the received truths of orthodox Darwinism.
I gather in order to preserve "the cornerstone of modern biology," not only God, but man himself, must be sacrificed....
Springer's been publishing a whole lot of junk lately, IMHO FWIW.
Thanks for the head's-up to the Thagard/Findlay piece SeekAndFind!
Indeed. Thank you so much for sharing your insights, dearest sister in Christ!
A major "cognitive obstacle" to the acceptance of the theory of evolution by natural selection is that it is false. Falseness, absurdity or preposterousness of theories, such as for example the theory that the Earth is shaped like a rugby ball, constitute major congitive obstacles to the acceptance of such theories.
make suggestions about what can be done to improve acceptance of Darwinian
One way is to point out that students will get a grade of zero if they do not profess belief in Darwinism.
Why not? It should be an effective way to increase acceptance of Darwinism. "Rational" arguments pro Darwinism won't work any better than "rational" arguments defending the theory that the Earth is shaped like a rugby ball. So just tell the students they'll get zero, get kicked out etc., if they don't believe in Darwinism. Simple solution.