The cover of the March 2015 National Geographic could not come at a better time. Finally, a direct communication to the crazy creationists and others on the growing margins of the science establishment.
Question posed by Nat. Geo: Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?
Short Answer: Because they are reasonable.
Longer Answer Part 1: This post will begin to answer the why of only one of the marginalist groups identified on the front cover of the scientific establishment’s outreach department, aka, National Geographic. I will call this group the Evolution Skeptics.
It is important to note at the onset, the editors of this very well-known and long-running popular magazine are self-described as “gatekeepers of scientific information.” They see their roles as diminished recently just as the role of the “expert” in most fields has diminished, in part because of the democratization of education. I’d like to thank the anti-vaccine crowd, Bill Nye and Ken Ham, and others for bringing this issue to a head in its current form.
Creationists are reasonable, firstly, because they know that science does not work by consensus. Scientific theories are not subject to a popularity contest and to suggest so ignores history. So, evolution is accepted by this many scientists and this many PhDs and this many bureaucrats and Bill Nye and a whole bunch of other experts. Popularity should never be used as validity for any scientific theory.
Creationists know that science has limitations. They have personally understood facts or truths for years and then heard or read a newspaper article confirming this knowledge through a clinical study, as we all have. They have also read or heard the news when major scientific “truths” became untruths.
Creationists understand the difference between the process of science, the practitioners of science, and the scientific establishment. They know that dollars = increased scientific research in a niche field or a very narrowly defined project. They have observed massive NIH and NSF funding yield support for pharmaceutical companies (scientific fascism).* The scientific establishment does not equal science and does not necessarily mean individuals associated with said institution practice good science.
Creationists see the limitations of social science, which National Geographic writers turned to in order to “scientifically” understand these strange marginalists.
Creationists see the limitations of the peer review process, as they have been aware of efforts by scientists to submit articles for publication which are then arbitrarily thrown out because of the contrary worldview held by the submitting researcher.
Creationists already know that the reason they don’t believe evolutionary theory isn’t because they are stupid. This may sound inconsequential, but follow me. Because this is the default assumption of Creation Critics, they are limited at the onset by their presupposition. “But they certainly must be stupid. There’s no other logical reason to not believe in evolution.” All of sudden these social scientists find out that college degrees aren’t an indicator of worldview. This is also problematic, but not for Creationists, because they already knew that college degrees don’t equal intelligence necessarily. And they definitely don’t equal wisdom.
I like the way the social scientist (Dan Kahan, Yale University) interviewed in this article puts it, “Believing in evolution is just a description about you. It’s not an account of how you reason.” This is a painful pill for the science establishment. “You mean believing in this truth doesn’t actually mean I am enlightened and others are not? Doesn’t it mean that I am rational and able to synthesize results from varied fields of science? If this is only a description about me then “creationist” is only a description about them and not an assessment of their faulty reasoning.” Hair pulling ensues.
To be continued . . .