Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Humans naturally creationist?

This is too funny:

Humans may be primed to believe in creation

It's a funny piece, at least to me. Two psychologists at Boston University basically tested people to see if they agree with teleological statements, and guess what? They do. Imagine that! It's almost like someone designed us that way. Here's my favorite quote:

"What her work suggests is that the creationist side has a huge leg up early on because it fits our natural tendencies," says Paul Bloom, a psychologist at Yale University. "It has implications for why most people on earth are creationists, I think."

Yeah, that's a cryin' shame!

Here's an example of one of their teleological statements: "Rocks are jagged so animals can scratch themselves." Agreeing with that sounds kind of silly, doesn't it? How about this one: "The earth has an ozone layer in order to protect it from UV rays." Now that doesn't sound so silly does it? And if you do believe the earth was intentionally designed and created, then maybe it's not so far from the truth. It could be at least one of the reasons there's an ozone layer.

So what do we do about all this teleological thinking, this "childlike reasoning?" More science education, of course! Meaning more education that teleological thinking is childish and wrong. Perhaps we should be teaching the difference between a naive teleology (sharp rocks made for backscratching) and deeper teleology (the ozone layer protects us).

This might be extremely childish of me, but I'll let Jesus have the last word:

"I assure you," He said, "unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
(Matt 18:3, HSCB)

For those of you with a ScienceDirect site license or more money than sense, here's the original research article:

Keleman, D and E Rosset. 2009. The Human Function Compunction: Teleological explanation in adults. Cognition 111(1):138-143.