Great article by Chris Mooney: The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science

| 332 Comments

From here. The conclusion:

Given the power of our prior beliefs to skew how we respond to new information, one thing is becoming clear: If you want someone to accept new evidence, make sure to present it to them in a context that doesn’t trigger a defensive, emotional reaction.

This theory is gaining traction in part because of Kahan’s work at Yale. In one study, he and his colleagues packaged the basic science of climate change into fake newspaper articles bearing two very different headlines–“Scientific Panel Recommends Anti-Pollution Solution to Global Warming” and “Scientific Panel Recommends Nuclear Solution to Global Warming”–and then tested how citizens with different values responded. Sure enough, the latter framing made hierarchical individualists much more open to accepting the fact that humans are causing global warming. Kahan infers that the effect occurred because the science had been written into an alternative narrative that appealed to their pro-industry worldview.

You can follow the logic to its conclusion: Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader, who can set the issue in the context of different values than those from which environmentalists or scientists often argue. Doing so is, effectively, to signal a détente in what Kahan has called a “culture war of fact.” In other words, paradoxically, you don’t lead with the facts in order to convince. You lead with the values–so as to give the facts a fighting chance.

332 Comments

How is this informative, Nick?

We’ve known about how Americans are highly influenced by the source of the information, as opposed to the content, for decades now.

The notable part, and the part that must be addressed, ISN’T how we spin information; it’s that it’s clear that spin has more value that actual factual information!

sorry, but playing up to people’s preconceptions isn’t a long term solution to the problem. Instead, it will only act to REINFORCE the problem.

…oh, and for the record, one more time, here is a much earlier article from science that reviewed the problem far more thoroughly than Mooney ever even considered:

http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~deenasw[…]0science.pdf

Did you ever get around to reading it?

And it doesn’t address the issue of people whose mindset is dead against the facts by definition. Creationists are not going to accept evolutionary theory a priori. There is no way to “frame” the facts in a way that will make them change their minds. From reading the comments on Panda’s Thumb (and talk.origins), those who were creationists but came to reject their early beliefs and accept evolution generally did so because they realised they were being lied to by their preachers/family. That is, the *facts* that made them change their minds, not framing or accommodationism or NOMA.

Let’s take this further: in the paper that Ichthyic kindly linked to *AND* the review that Mooney was drawing from, one of the most important indicators of acceptance was not “framing”, but the perceived trustworthiness of the advocate. That is, many Americans accept creationism because the people they are conditioned to trust tell them that evolution is wrong. It doesn’t matter that these people have no expertise, what matters is that they are trusted.

So when that trust is broken – say by discovering that the people they trust are lying to them about evolution – then that is one of the most powerful events in creating a change of mind. And as the experience of many commenters here attests to me, this is probably the single most effective way to effect change when the opposition is lying. So, using the same articles that Mooney drew upon, I think one could make an excellent argument that we should be *more* aggressive in presenting the facts. Instead of bowing to the opposition and being nice, respectful, and deferential – all of which *adds* to their perceived trustworthiness – we should be showing them up for every lie they spout.

Now, I’m not about to suggest that everyone should start writing like Christopher Hitchens. It’s up to the writer. Some people feel more comfortable tackling these issues as a quiet fireside chat. More power to them. But the problem with Mooney is he has spent the last 5 years telling everyone else that they are bad for science unless they present evidence according to his prescription despite objectively failing as a communicator on almost every level himself. In this article he even uses studies to draw what he wants from them while ignoring the parts of the evidence that don’t suit him, all to maintain his glowing sense of self-importance. If this is framing, then I want nothing to do with it.

Addendum:

Mooney can’t even get his facts straight. He closes by saying, “Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader, who can set the issue in the context of different values than those from which environmentalists or scientists often argue.”

Which would be nice if it were true. But as we know, the Catholic Church has officially rallied to the cause of preventing global warming, and George Soros, a famous financier and businessman and global warming campaigner, was subjected to a campaign of vilification by right-wing commentators who have created in their audience a perception that Soros is only into global warming to make himself richer. So, yeah, Mooney’s prescription has *already failed*, and yet here he is advocating it all over again.

(Quoting Mooney’s article quoting University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt: “…when we think we’re reasoning, we may instead be rationalizing. … We may think we’re being scientists, but we’re actually being lawyers…)

And thus we get Phillip Johnson - a lawyer, not a scientist - inventing intelligent design creationism, because it makes sense to him.

I disagree with Mooney, who seems more obsessed with content than with form, who thinks that propaganda is more important than truth and that the advertising is more important than the product.

We have a better chance of defeating the likes of the Duane Gishes and D. James Kennedys and Rousas Rushdoonys and the Dishonesty Institute and all the other Liars For Jesus™ by presenting facts, not by stooping to framing science in terms their crippled minds can deal with. Presenting their scientific illiteracy as scientific illiteracy has to be a better of combatting their ignorance.

There are some points here this YEC agrees with. Yet its old news. Authority has always led the way to peoples opinions. James Madison said this long ago. nOt the merits of the case or a careful appreciation of the facts and criticisms of the facts. People do come from a history of accepting and rejecting or being inconclusive on matters based on their confidence in the sources. Yes YEC creationists start from a acceptance of authority in the bible yet we insist we are open to persuasion but our opponents fail. iN fact we would say they fail to see the lack or unlikelyness of their ideas merits because of their acceptance of the authority behind them. Howwww many times is the claim made evlution is true because its SCIENCE. So stop questioning it they say. We say show us the evidence. Never mind your faith in the sources. In fact YEC says show us evolution is based on science or rather a high standard of investigation.

I don’t care or think about global cooling but I’m confident its not true. I see the greatest of the globe from the ground up as too powerful for puffs of smoke from people to make a dent. Claims of melting are just misunderstood variations in climate over the centuries. i see in all this a upper middle class attempt to make a cleaner planet. I think they believe in their ideas but its always the same goofy crowd that so easily accepts anything any interest group pushes. Its certainly not warming in stupid Toronto here in the middle of April. Yuck.

Robert Byers said:

There are some points here this YEC agrees with. Yet its old news. Authority has always led the way to peoples opinions. James Madison said this long ago. nOt the merits of the case or a careful appreciation of the facts and criticisms of the facts. People do come from a history of accepting and rejecting or being inconclusive on matters based on their confidence in the sources.

I agree that understanding an audience’s values and appealing to them in order to get a message across is nothing new. Science is areligious but invoking god to appeal to religious people’s point of view could well create a more rewarding result: “This is how we believe God created the way life functions…”. To a scientific audience this would not be a good approach so I suggest you stop trying it R.B. because that is exactly what you face here on PT.

Yes YEC creationists start from a acceptance of authority in the bible yet we insist we are open to persuasion but our opponents fail.

But you aren’t open to persuasion. Your authority is the Bible. In your world this book trumps any facts to the contrary regardless of the weight of the evidence itself.

iN fact we would say they fail to see the lack or unlikelyness of their ideas merits because of their acceptance of the authority behind them.

Er… Do what? I assume you are implicitly pointing out that scientists should take the Bible as the supreme authority on everything. Personally I’d recommend Lord of the Rings - it is just as useful for science and it has a happy ending to boot.

Howwww many times is the claim made evlution is true because its SCIENCE. So stop questioning it they say.

Wrong. Evolution is the best explanation we have for the diversity of life on this planet base on the current facts. You need never stop questioning this but to overturn a scientific theory you will need to seek out new scientific evidence to support an alternative. Quoting the bible is not going to help.

We say show us the evidence. Never mind your faith in the sources. In fact YEC says show us evolution is based on science or rather a high standard of investigation.

Your blind spot to scientific evidence is exponentially greater than your blind spot to grammar. At least you are polite.

I don’t care or think about global cooling but I’m confident its not true.

I agree. It appears all the evidence such as melting ice caps points to global warming.

I see the greatest of the globe from the ground up as too powerful for puffs of smoke from people to make a dent. Claims of melting are just misunderstood variations in climate over the centuries.

But… but… y’know… that global cooling BS and all that??

i see in all this a upper middle class attempt to make a cleaner planet. I think they believe in their ideas but its always the same goofy crowd that so easily accepts anything any interest group pushes.

I know exactly what you mean, Bob. Have you seen their bourgeois upper middle class lawns and kids - they are always so damn clean. It doesn’t surprise me if they want to do the same to the whole planet.

Its certainly not warming in stupid Toronto here in the middle of April. Yuck.

I hope the weather becomes more to your liking soon. I guess woolly socks and a hot water bottle are your friends until then.

Robert Byers wrote: “Yes YEC creationists start from a acceptance of authority in the bible yet we insist we are open to persuasion but our opponents fail.”

There’s you problem right there. Open to persuasion yet admit the Bible is the ultimate authority? Pick one, it cannot be both.

Besides, pretending that an old book written by people who did not have an inch of the knowledge we have today should be accepted as “authority”, without evidence, is a bit of a nail in the head, is it not?

The bottom line is that the ideas the ancient Hebrew goat herders had about how all this came to be, what the Earth is and why life is so diverse is simply refuted by modern knowledge. I repeat, it is refuted by science. See the problem with claiming such ancient myths are “authority” yet?

So let’s have a go at this whole “framing” issue. It is not that you are wrong Robert, it is simply that you are not right.

Ichthyic said:

How is this informative, Nick?

We’ve known about how Americans are highly influenced by the source of the information, as opposed to the content, for decades now.

Not Americans - humans. Every one of us.

It may not be ‘new news’ but its probably one of those lessons worth repeating every once in a while; our rationality is influenced by our emotions, and if we try and convince people to change their mind (i.e. accept evolution when some other influence is telling them to reject it) without remembering that, we’re largely going to fail.

I vaguely recall reading about some chimpanzee experiments, where scientists tested their ability to perform complex tasks with a banana as a reward. In one set, the banana was visible throughout the test. In the other, it wasn’t. The chimps did worse when they could see the banana; they got excited and couldn’t focus on the task (as well).

We are those apes. When we’re emotionally hyped up, we can’t engage our rational faculties as well.

How about “19th Century British Biologist Demonstrates God Moves in Mysterious Ways”? or “Natural Processes Described But Not Fully Explained - ‘No Glib Answers’ Admits Man in White Coat”

Should be ok with the ignorigencia in the USA.

Please issue Post Of The Week - Pandas Thumb version ASAP to Amadan.

Thank you, that is all.

Chris Lawson said:

Addendum:

Mooney can’t even get his facts straight. He closes by saying, “Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader, who can set the issue in the context of different values than those from which environmentalists or scientists often argue.”

Which would be nice if it were true. But as we know, the Catholic Church has officially rallied to the cause of preventing global warming, and George Soros, a famous financier and businessman and global warming campaigner, was subjected to a campaign of vilification by right-wing commentators who have created in their audience a perception that Soros is only into global warming to make himself richer. So, yeah, Mooney’s prescription has *already failed*, and yet here he is advocating it all over again.

There’s something even worse about the Mooney “study”.

He biased the results with the word “nuclear”.

AGW is a “new” issue. But desire to reduce nuclear arms stockpiles, and caution with regard to regulation of nuclear energy facilities and disposal of nuclear waste, have been “liberal” causes for a long time.

All he showed was that when forced to choose between two ideological positions, conservatives chose the longer established one. His results also strongly suggest that much right wing ideology is based on reflexive oppositional behavior toward whatever is perceived to be “liberal”.

The problems trying to persuade those who cannot be persuaded are significant.

By adopting a groveling, obsequious, excessively “respectful” attitude toward denial of reality, the science advocate causes the persuadable to overestimate the value of the objectively wrong position. Meanwhile, those who have already adopted the reality denying propaganda position have done so for strong emotional reasons, and can’t be reached by reasoned discourse. And let’s remember that science denialists will find ANY reminder of reality to be equally “insulting”. So no-one benefits from excessive obsequiousness.

Provide the scientific perspective in a fair way, understandable by lay people yet not excessively oversimplified. Use language that is persuasive toward those who can be persuaded. As for those who are completely committed to an emotionally charged reality denying agenda, it would be unethical and unwise to abuse them excessively (e.g. with threats, despite their tendency to threaten others). But there is no reason not to demonstrate how wrong they are.

I know that at least someone on the pro-science side here will probably totally distort my meaning here. Even though almost all of my comments are “civil” to an extreme degree, someone will mistakenly assume that I am saying that “anything goes”. No, that is not what I am saying. That is the creationist attitude. “Anything goes” as long as it denies evolution.” Obviously, the pro-science side is ethically compelled to avoid threats, excessively personal attacks, ethnic/gender/orientation bigotry, and, of course, dishonest arguments.

However, what I am saying is that humor, satire, ridicule, sarcasm, expressions of frustration, repetition of unanswered questions, accurate identification of dishonesty, accurate identification of hidden agendas, etc, are nothing to be concerned about when dealing with creationists. They won’t stop an honest, persuadable person from being persuaded; in fact, they may often be persuasive.

Shorter version - “A Concern Troll Gets It Wrong Again”.

First of all, please react to what Mooney is saying here, not some generalized reaction to whatever ridiculous grudge the Gnus have built up against Mooney over the years. Tell us what, specifically, you disagree with in what he wrote, and please back it up with science, like science defenders ™ are supposed to do.

I never understand the hot death people rain down on Chris Mooney for this kind of thing (*). They tend to be the same people that rain hot death on all opponents, real or imagined, all the time. You’ve got to realize, the vast majority of people out there are not committed, deliberate creationists (or climate deniers, or whatever). The vast majority of people have very vague ideas about these topics, whatever their opinions. They can be reached, but not if you lead with you are stupid liers whose religion is also a lie and by the way there’s no God, no objective meaning to life, and if you think otherwise then science is against you, it’s a package deal and you have to accept all that if you accept evolution/global warming.

I’ve done a lot of speaking to general audiences – students, civil rights groups, church groups, etc. Not once has it seemed even mildly likely that provoking a defensive reaction was a good idea. It’s only good, maybe, when you are in a shouting match on a blog or on Fox News, and even in those venues it’s extremely debatable if it does anything other than get people mad and shut down and repel the very people you would like to reach.

* hot death reference: Bloom County: http://picayune.uclick.com/comics/b[…]lm820728.gif

harold said: However, what I am saying is that humor, satire, ridicule, sarcasm, expressions of frustration, repetition of unanswered questions, accurate identification of dishonesty, accurate identification of hidden agendas, etc, are nothing to be concerned about when dealing with creationists. They won’t stop an honest, persuadable person from being persuaded; in fact, they may often be persuasive.

Shorter version - “A Concern Troll Gets It Wrong Again”.

Hence my frequent references to “Star Trek”, or “Doctor Who” whether I am referring to Klingons or the Borg or Daleks. Why not score a few rhetorical points and have some fun too, while noting (correctly I believe) that many creos tend to behave like the Borg or Daleks.

On a more serious note, I agree with Chris Lawson that Chris Mooney is being overly simplistic, especially when there are a substantial number of Conservatives (even if we are in the minority alas) who accept the scientific reality of biological evolution, whether it is Federal jurist John Jones or the National Review’s John Derbyshire or The Weekly Standard’s - and Rolling Stone’s - P. J. O’Rourke. I would also have to concur with others who have noted here that Chris Mooney seems more concerned with style rather than substance, which, I might add, is fundamentally what is wrong with his latest book “Unscientific America”.

Nick Matzke said:

First of all, please react to what Mooney is saying here, not some generalized reaction to whatever ridiculous grudge the Gnus have built up against Mooney over the years. Tell us what, specifically, you disagree with in what he wrote, and please back it up with science, like science defenders ™ are supposed to do.

I never understand the hot death people rain down on Chris Mooney for this kind of thing (*). They tend to be the same people that rain hot death on all opponents, real or imagined, all the time. You’ve got to realize, the vast majority of people out there are not committed, deliberate creationists (or climate deniers, or whatever). The vast majority of people have very vague ideas about these topics, whatever their opinions. They can be reached, but not if you lead with you are stupid liers whose religion is also a lie and by the way there’s no God, no objective meaning to life, and if you think otherwise then science is against you, it’s a package deal and you have to accept all that if you accept evolution/global warming.

I’ve done a lot of speaking to general audiences – students, civil rights groups, church groups, etc. Not once has it seemed even mildly likely that provoking a defensive reaction was a good idea. It’s only good, maybe, when you are in a shouting match on a blog or on Fox News, and even in those venues it’s extremely debatable if it does anything other than get people mad and shut down and repel the very people you would like to reach.

* hot death reference: Bloom County: http://picayune.uclick.com/comics/b[…]lm820728.gif

1) I do not self-identify as a “Gnu atheist”.

2) I am strongly in favor of use of good persuasive techniques, which certainly includes not provoking a defensive reaction, when there is the slightest chance that someone can be persuaded. I have done this successfully many, many times in person.

3) We do, however, have to be aware of who is being persuaded. Again, some people have committed to a completely reality denying ideology for emotional reasons. These people should not be threatened, attacked in an excessively personal way, treated with ethnic/gender/orientation bigotry, or otherwise excessively abused, but since they cannot be persuaded anyway, since they claim to be terribly offended by any critical feedback whatsoever regardless of “tone”, and since treating them in an obsequious, egg-shell-walking way would merely weaken pro-science arguments in the eyes of the persuadable, we should critique them fairly, civilly, but strongly. I know this because a long time ago I thought they were persuadable, but I learned otherwise. Hint - it’s almost never really about the universe being 6000 years old.

4) I had forgotten Mooney’s existence and didn’t recognize his name, but this specific claim by Mooney is 1) factually wrong to an almost silly degree, because AGW and the theory of evolution already are supported by many business and religious leaders, and are still denied, when that is known and 2) he biased his survey in the manner I noted above.

I do not pay Mooney a lot of mind, nor do I necessarily agree with him on any of his specific points – but I would say iin general it is Writing 101 to present your materials to readers in a fashion intended to provide them with the understanding the writer is trying to communicate.

People shoot back: “Well, we should just give the facts.” The problem is that there’s a wide range of ways of expressing something that are all equally factual. There’s going to be some sort of spin on it. When we go out the door in public, we put on some kind of clothes, but as long as we wearing clothes that fit the task we’re doing, we can wear what we like as suits our purposes.

There’s an old corporate gag: “If our marketing department sold sushi, they’d call it COLD DEAD RAW FISH.” It is hardly dishonest to use somewhat more flattering language to describe it.

Chris Lawson:

those who were creationists but came to reject their early beliefs and accept evolution generally did so because they realised they were being lied to by their preachers/family. That is, the *facts* that made them change their minds, not framing or accommodationism or NOMA.

I don’t understand you here. What you seem to be saying is that scientific evidence, no matter how all-encompassing, consistent, or persuasive, was useless. Instead, what happened was that they came to view their authorities as being unreliable for reasons external to the evidence. They began to distrust the character, motivations, and probity of their authorities. And only THEN did they start to take the facts seriously.

And I suggest that fairly often, an authority begins to lose its power when it says something the follower disagrees with!

the Catholic Church has officially rallied to the cause of preventing global warming

And sadly, the Catholic Church in doing so is losing credibility with former adherents. If one formerly accepted authority is saying uncongenial things, people find a more congenial authority. It’s not often science. It’s no mystery why the mainstream religious denominations are withering, while evangelical and fundamentalist denominations are growing so rapidly. Scientific evidence plays no significant role in any of this.

So long as Byers regards his bible as the ultimate authority and uses it as his filter and litmus test, of course he will find that conflicting evidence “fails”. Clearly, no amount of such evidence, no matter how it is framed or how carefully it is explained or how much it’s internally consistent, no matter well explanations match evidence, will ever matter unless and until he is able to question his absolute trust in his chosen authority.

And that trust is not based on any facts, so it can’t be undermined by any facts. His trust is based on emotional needs which must be satisfied in some other way. Facts can’t do that.

harold:

this specific claim by Mooney is 1) factually wrong to an almost silly degree, because AGW and the theory of evolution already are supported by many business and religious leaders, and are still denied

This does not make Mooney wrong in any way. When the authorities you cite say things people don’t want to hear, they are no longer accepted as authorities. People choose new authorities. If there are no suitable authorities around, then there’s a schism when groups set up their own authorities.

Martin Luther is said to have commented that if God Himself came down to earth and told Luther he was wrong, Luther would simply reject his God’s authority, because his God got it wrong, and became unreliable.

I don’t see that Mooney’s conclusion follows from the cited studies:

You can follow the logic to its conclusion: Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader.…

No, the study on climate change suggested that conservatives were more accepting when it promoted something else they favored (in this case, nuclear power). And the study on Obama being a secret Muslim suggests the exact opposite of Mooney’s conclusion. When the facts were presented by a perceived member of the in-group (in this case, whites), subjects were less likely to revise their beliefs.

In other words, paradoxically, you don’t lead with the facts in order to convince. You lead with the values—so as to give the facts a fighting chance.

Again, I don’t think this is an accurate summary. The cited studies don’t suggest that leading with values promotes a willingess to accept facts on their merits. Instead, they suggest (again) that people will accept a set of claims if they support other preconceived values and political goals. There was no indication that the facts really got any “fighting chance.” They were simply prostituted to a more favored set of values.

Flint said:

harold:

this specific claim by Mooney is 1) factually wrong to an almost silly degree, because AGW and the theory of evolution already are supported by many business and religious leaders, and are still denied

This does not make Mooney wrong in any way. When the authorities you cite say things people don’t want to hear, they are no longer accepted as authorities. People choose new authorities. If there are no suitable authorities around, then there’s a schism when groups set up their own authorities.

Martin Luther is said to have commented that if God Himself came down to earth and told Luther he was wrong, Luther would simply reject his God’s authority, because his God got it wrong, and became unreliable.

I’m badly confused by something here.

I do agree with you that when individual “authorities” stray from the overall ideology, they are subsequently rejected. Indeed, that is what we have seen in the US, and the ideology associated with creationism and AGW denial has become more and more “pure” and extreme as a result.

I don’t understand how this fails to make Moody wrong. He’s saying “they’ll accept AGW if a ‘business leader’ tells them to, because they accept the authority of business leaders”. No, they won’t. If Bill Gates tells them to, they’ll reject him out of hand as a “liberal” business leader (by their standards), and if the Koch brothers tell them to, they’ll accuse them of backsliding and still reject it.

Except, perhaps, for the most powerfully charismatic leaders of individual cults, brainwashing is something of a one-way process. It begins with submission to authority, but once it’s hard-wired, if the same authority “changes its mind”, the new position of the authority, not the original message that was pounded in, may be rejected. But this makes Moody wrong, not right.

I don’t understand how this fails to make Moody wrong. He’s saying “they’ll accept AGW if a ‘business leader’ tells them to, because they accept the authority of business leaders”. No, they won’t.

I think Mooney is being simplistic here to some degree, but I think you are also omitting some important context Mooney provided.

AGW rejection seems to be based on a constellation of influences that extend considerably beyond individual authority figures. Mooney says that they are reinforced by the disbeliever’s community, and conflict with his view of how business ought to work in a general sense. Mooney says that AGW denial (among the general public, not the fanatics) is reduced when AGW can be plausibly integrated with the larger model, as simply another aspect of how business ought to work.

So if the authority figure simply decrees that AGW is real, this is probably discredited. If the authority figure instead says that AGW should be recognized as an element of good business generally, it gains credibility. It can more easily be assimilated into an existing model.

As far as how this applies to creationism, how much success has Ken Miller had in convincing Christians about evolution? I gave his books to a fundamentalist friend of mine and it didn’t do squat. Maybe it was because of some anti-catholic bigotry, but I think that is irrelevant.

How do you think this will help in dealing with creationists??????????????????????

How do you think this will help in dealing with creationists??????????????????????

Certainly there is no hope for the sort of dedicated creationists that infest these groups. But polls indicate that the large majority of the public is much more indifferent to creationism. They have been socialized into a rather hazy religious model with which creationism is more consistent than is science, but they are also largely unaware of any of evoloution’s supporting basis. They simply haven’t been exposed to it, except perhaps some vague misrepresentations on which creationism rests.

So it might be helpful to make clear that evolution/creationism is not an either/or choice, but that they can be reconciled in many ways. Children can learn that understanding the principles of evolution in no way jeapordizes their admission into heaven.

There’s no persuading creationists. The only thing that can be done is make sure that people who get interested in the issue and sincerely want to know what’s going can get good information.

I am not, however, going to weigh in on this argument and try to define “good information” in highly specific terms.

KP said:

As far as how this applies to creationism, how much success has Ken Miller had in convincing Christians about evolution? I gave his books to a fundamentalist friend of mine and it didn’t do squat. Maybe it was because of some anti-catholic bigotry, but I think that is irrelevant.

How do you think this will help in dealing with creationists??????????????????????

Finding Darwin’s God was very helpful to me in my transition from YEC to theistic evolution. It mattered a lot to me that there was such a thing as a Christian who believed in evolution. Granted, I was already moving in that direction when I read the book, but without it (and others) that transition might have been stillborn.

jkc said:

KP said:

As far as how this applies to creationism, how much success has Ken Miller had in convincing Christians about evolution? I gave his books to a fundamentalist friend of mine and it didn’t do squat. Maybe it was because of some anti-catholic bigotry, but I think that is irrelevant.

How do you think this will help in dealing with creationists??????????????????????

Finding Darwin’s God was very helpful to me in my transition from YEC to theistic evolution. It mattered a lot to me that there was such a thing as a Christian who believed in evolution. Granted, I was already moving in that direction when I read the book, but without it (and others) that transition might have been stillborn.

Beside being glad to hear that, I think that you obviously exemplify the kind of person who is persuadable.

Just to make things clear, I recommend that book wherever I think it’s appropriate.

On the other hand, if I were to “try to meet Ken Ham halfway” or some such thing, I wouldn’t be persuading people like you as well, and I certainly wouldn’t be persuading Ken Ham.

KP said:

As far as how this applies to creationism, how much success has Ken Miller had in convincing Christians about evolution? I gave his books to a fundamentalist friend of mine and it didn’t do squat. Maybe it was because of some anti-catholic bigotry, but I think that is irrelevant.

How do you think this will help in dealing with creationists??????????????????????

It’s not just Ken Miller, but Michael Zimmerman and the Clergy Letter Project, E. O. Wilson and others are apparently starting to have an impact if we are to trust the latest opinion polls. As for Ken, he has stated that those who embrace faiths hostile to science should reject them, so he isn’t the “accomodationist” that some might contend.

KP said:

As far as how this applies to creationism, how much success has Ken Miller had in convincing Christians about evolution? I gave his books to a fundamentalist friend of mine and it didn’t do squat. Maybe it was because of some anti-catholic bigotry, but I think that is irrelevant.

How do you think this will help in dealing with creationists??????????????????????

Probably not creationists, but there are many people on the fence, and Miller can be used with them. For many people, the central question is whether they have to choose between evolution and Christianity. In most such cases, evolution loses. Miller assures them that no such choice is necessary. I have given Miller’s books to people who were thereby satisfied that evolution is not a tool of Satan. Which is a good thing.

I am not sure it is an honest use of the English language to call the ideology of the right “values.”

I am also not sure that it is honest to deliberately frame one’s argument in a way that caters to an opponents mental disabilities or prejudices.

It won’t work anyway, that’s the tactic they use, and they are much more practiced at it than any of us.

I just couldn’t agree more with this. Personally though, I think people are just confused about what truth they want to accept and to reject.

Paul Burnett said:

(Quoting Mooney’s article quoting University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt: “…when we think we’re reasoning, we may instead be rationalizing. … We may think we’re being scientists, but we’re actually being lawyers…)

And thus we get Phillip Johnson - a lawyer, not a scientist - inventing intelligent design creationism, because it makes sense to him.

I disagree with Mooney, who seems more obsessed with content than with form, who thinks that propaganda is more important than truth and that the advertising is more important than the product.

We have a better chance of defeating the likes of the Duane Gishes and D. James Kennedys and Rousas Rushdoonys and the Dishonesty Institute and all the other Liars For Jesus™ by presenting facts, not by stooping to framing science in terms their crippled minds can deal with. Presenting their scientific illiteracy as scientific illiteracy has to be a better of combatting their ignorance.

Cons: Feels like a first-generation version of a new product line rather than a sequel to the iPod nano. Video, gaming, camera, speaker, and microphone features are amongst a laundry list of capabilities dropped from the new model, precluding it from being used as a complete or even substantial replacement for its three most recent predecessors, primarily by users with video needs. New glossy body colors are weaker than ones introduced in last two years. Multi-Touch screen has only one multi-touch gesture, lacking for others that might have made the device more interesting, while the lack of physical Home and track control buttons complicates the device’s ease of use; plenty of swiping is necessary. Use of clip, as well as connection and disconnection of accessories, can be a modest challenge while the device is being used.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on April 18, 2011 8:41 PM.

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