Mixing Memory

Intelligent Design and Education Paper

Some of you might be interested in this short article from the February 2006 issue of Trends in Cognitive Sciences:

Lombrozo, T., Shtulman, A., & Weisberg, M. (2006) The Intelligent Design controversy: lessons from psychology and education. Trends in Cognitive Science, 10(2), 56-57.

Here’s the first paragraph, to whet your appetite:

The current debate over whether to teach Intelligent Design creationism in American public schools provides the rare opportunity to watch the interaction between scientific knowledge and intuitive beliefs play out in courts rather than cortex. Although it is tempting to think the controversy stems only from ignorance about evolution, a closer look reinforces what decades of research in cognitive and social psychology have already taught us: that the relationship between understanding a claim and believing a claim is far from simple. Research in education and psychology confirms that a majority of college students fail to understand evolutionary theory, but also finds no support for a relationship between understanding evolutionary theory and accepting it as true [1,2]. We believe the intuitive appeal of Intelligent Design owes as much to misconceptions about science and morality as it does to
misconceptions about evolution. To support this position we present a brief tour of misconceptions: evolutionary, scientific and moral.


  1. #1 sparc
    November 17, 2006

    I like their conclusion (emphasis mine):

    A proper understanding of evolutionary
    theory and its consequences requires more than
    a few lessons in biology.
    It also requires lessons from
    philosophy of science about what constitutes a scientific
    theory and an empirical test, and lessons from moral
    philosophy about the difference between empirical claims and moral claims. Perhaps this is what ought to be taught
    alongside evolution in America’s public schools.

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