"The whole idea behind acceptance of evolution has been the assumption that if people understood it, if they really knew it, they would see the logic and accept it," study co-author David Haury, an associate professor of education at Ohio State University, said in a statement.
But, he noted, research on the matter has been inconsistent. While one study would find a strong relationship between knowledge level and acceptance, another would not. Likewise, studies have contradicted each other on the relationship between religious identity and acceptance of evolution, he said…
In a new study:
124 pre-service biology teachers at different stages in a standard teacher preparation program…[where asked a] series of questions to measure their overall acceptance of evolution…they tested the students on their knowledge of evolutionary science…For each question, the students wrote down how certain they felt about the correctness of their answers — an indicator of their gut feelings.
They found that intuition had a significant impact on what the students accepted, no matter how much they knew and regardless of their religious beliefs. Even students with a greater knowledge of evolutionary facts weren't more likely to accept the theory unless they also had a strong gut feeling about the facts, the results showed.
The study has important implications for the teaching of evolution, the researchers said. Informing students about this conflict between intuition and logic may help them judge ideas on their merits.
David Haury notes:
Educationally, we think that's a place to start. It's a concrete way to show
them, “Look, you can be fooled and make a bad decision, because you just can't
deny your gut."
Indeed, and the manner whereby you can be fooled and make a bad decision goes each and every way. For example, from pre-school children’s books to college textbooks we find texts that are supposed to be about science or biology which are peppered with unscientific Darwinian worldview-philosophical narrative passed off as science. Students can go from Pre-K to earning a degree without ever questioning or otherwise discerning observational, empirical facts from worldview-philosophy based Victorian Era story telling.
Moreover, how many people have no particular interest in biology, evolution or Darwinism and thus, never revisit the topics again. How many mere end up un-skeptically holding to that which they were propagandized into believing?
The reference study was published in the January 2012 issue of Journal of Research in Science Teaching (Vol. 49, No. 1, by Minsu Ha, David L. Haury, and Ross H. Nehm) under the title Feeling of Certainty: Uncovering a Missing Link Between Knowledge and Acceptance of Evolution.
The abstract notes:
We propose a new model of the factors influencing acceptance of evolutionary theory that highlights a novel variable unexplored in previous studies: the feeling of certainty (FOC). The model is grounded in an emerging understanding of brain function that acknowledges the contributions of intuitive cognitions in making decisions, such as whether or not to accept a particular theoretical explanation of events…
All of our hypothesis tests corroborated the idea that FOC plays a moderating role in relationships among evolutionary knowledge and beliefs.
One statement has complex and alarming implications as it could offer an encouragement to double upon on the propaganda so as to ensure the erasure of doubt:
Educational research into acceptance of evolutionary theory will likely benefit from increased attention to non-conscious intuitive cognitions that give rise to
feeling of knowing or certainty.
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Education Questions and Answers
Evolution in American education and the demise of its public school system