Monday, October 09, 2006

Science Has An Answer For Everything

For those few people who still think that scientists are not slaves of their own passions and desires, I just got this announcement in my email for a paper to be delivered at the University of New England:
Kilian Garvey, Ph.D
A Neuropsychological Exploration of Creationist and Evolutionary
Beliefs

Thursday, October 26th, 2006 6 p.m.

University of New England, University Campus, 11 Hills Beach Road,
Biddeford, ME.04005.

St. Francis Room, Ketchum Library.
Free and open to the public

Description: More than seventy-five years after the famous Scopes trial, the battle between evolutionists and creationists continues to rage in the United States. Why is it that the theory of evolution by natural selection, arguably the strongest theory in the history of science, generates so much skepticism and suspicion? Perhaps science can go some way towards answering this question. In this presentation, I will use a number of psychological and neuroanatomical studies to explore possible reasons for this. I will suggest that there are at least two neuropsychological attributes that lead some people to form an incomplete assessment of evolutionary theory: (1) a relatively inefficient interaction between the two hemispheres of the brain due to differences in the corpus callosum, the band of nerve tissue that connects them, and (2) an overactive sympathetic ('fight or flight') nervous system that results in a false sense of danger. Along the way, we will consider a range of phenomena including right- and left-handedness, right-wing authoritarianism, the tolerance of ambiguity, the need for cognition, the need for cognitive closure, the emotions of fear and disgust as we explore the cognitive styles and motivational needs of creationists.
You can't make this stuff up.

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