Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Traditio- Steven Pinker

According to a recent Gallup poll, more than 40 percent of Americans believe in a form of creationism, the belief that God created life in its present form a short time ago (ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 years) without using evolutionary means. It should be stated that this form of creationism is different from the form advocated by the Intelligent Design movement, who accept most of the standard science on this issue but see the mechanism of natural selection acting upon random mutation as inadequate to explain all of the complexity of life. If these people were included in with the creationists, the number could be well over 50 percent of the population.

While you may think that these sorts of things are insignificant, think again. These attitudes go far beyond just evolution; what these people are ultimately saying is that scientists don't know what they are talking about, and this skepticism surfaces in other scientific areas, such as anthropocentric climate change. While scientists believe the debate is over on this issue, many Americans remain skeptical, enough so that they elected a man to be president who has called climate change a "Chinese hoax." Let that settle in.

This weeks traditio deals with Charles Darwin's ideas in light of modern science. Steven Pinker, who is interviewed by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, is a cognitive scientist and evolutionary psychologist. Pinker is one of my personal heroes, a very clear thinker and polymath, as well fascinating to watch. Enjoy.

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