Stuck with the teleological

The Berkeley Science Review reports on A Reason for Everything
Instinctively making sense of the world
by Hania Koever.

UC Berkeley psychologist Tania Lombrozo is interested in why people find certain kinds of explanations more or less compelling than others. Her research suggests that some theories, like evolution, may be difficult to accept because they are at odds with a human default for understanding the world in terms of design.

This gets into ideas similar to Piaget’s ideas about cognitive development. The idea of using a functional explanation as a model to help understand why things are as they are is just one dimension in the many ways people understand things.

findings from other studies that show more frequent use of teleological explanations in less educated adults and in educated adults making speeded judgments. … Interestingly, even among those who do accept evolution, many misunderstand it, reinterpreting it as a goal-directed process that occurs at the level of individuals rather than populations

This sort of effort to trying to understand how people understand is fraught with dangers in political correctness. Just ask the author of _The Bell Curve_ how that can inhibit research and efforts to learn and understand. But that phenomena has a name, too: cognitive dissonance.

In this case, the point made is that many modern science constructs require an effort to understand. That effort is an educational process. Where that effort is missing or set aside the many benefits of those constructs also get set aside.

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