Friday, May 25, 2007

Creation Science Museum in NY Times

There is an interesting review in the NY Times of Ken Hamm's Creation Museum. It has lots of pictures and evaluates the museum mainly from the perspective of a museum visitor rather than evaluating the science.

From the article:

"For the skeptic the wonder is at a strange universe shaped by elaborate
arguments, strong convictions and intermittent invocations of scientific
principle. For the believer, it seems, this museum provides a kind of relief:
Finally the world is being shown as it really is, without the distortions of
secularism and natural selection."

Sounds like fun. But overlay that with this study from Science which looks at the origin of resistance to science. The author's note that resistance to science comes when science conflicts with "common sense" and ideologies passed down by trusted sources. In this an article from Edge, the authors Paul Bloom and Deena Weisberg elaborate on their Science study. They note:

"...the developmental data suggest that resistance to science will arise in
children when scientific claims clash with early emerging, intuitive
expectations. This resistance will persist through adulthood if the scientific
claims are contested within a society, and will be especially strong if there is
a non-scientific alternative that is rooted in common sense and championed by
people who are taken as reliable and trustworthy... in the United States, these
intuitive beliefs are particularly likely to be endorsed and transmitted by
trusted religious and political authorities. Hence these are among the domains
where Americans' resistance to science is the strongest."

Trust then has an important role in social learning. Thus, Bloom and Weisberg recommend that the best way for scientists to overcome resistance to science education is to work to convince the public that science in general is trust worthy. From my role as a teacher this suggests the need to give students at all levels the chance to do some sort of science and see for themselves the power of science to help us understand the universe.

Other Links:

Creation Museum Website
Why Do People Resist Science?

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