Those unscientific creationists

Dan Kahan describes the protagonist in a 2012 paper on ‘cognitive apartheid’ that I highlighted yesterday (emphasis added):

Krista is a high school senior who lives in a Southern U.S. state. As one might guess, the vast majority of her classmates identify themselves as religious and regularly attend church.

She excels in the study of science. She is one of a handful of students in her school who is enrolled in an Advanced Placement biology course. She also volunteers as a “peer tutor” for students in a basic science course that covers the origin of the universe and the natural history of living organisms on earth.

Her goal is to become a veterinarian.

But she “rejects” evolution as contrary to her faith: God made “man” in “his own image”; to believe “that apes and humans have a common ancestor,” she states, “would be wrong.”

Krista was one of the subjects interviewed in the “qualitative” part of a study conducted by Ronald Hermann (2012), a researcher interested in the attitudes of students who learn evolutionary science but don’t “believe in” or “accept it.”

Hermann selected Krista for the interview, in fact, because she obtained a near-perfect score on an evolutionary-science test.


  1. Did Dan Kahan really regard Krista as the unfortunate result of insufficient indoctrination in liberal science? She seems to me to be a highly evolved human being who is capable of dealing with a large amount of conflicting ideas and use them productively. If she studied political science she would probably see what would be useful to her between the views of the Democrats and Republicans.

    New subject – Have you considered a discussion of the question “Should evolutionists teach anthropology”?

    1. I don’t think you read Kahan correctly. Or perhaps I didn’t quote him fully enough. I think he would agree with you–Krista is perfectly capable of using science in her life. And to a certain degree, the culture of science prevents more people like Krista from engaging.

      Have not considered a discussion about evolutionists and anthropology. What do you have in mind?

      1. I think evolution has real problems when it comes to the human condition. Thus it is unable to explain such things as your mother teaching you to prepare Indian food except as it might relate to you passing on your genes. The fact, and this is a far more powerful and influential fact, is that she loves you and wishes you to enjoy the foods she does. The truth of the matter is that at all levels, cultural, philosophical, historical, and psychological, people are driven by motivations far stronger than the abstract principles of evolution. Thus an evolutionist with no higher understanding teaching a course in the humanities would be of necessity reductionist in what he or she communicates. This would be my suggested thesis for a discussion.

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