Reject the Narrative: ‘Creationism and Conspiracy Theories are Cognitive Errors’
- “As absurd and patently false as it may be, the notorious ‘right-wing are unhinged’ conspiracy theory has gained traction among a passionate portion of the United States in the past two years. This should hardly be surprising given that the country elected Donald Trump, known widely for his declarations to ‘make America great again’ and his promises to ‘drain the swamp.’”
- But conspiracy theories are nothing new to the Left.”
The above is a paragraph from an article on Alternet.org, which I re-wrote for them. You’re welcome.
The headline by Alternet for this article is:
- ‘Scientists Identify a Key Cognitive Error that Could Explain Why People Believe in Creationism and Conspiracy Theories.’ Subtitle: They hope that understanding these thought processes will empower us to avoid such errors in our thinking. By Cody Fenwick.
The unhinged left are now at work to prove Christianity (Creationism) is a conspiracy theory, by producing experiments that prove their hypothesis that those who believe in Creationism, are the same one who believe in conspiracies. Thus, according to them, Creationism is a conspiracy theory!!
I believe this is setting a dangerous precedent, in the mindsets of those who are already progressively angry and hateful toward Christians, as well as anyone who thinks differently than themselves.
Because only their way of thinking is the real way, any other belief system is a ‘cognitive error’ and anyone who has this ‘error’ must be ‘empowered’ to avoid thinking differently! (um, empowered? Or coerced? Or worse? Oh, wait, that’s a conspiracy theory!)
This is willful concept blindness.
Scientist Sebastian Dieguez had been hard at work at this, and his experiment proves, scientifically, that the bias of the researcher influenced the outcome of this research.
- Bias in research is real, and a researcher’s cognitive bias definitely influences the interpretation of experiments. Confirmation bias can lead to the experimenter interpreting results incorrectly because of the tendency to look for information that conforms to their hypothesis, and overlook information that argues against it.
Confirmation bias: the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.
Here’s the ‘cognitive error’ of wrong-thinkers according to Cody:
And according to new research, people may be susceptible to conspiracy theories — and other false ideologies like creationism — because of a rather simple cognitive error (Cody Fenwick’s interpretation of ‘cognitive bias’).
“We find a previously unnoticed common thread between believing in creationism and believing in conspiracy theories,” says Sebastian Dieguez, a neuroscientist at the University of Fribourg, who described research newly published in the journal Cell Biology. “Although very different at first glance, both these belief systems are associated with a single and powerful cognitive bias named teleological thinking, which entails the perception of final causes and overriding purpose in naturally occurring events and entities.”
- Teleological thinking involves ascribing intentions and purposes to features of the world that may not have any consciousness or desires at all. One example Dieguez gave is the thought that the sun rises to provide us light — when in reality the sun appears to rise in the sky because of the Earth’s rotation in the solar system.
These patterns of thought are “part of children’s earliest intuitions about the world,” the authors, led by Pascal Wagner-Egger, note in the paper.
“This type of thinking is anathema to scientific reasoning, and especially to evolutionary theory, and was famously mocked by Voltaire, whose character Pangloss believed that ‘noses were made to wear spectacles.'” said Dieguez. “Yet it is very resilient in human cognition, and we show that it is linked not only to creationism, but also to conspiracism.”
One way to detect teleological thinking in individuals if to find that they subscribe to views such as, “Nothing happens by accident” or “Everything happens for a reason.” The researchers found that these types of views correspond closely with a propensity to believe conspiracy theories.
But this kind of thinking also bears a striking resemblance to creationism — the view that Darwinian evolution by natural selection didn’t occur and that life on Earth was specifically designed (by God, it is usually assumed) with the diversity of species that we see today.
It’s worth noting that this view itself may carry with it the corresponding belief that evolutionary views are themselves the result of a conspiracy to deceive the public about the origins of life.
In a series of surveys, Dieguez and other researchers found that teleological thinking, conspiracy theories, and creationism were correlated — albeit sometimes only “modestly” — with one another.
“By drawing attention to the analogy between creationism and conspiracism, we hope to highlight one of the major flaws of conspiracy theories and therefore help people detect it, namely that they rely on teleological reasoning by ascribing a final cause and overriding purpose to world events,” Dieguez says. “We think the message that conspiracism is a type of creationism that deals with the social world can help clarify some of the most baffling features of our so-called ‘post-truth era.’”
Understanding how these beliefs propagate and why they are so compelling to people — even when, as in the case of Q Anon, they are so obviously nonsense — is critically important to find a way to prevent their spread. The researchers hope their work can help educators and communicators better refute and undermine false theories and beliefs.
Noting similarities between creationism (the belief that life on Earth was purposefully created by a supernatural agent) and conspiracism, we sought to investigate whether teleological thinking could underlie and associate both types of beliefs. First, we sought to establish whether teleological thinking, classically associated with creationism, was also related to conspiracist beliefs. College students filled a questionnaire including teleological claims and conspiracist statements, as well as measures of analytical thinking, esoteric and magical beliefs, and a randomness perception task. Promiscuous teleology — the tendency to ascribe function and a final cause to nonintentional natural facts and events — was significantly, albeit little to moderately, correlated with conspiracist beliefs scales.
For their first experiment, the scientists used 157 Swiss students at a university, average age of 20 years.
As everyone is aware, there has been a proliferation of information on the internet in every area that could possibly be of interest to people of all ages. Let’s look at the questions regarding conspiracies that they asked of young Swiss students (this age group is known as Generation Z) and why what the researchers call ‘conspiracy theories’ might look a little different to a younger generation, who spend a lot of time on the internet. The actual ‘conspiracy theory’ scenario questions are not listed in the supporting documents, but we can guess:
- That the 9/11 terrorist attacks, date September 21, 2001, were done by the American government or its agents. Note that the study group of European university students were about 3 years old when the twin towers in New York were hit.
- That Diana, princess of Wales, who died in 1997, was ordered killed by her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth. The young people in the study group were not even born yet.
- The assassination of the U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, in 1963, was arranged and carried out by the American government. Most of the parents of these European students were not born yet.
- That the Apollo moon landing, sent up by NASA (America) in July, 1969, was a hoax, and filmed on Earth. Again, these young Europeans were not born yet.
None of these events, three in America, and one in France, would have any emotional meaning to these young Europeans, other than what they read online. They have no reference point for these events.
For the Magical Thinking scenarios, in particular “I think I could learn to read people’s thoughts if I wanted,” the scientists completely ignore all the recent studies on the advancements being made (in the scientific field no less!) on reading people’s minds through brainwaves, and predicting emotions and thoughts by measuring brainwaves, among several studies. These studies are readily available online, and have been reported on extensively, so a young person’s belief that mind-reading might be possible is not in the realm of ‘Magical Thinking.’
Also, this generation he studied grew up on the books and movies of Harry Potter, and other fantasy books and movies. To many of the younger generation in Europe, perhaps their belief system has been formed by their culture.
So, because their first group was based on the scientist’s own ‘Magical Thinking,’ the remainder of the experiment cannot support the hypothesis.
- The second group consisted of 1252 FRENCH people, with a survey. The third group, 733, consisted of people responding to an online questionnaire.
- 2,142 people, out of almost 7 and a half BILLION people in the world, ‘proved’ to this ‘scientist’ Sebastian Dieguez and as a result Cody Fenwick and other unhinged Leftists, that Creationism and Conspiracism are cognitive errors, that must be rooted out of our minds.
What a load of crap. Or, to use the title of one of Sebastian’s books, this narrative is ‘Total Bullshit’.
This is being picked up by several ‘news’ outlets, with glee. They believe (magical thinking!) that they have found a way to wound those who have different beliefs, including Christians: