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Denying Evolution: Creationism and the Nature of Science

  • Sep 25, 2014 · 6:00 PM
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The United States is rather unique among Western countries in having a majority of its population rejecting the scientific theory of evolution in favor of one or another kind of creationism. Even some European countries, though, Italy included, have seen an unexpected resurgence of creationist thinking about human origins in recent years. Scientist and philosopher Massimo Pigliucci will examine why so many otherwise rational people deny basic scientific notions (not just evolution, but climate change, the lack of any connection between vaccines and autism, and many others), and what role is played by different strands of anti-intellectualism and by a general lack of appreciation for the nature of science.

If you like the book featured above, you can purchase a copy here.

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  • james h

    interesting presentation in a beautiful setting.

    September 30, 2014

  • Dorothy K.

    Informative

    1 · September 25, 2014

  • joyce

    Very enjoyable and enlightening.

    1 · September 25, 2014

  • joyce

    Very enjoyable and enlightening.

    September 25, 2014

  • Key O.

    Uncertainty looms on Science's horizon. How did DNA (a precondition for Darwin's evolutionary theory to make any sense at all) come into existence to play the role it has been playing? What caused that highly sophisticated replicating function to emerge in the universe? What is consciousness? Why is there anything rather than nothing (to borrow Leibniz)? Why does life seem absurd at times? A likely hypothesis (of science) won't do. We want the answers with CERTAINTY!!!

    1 · September 23, 2014

    • Key O.

      In science uncertainty is the norm. The reasons that support a conclusion do not typically rule out the possibility of its falsity.

      1 · September 25, 2014

    • Chris E.

      We cannot know the physical world in any absolute sense. All we can do is construct abstract models that comport with the evidence well enough to explain our experiences and support reliable prediction.

      4 · September 25, 2014

  • Jack E.

    Is this a Pro God discussion? I didn't read the book but I am knowledgeable about the subjects. Is the author saying that God created the world? Or is the author saying something like Watson & Crick?: "DNA is too advanced for the theory of evolution, and the world started from an alien lifeform".

    September 24, 2014

    • Massimo

      Jack, you may want to come to the event, or read my book... But in a nutshell, no, I'm an evolutionary biologist, not a creationist, and the talk is so why people deny scientific notions like evolution.

      1 · September 24, 2014

  • Andreya

    Are we meeting as a group and if so where; or is this event simply an advertising for the event hosted by the Italian Institute, which everybody is free to attend regardless of being a member of this group, or meetup for that matter?

    1 · September 24, 2014

    • Massimo

      Andreya, this is an event open to the general public, there is no D&P specific program associated wit it.

      September 24, 2014

    • Andreya

      Thank you.

      September 24, 2014

  • Shaun J.

    Critical review of Darwin's Origin, 6th edition, takeondarwin.com/origin.htm

    September 19, 2014

    • Greg T.

      A bold statement! For a dead-end, it has already spurred a great deal of thought, research, and volumes of print. It would be safer to say oerhaps that "there is still more to life that remains to be oncovered and understood", a statement with which I bet Darwin would have agreed!

      September 19, 2014

    • Shaun J.

      John Locke's Associationism and it's modern development of behaviorism spurred a great deal of thought etc in their day, but have been relegated to the category of dead ends in science. I'm simply saying a close examination of Darwin's "Origin..." suggests it's time to do the same with natural selection. In my review I quote chapter and verse within "Origins..." to show why.

      September 20, 2014

  • Greg T.

    Not directly on point, but people following these comments may be interested in the following screening - August 28:

    http://nycskeptics.org/news/an-honest-liar-special-advance-screening-and-qa.html

    August 20, 2014

    • Greg T.

      To reply to my own post, I recommend the film I saw at the screening, called "An Honest Liar", to all members of this group. It will be released in the spring. It covers the life and work of James Randi (the Amazing Randi), who is perhaps best known for debunking Uri Geller

      September 20, 2014

  • Key O.

    Let's see if science can bring about "certainty" about where and how we come from.

    September 19, 2014

    • Greg T.

      Certainty may be too high a goal; in practice we are concerned with relative probabilities.

      September 19, 2014

  • Elaine

    Boy, is this conversation depressing!

    September 19, 2014

  • Bill

    I read an opinion poll that showed that among the general population, people who believed and disbelived in evolution had an equally inaccurate view of evolution (both camps predominantly perceived evolution to be Lamarkian (sp?)).

    What determined which side of the debate they sided with was thus not their degree of understanding, but rather which opinion leaders they followed -- their clergy, or the liberal/academic establishment.

    August 19, 2014

    • Bill

      Harry, I re-read my post, and one highly relevant fact that I didn't not mention was that the poll was about LAY people. It was not talking about professional biologists like yourself, or about famous evolution deniers either for that matter. It was about people who don't care very much either way.

      September 14, 2014

    • Harry

      It was always clear to me that the poll was about lay people, even if you didn't use exactly those words. The term "general population" is close enough, and you did make it clear that the subject was people whose understanding of the mechanism of evolution is incorrect. The interesting finding is that people who gave it a thumb's-up and the ones who gave it a thumb's-down misunderstood it in the same way! This certainly raises the question of what is/are the factor/s that led one group to accept evolution and the other to reject it. And it *might* even turn out that the most important one is who the person chooses as his authority figure. My point is simply that this is not a logically necessary consequence of the “you’re all making the same mistake” observation. If the authors of the Rotunda piece—which I hope to track down at some point—ended up with that as their conclusion, then there must have been other information in the poll that led them to it.

      September 14, 2014

  • Elizabeth

    I am so excited to attend this lecture! I am absolutely fascinated by the willingness with which so many in this country embrace such ignorance.

    1 · September 14, 2014

  • automnsai

    I went to the Italian Institute and the front door was closed.

    August 25, 2014

    • Dyutiman D.

      it's for September 25

      August 25, 2014

    • automnsai

      Ahh I see. Thanks. I'll be there then.

      1 · August 25, 2014

  • Mike E.

    Is there a charge for this event? Just wanted to make sure as some events have a nominal fee attached. Thanks for hosting this.

    August 19, 2014

    • Massimo

      Mike, no, there is no charge for this event.

      August 19, 2014

  • Greg T.

    This is a big topic. Watch out for the simplicity of "They are all idiots!" as the sole response.

    August 18, 2014

    • Greg T.

      Here is another bit of data, which might make an interesting addition to the night's topic:

      http://www.motherjone...­

      August 19, 2014

    • Greg T.

      Namely, that when presented with increased data to the effect that "Position X" is, in fact, wrong, many people will "double-down" on Position X ! A rather remarkable phenomenon.

      Rush Limbaugh et al. have succeeded, it appears, in convincing 47% of the American public that "the scientists" are all paid stooges of Obama, etc.
      Sort of reminds me of Nazi attitudes to science and culture, I'm afraid to say

      August 19, 2014

  • John R.

    Yes, Donna and I will be there.

    August 18, 2014

  • Dorothy K.

    My birthday, I shall expect a special toast.

    1 · August 18, 2014

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