Cognitive apartheid

Amanda Glaze

But, again, if you tell people their religious beliefs are obscured, you’re going to have a fight on your hands. What bothers me is the lack of understanding about what science actually does.

Science doesn’t consider God as a possible answer to any question whatsoever because God is a metaphysical construct and thus not part of the physical world. And science by definition cannot consider anything metaphysical or supernatural as an explanation.

Science is not out there trying to disprove the existence of God — we can’t even consider that.

I really don’t care what people believe as long as they understand the science.

Sean Illing

Let me push back on that for a minute.

You say that there’s a perceived conflict between being religious and scientific but that this is a false dichotomy. I think one can certainly be a religious person and a scientist, but can one be both at the same time?

Religions invariably make claims about the world that contradict what science says is true, and so to be engaged in science you have to sort of remove your religious hat, no?

Amanda Glaze

I think that’s right. I love the term cognitive apartheid. Look at people like Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, who is a Christian and says openly that he wishes that science would not contradict what the Bible says, but it does and he recognizes that, and he still chooses to be a believer.

Sean Illing

Neil deGrasse Tyson likes to say that the great thing about science is that it’s true whether you believe it or not. The trouble with this kind of scientific illiteracy is that it genuinely harms these students, who cannot succeed in a society based on science and technology if they don’t understand it.

Amanda Glaze

It’s crucial. And that’s why I tell people this is not a fight for evolution per se. I mean, evolution is a mechanism by which I work with people because if we can hit the most controversial points in the places where they are the most controversial, we can get to that level of conceptual change.

Then imagine what we can do in the places where it’s not as resistant, where it’s not as vocal, where it’s not as taboo. This is a war for science literacy.

Teaching evolution in the South: an educator on the “war for science literacy”


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