Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Science is a simply dogmatic form of superstition

Darwin never warned against crossing black cats, walking under ladders or stepping on cracks in the pavement, but his theory of natural selection explains why people believe in such nonsense.

The tendency to falsely link cause to effect – a superstition – is occasionally beneficial, says Kevin Foster, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University...

"My guess would be that in modern life, the general tendency to believe in things where we don't have scientific evidence is less beneficial than it used to be," he [Foster] adds.

Wolfgang Forstmeier, an evolutionary biologist at the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology in Starnberg, Germany, argues that by linking cause and effect – often falsely – science is a simply dogmatic form of superstition.

"You have to find the trade off between being superstitious and being ignorant," he says. By ignoring building evidence that contradicts their long-held ideas, "quite a lot of scientists tend to be ignorant quite often," he says.


Right on, Wolfgang.

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