Beliefs trump facts

Salman Hameed in The Guardian:

Millions of individuals in the UK believe in UFOs and ghosts. Yet we know that there is no credible evidence for any visitation from outer space or for some dead souls hanging out in abandoned houses. On the other hand, there is now overwhelming evidence that humans and other species on the planet have evolved over the past 4.5bn years. And yet 17% of the British population and 40% of Americans reject evolution. It seems that for many there is no connection between belief and evidence.
Some – maybe most – of the blame can be attributed to an education system that does not train people to think critically. Similarly, most people do not understand methodologies of science and the way theories get accepted. For some, scientific evidence has no role in the way they envision the world.

via 3quarksdaily

This, I think, is both understandable and at the same time mighty depressing. And I do think schools should take some of the blame. There is far too much “here’s a lovely theory for you to learn” and not enough “here’s how some people see it – what do you think? why? how can you back that up?”. Food for thought for next year.