Science Wednesday – May 29, 2019
It’s Science Wednesday!
Why does humanity have such a hard time accepting new facts and evidence? A lot of it stems from what’s called “core beliefs.” These are beliefs that people cherish the most deeply. They usually develop in childhood and are compounded by life experiences. Core beliefs are inflexible, rigid and incredibly sensitive to being challenged.
The brain (the amygdala in particular) loves consistency. It builds a worldview like we build a house – with a foundation, frame, windows, and doors, it knows exactly how everything fits together. If a new piece is introduced and it doesn’t fit, the whole house is at risk of falling apart. The brain protects you by rejecting the piece, building a wall, and refusing to let in any other “visitors” (facts). But, even the best houses aren’t meant to last forever.
It’s important to recognize that the brain can’t easily separate the emotional cortex from the logical one. We are human, after all. So, when it comes to scientific facts on the roundness of Earth, gravity, evolution and climate change – “inconvenient truths” that have a scientific consensus – how do we deal? The emotional part of the brain will fight. Let it. But then try listening. Try changing. How? By using one of the best assets we have as human beings: our capacity to think rationally. Your life will be better for it. Our world will be better for it.
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