Of the Creation Persuasion
The Earth is flat. A full moon leads to more crime. Humans were created less than 10,000 years ago. If you made your way through even the most general of science educations, the above statements should strike you as suspect. Having a Copernican worldview challenged by such a statement, for example, may encourage you to take a quick look around various sources of information to stabilize your psyche. When contradicting information shakes our foundations, how do we respond?
A few weeks ago I wrote a critique of an evaluation of a video by science educator Bill Nye that sparked a debate about how to best communicate a scientific position to a resistant public. If nearly half of Americans hold a creationist worldview, is Bill Nye’s video against teaching creationism to children an effective way to voice the scientific position to a wide audience? (Nye’s video was at 4.5 million views at the time of this writing.) I feel an informed approach is lacking in discussions like these. Communication research is replete with the science of persuasion. Here I want to deal with perhaps the most interesting case: persuading an ideologically entrenched audience that a worldview is incorrect.