What is the connection between children's thinking and science, or rather, resistance to its conclusions? Alexander Markov talks about it
In fact, depth psychologists have known for a long time that questions of "knowledge" as a rational category do play a minor role in any area of our lives. In psychology, there is even a special term that characterizes the internal irrational rejection of something useful to a person - resistance. In particular, the resistance to science is clearly connected not so much with the lack of banal enlightenment and literacy, as with the fact that a person does not want to acquire this knowledge. It is more convenient and comfortable for him to believe in God, the soul, the immaterial world, etc., because it is much easier and safer from a psychological point of view (“if there is no God, who will protect me and my loved ones”, “who will punish the person who offended me”, “Why do I live”, “who does I hope for”, and “if I die, I will not go to any paradise, and I simply will not exist”, “I will not be rewarded for my suffering”, “if there is no God, then there are no moral standards, so I will do whatever I want”, etc. - many people, alas, are simply unable to answer these questions from the point of view of the harsh reality).
Not so long ago, similar conclusions were confirmed experimentally. He talks about this in his book “The Birth of Complexity. Evolutionary biology today: unexpected discoveries and new questions "famous biologist and popularizer of science Alexander Markov:" According to American researchers, one of the important reasons for the massive rejection of scientific knowledge and the spread of superstitions in society is the inconsistency of many conclusions of modern science with the innate properties and inclinations of the human psyche and established stereotypes of public consciousness. As a result, a phenomenon called "resistance to science" develops.
But in recent years, more than one study has been conducted on this topic. They showed that some aspects of "resistance to science", apparently, are inherent in all peoples and cultures, and their reason lies in the peculiarities of the child's psyche.
In fact - and depth psychologists also know this - any baby is not born into this world at all, completely devoid of any knowledge about this world. He knows perfectly well, for example, that objects have density, stability in time (he generally has a concept of time, albeit a little of his own), they understand that the actions and actions of people have some purpose, that people's emotions are their reaction to this or that event, etc.
Without this “knowledge,” children would not be able to learn, but they also prevent children (and then many adults who have not lost their children's thinking) to perceive “boring” and “incomprehensible” scientific arguments. So, the children's idea that all objects fall without support, up to a certain age (8-9 years), prevents children from fully accepting the fact that the Earth is round.
Mass "disbelief" in evolution, both in children and in adults who have retained certain features of immature thinking, is due to the fact that the child is inclined to see in the surrounding reality some kind of "meaning", someone's purposeful activity (and the very psyche of the child is extremely egocentric - he considers himself to be the cause of many things, he considers himself the center of the world; this does not mean that he talks about it - children act unconsciously and do not understand the reasons for their actions - he thinks that if “dad / mom drinks, then this I am to blame for this”, that“mom was created only for him, and she will do everything for him,”he does not think that another person (mom) can get tired, get sick, be in a bad mood.All this is associated with the normal, natural egoism and egocentrism of a small child, which must be eliminated without fail, but this must be done gradually, without undue harshness, making allowances for the age characteristics of young children. In addition, children also have an innate, biological tendency towards total superiority: "I am the best", partly this is caused by compensation for children's helplessness, "smallness", etc. Therefore, many adults find it so difficult to accept the fact that we are all not God's creation, but descended from monkeys, and if we speak strictly scientifically - oh, horror - and we are monkeys - NS).
“For example, a special study showed the firm conviction of four-year-old children that everything in the world exists“for something”(lions - to look at them in the zoo, clouds - to rain), - writes Markov. "Special studies have also confirmed the tendency of children to a creationist explanation of the origin of objects in the surrounding world (everything around was done by someone for a specific purpose)." The same features can be seen in adults: "A person's life has some meaning", "My sufferings are sent to me by God", "God sends us exactly as much as we can withstand", "Fate cannot be fooled," or another event is predetermined "," If the stars are lit, then someone needs it "(many events in life, indeed, seem to be" predestined "; few people know that this is not at all connected with a villainous fate or" divine punishment ", but with certain "life scenarios", with unconscious childhood traumas that unconsciously "force" us to get into the same or generally similar situations - NS).
Another property of children's thinking is dualism. This is the idea that there is a fundamental difference between the material and the spiritual (body and soul, brain and consciousness). All these qualities remain in many adults, giving rise to bizarre social discussions: is it possible to conduct experiments on animals, or human embryos and stem cells, because they can have a "soul." Lawyers are seriously raising the topic of whether it is possible to blame criminals for their crimes, because they are all determined and depend on the work of the brain. It turns out that the person is not to blame, it was “his brain made him do this” …
Something also depends on cultural traditions, for example, in the United States there is a much greater rejection of the theory of evolution than in other countries. By the way, in Russia with the "resistance of science" the situation is not worse than in other countries, and sometimes even better.
Children, like most adults, also tend to be almost uncritical about something said by an authoritative source and a person who says something directively, confidently. “Mumli-scientists with their eternal doubts and phrases like“of course, so far this is just an assumption…”- do not cause any confidence in children (read many adults - NS),” writes Alexander Markov.
When scientific ideas do not find support in society (and this is understandable, because this very society has already been formed by the same people who brought their childhood perception into adulthood, and who also did not have support from society in terms of accepting scientific ideas), the tendency to infantile thinking in adults is only reinforced. “In such a society, it (resistance to science - NS) becomes especially strong if there is an unscientific alternative to these ideas (scientific ideas - NS) that does not contradict“elementary common sense”and relies on solid, respected and very confident“sources”. In the United States, this is the case with evolutionary biology and neurobiology: the conclusions of these sciences contradict both children's intuition and the statements of many respectable politicians and religious leaders. What can we say about the situation in Russia. The only consolation is that creationists, Fomenkovites and other astrologers, of course, are not to blame for anything. It's just that "the brain makes them think so."
You can learn more about childish and immature thinking and its properties by reading the article "Why do people need God?" and "Living 'Unconscious'".