|In the face of recent popular expositions of "the emerging science of sex differences" by Leonard Sax and Louann Brizendine (extensively debunked by Mark Liberman at Language Log), one might imagine that a certain style of biological (these days, neurobiological) determinism is the sole province of those whose conservative social views attract them to the delusion that the contingencies of difference have their basis in some substratum of immutable, non-historical fact. But the following talk -- the invitation to which I have no idea why I receieved -- suggests otherwise [boldface mine]:|
Kilian Garvey, Ph.D, "A Neuropsychological Exploration of Creationist and Evolutionary Beliefs"
Thursday, October 26th, 2006; 6 p.m. University of New England, University Campus, 11 Hills Beach Road, Biddeford, ME 04005. St. Francis Room, Ketchum Library. Free and open to the public.
Description: More than seventy-five years after the famous Scopes trial, the battle between evolutionists and creationists continues to rage in the United States. Why is it that the theory of evolution by natural selection, arguably the strongest theory in the history of science, generates so much skepticism and suspicion? Perhaps science can go some way towards answering this question. In this presentation, I will use a number of psychological and neuroanatomical studies to explore possible reasons for this. I will suggest that there are at least two neuropsychological attributes that lead some people to form an incomplete assessment of evolutionary theory: (1) a relatively inefficient interaction between the two hemispheres of the brain due to differences in the corpus callosum, the band of nerve tissue that connects them, and (2) an overactive sympathetic ('fight or flight') nervous system that results in a false sense of danger. Along the way, we will consider a range of phenomena including right- and left-handedness, right-wing authoritarianism, the tolerance of ambiguity, the need for cognition, the need for cognitive closure, the emotions of fear and disgust as we explore the cognitive styles and motivational needs of creationists.