If you ask a three-year-old child, “Why is it raining?” TA may say “because the flowers are thirsty.” TA may also tell you that the reason why trees have leaves is to provide shade shelter for people and animals. This kind of thinking belongs to the teleology . Teleology believes that the generation and existence of things have their purpose.
Scientists refuse to make a teleological explanation of natural phenomena because they need to cater to some kind of intention. But branches and dark clouds do not grow leaves and become rainwater in order to produce some kind of result. Rain falls because of physics. These physical principles apply regardless of whether there are these flowers and trees on the planet or whether there are other life.
If we look further at Skopos theory, we can see that President Trump called global warming the invention of the Chinese, with the aim of making the US manufacturing industry unproductive. There is growing evidence that the indulgence of conspiracy theories can lead to rejection of scientific discoveries, examples of which range from climate change to vaccination to AIDS . Now, the researchers have also discovered a strong connection between conspiracy theories and the beliefs of creationism , and the connection between them is teleology.
Skopostheorie and conspiracy theories have many common features in mind. The core of the two ways of thinking are to give a purpose to impose things : flowers exude a pleasant fragrance to attract pollinating insects; climate scientists in the “world government” or Somebody else’s behest, concocted a name A scam for climate change.
It is precisely because of this emphasis on purpose that the teleological thinking and conspiracy thesis have a very strong appeal. In general, it is reasonable to give intent to many behaviors in everyday life. For example, if someone asks your daughter why he is driving a TV, answering “because her favorite show is about to air” is a very accurate and appropriate answer. But if you impose such a hypothetical purpose on the trees on the ground, the clouds in the sky, and other natural phenomena, it will lead to a wrong understanding.
There is a lot of evidence that many people are trapped in teleological thinking and it is difficult to leave it behind. A study shows that even scientists, when under time pressure, fall into teleological thinking, accepting ideas that would be rejected if time is sufficient, such as being more likely to support such as “bacterial variation is to become “Resistance” (although they are still far less likely to do so than others). Another study found that when students are placed in an uncontrolled situation, they are easily resorted to perceptual conspiracy and developing superstition.
The study, published by the University of Fribourg in the journal Current Biology, provides evidence that there is a link between teleological thinking, conspiracy theories, and rejection of scientific facts. Compared to any other established scientific discovery, evolution has always faced the challenge of misunderstandings caused by teleological thinking. In fact, there is a lot of evidence that the argument of Skopostheorie is so common that it would undermine the ability of people to learn the concept of natural selection in the first place.
It is easy to think that a giraffe has evolved a long neck in order to be able to eat the leaves of the tree. This teleological insight is in fact in conflict with the natural choice of not setting such a goal . What evolution says is that there are natural variations in the population, and those with long necks have higher reproductive success rates in environments with tall trees. So the giraffe evolved and the long neck became the standard.
Researchers in Fribourg conducted three studies involving more than 2,000 people. Responding to previous research, these findings suggest that teleological thinking is associated with rejection of evolution and acceptance of its pseudoscience creationism . And the researchers also showed a close connection between creationism and conspiracy theories .
People who believe in creationism also tend to believe in conspiracy theories, regardless of their religious beliefs or political beliefs. Conspiracy theories are also related to teleological thinking. This confirms that the search for purpose in random events (such as clouds, rain, giraffe’s neck, etc.) reflects a common basic way of thinking.
Prior to this, there were also studies that linked conspiracy theories to scientific negation. The new findings are in good agreement with those of past studies. In accordance with established practice, people use conspiracy theories to reject scientific explanations in order to avoid accepting the truths that they do not want to face .
A person who is addicted to smoking may find it more likely to blame a medical institution as an oligopolistic alliance than to quit smoking when faced with terrible information about his smoking habits. Similarly, those who feel threatened by climate change theory (for example, because climate change may increase gasoline prices) may be more willing to believe that this is a well-crafted scam rather than a 150-year study of basic physics.
The new research has further studied the role of conspiracy theories in creationism. This shows that creationism itself can be seen as a system of beliefs that encompasses the ultimate conspiracy theories, because it believes that everything is purposeful creation.