My mother sent me a link to begin a discussion on science education, and why it is so poor. I offered my theory on why it is so hard to teach people science. Here it is, lightly edited.
One of the ideas I have started examining is the well-documented Fast and Slow thinking researched by Daniel Kahneman. (I’ve written about this several times on my blog. He has written about the paucity of real science in psychological research.).
We use rules of thumb and other fast heuristics much of the time. These also use very little energy (actual calories). We evolved to use this as a major way of dealing with the world.
We can use much slower forms of thinking to careful evaluate something but this comes at a cost (time and actual calories).
Most adults spend most of their time thinking Fast. That is why denialism is so hard to change and why Cargo Cult World are created. It is very hard for most people to simply drop what they ‘know’ is right. How would they deal with a world where fast thinking did not work? Easier to keep believing the incorrect results of fast thinking than to tear down an entire world view.