Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
PLoS One. 2011 Mar 30;6(3):e17349. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017349.

Death and science: the existential underpinnings of belief in intelligent design and discomfort with evolution.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. jltracy@psych.ubc.ca

Abstract

The present research examined the psychological motives underlying widespread support for intelligent design theory (IDT), a purportedly scientific theory that lacks any scientific evidence; and antagonism toward evolutionary theory (ET), a theory supported by a large body of scientific evidence. We tested whether these attitudes are influenced by IDT's provision of an explanation of life's origins that better addresses existential concerns than ET. In four studies, existential threat (induced via reminders of participants' own mortality) increased acceptance of IDT and/or rejection of ET, regardless of participants' religion, religiosity, educational background, or preexisting attitude toward evolution. Effects were reversed by teaching participants that naturalism can be a source of existential meaning (Study 4), and among natural-science students for whom ET may already provide existential meaning (Study 5). These reversals suggest that the effect of heightened mortality awareness on attitudes toward ET and IDT is due to a desire to find greater meaning and purpose in science when existential threats are activated.

PMID:
21479169
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3068159
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (5)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk