We Need To Talk About Misconceptions

A Chemical Orthodoxy

As people grow up, they gain knowledge of their surroundings. For example, if a child goes outside on a cold day, they will no doubt feel the sensation of cold all around them. However, when they touch something metal, it will feel more cold than something which is not metal. The child could quite reasonably conclude that metal is therefore naturally, or essentially, cold.

On an evolutionary scale, it does not matter whether or not this conclusion is correct. All that would matter is whether or not the conclusion is useful in terms of survival. The mind has evolved to generate beliefs which are evolutionarily beneficial.

In a previous post, I summarised David Geary’s theory of Educational Evolutionary Psychology. The fundamental principle is that our brains have evolved to easily acquire some knowledge, like verbal language, but not to acquire other knowledge, like written language. The former is called…

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