Can evolutionists use celebrities to brainwash the public?
The evolutionist establishment has a problem. Even though they have created a ‘consensus’ by systematically excluding and discriminating against academics who disagree with them, the public at large still remains significantly skeptical about evolutionary theory. What to do? One recent proposed solution comes to us from a group of researchers in evolutionary psychology at Nipissing University in Ontario, Canada: use celebrity endorsements to brainwash the public into acceptance of evolution.1 They write,
“Despite the consensus among scientists that humans have evolved over time, human evolution still remains a contentious topic among much of the general public. Researchers have suggested many possible reasons that can contribute to individuals’ lack of acceptance of evolution, and yet no research has explored whether an individual’s acceptance of evolution can be susceptible to the opinions of influential others. We addressed this gap in the literature by examining whether male and female celebrities purveying an opinion about evolution can influence individuals’ acceptance of evolution.”2
Under the guise of testing the subjects’ memory and social attitudes, study participants were shown a fictious article, purported to be written by a celebrity, which endorsed a popular level book (either pro-evolution, anti-evolution, or unrelated to evolution). They were then asked a series of questions testing both their memory of the article as well as their attitude with relation to evolution. The researchers (not unexpectedly) found that male celebrity figures did exert an influence on respondents: “The present set of studies is the first to demonstrate that exposure to a celebrity’s opinion about evolution can influence individuals’ acceptance of evolution.”2
The religious ones were less easy to fool
One observation of interest from this study was that the researchers found an inverse correlation between the degree of religiousness and the degree of acceptance of evolution among participants—the more religious they were3, the less they accepted evolution:
“A main effect of religiosity was found, such that more religious participants expressed lower acceptance of evolution compared to less-religious participants…”2
This actually flies in the face of theistic evolutionists (like Dr. Wiker) who wish to counsel Christians that there is no contradiction between religion (or the Bible in particular) and evolution. If a natural reading of the Bible did not lead to a rejection of evolution, why would there be any correlation between religiosity and the denial of evolution?
The illusory truth effect
It bears mentioning that this method of using the media and celebrities to attempt to push evolution on the masses is by no means a novel concept. It could indeed be argued that we would not have the current degree of public acceptance of evolution that we already do have were it not for this. Movies like Jurassic Park and The Land Before Time, TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, and countless others push evolutionary ideas on the audience all throughout. From a subliminal perspective, though, it is perhaps the shows that have nothing directly to do with evolutionary concepts that do the most damage; offhand or side remarks that assume the truth of evolution and deep time, littered all throughout our pop culture, have the effect of subconsciously reinforcing the message in peoples’ minds.
All this repetition serves to create a sense that evolution ‘must be’ true. One study, for example, found that repeated statements were more likely to be judged as ‘true’, even when the respondents actually knew them to be false.4
Returning to our original paper under discussion—the researchers made the following observation and concluded with a suggestion:
“Public statements made by celebrities that endorse an anti-evolution opinion could therefore contribute to public nonacceptance of evolution and consequently limit the public’s ability to make informed decisions about a wide range of phenomena—many of which have personal ramifications … Given the importance of attempting to educate individuals about evolution in order to increase acceptance of evolution and scientific literacy at large, future research might consider how use of celebrity opinion (video clips of celebrity interviews espousing opinions about evolution) might be used as discussion points or learning tools in the educational process.”2 [emphasis added]
Their suggestion of using videos of celebrities endorsing evolution as part of the ‘educational process’ is nothing less than the promotion of brainwashing to bring the masses into line. If evolution were as convincing as they claim it is, they would not be having so much difficulty convincing people about it. We don’t have a similar problem getting people to accept Boyle’s Law, for example.
For evolutionists, it seems, the ends justify the means—even subconscious manipulation is acceptable if it achieves the goal of creating new converts to Darwinism. Why? Because in the words of former stand-up comedian and television celebrity Bill Nye,
“We talk about the Internet. That comes from science. Weather forecasting. That comes from science. The main idea in all of biology is evolution. To not teach it to our young people is wrong.”5
References and notes
- To bolster belief in evolution, study recommends celebrity endorsements, evolutionnews.org, 27 November 2018. Return to text.
- Arnocky, S., Bozek, E., Dufort, C., Rybka, S., and Hebert, R., Celebrity Opinion Influences Public Acceptance of Human Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, 2018. doi.org/10.1177/1474704918800656. Return to text.
- Religiosity was determined via a survey called the Duke University Religion Index (DUREL). Return to text.
- Fazio, L., Brashier, N., Payne, B., and Marsh, E., Knowledge Does Not Protect Against Illusory Truth, J. Exp. Psych.: General, 144(5):993-1002, 2015. dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000098. Return to text.
- Topics: Evolution, brainyquote.com, Accessed 4 December 2018. Return to text.
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