Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong

Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong

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Humans are born to create theories about the world-unfortunately, they're usually wrong, and keep us from understanding the world as it really is.

Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? And if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop one from your hand, which bullet hits the ground first? In a pinch we almost always get these questions wrong. Worse, we regularly misconstrue fundamental qualities of the world around us.

In Scienceblind, cognitive and developmental psychologist Andrew Shtulman shows that the root of our misconceptions lies in the theories about the world we develop as children. They're not only wrong, they close our minds to ideas inconsistent with them, making us unable to learn science later in life.

So how do we get the world right? We must dismantle our intuitive theories and rebuild our knowledge from its foundations. The reward won't just be a truer picture of the world, but clearer solutions to many controversies-around vaccines, climate change, or evolution-that plague our politics today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541411388
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 08/08/2017
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Andrew Shtulman is an associate professor of psychology and cognitive science at Occidental, where he directs the Thinking Lab. His work has been featured in Scientific American, CBS News, and the New Yorker. He lives in Pasadena, California.

Table of Contents

1 Why We Get the World Wrong 1

Part 1 Intuitive Theories of the Physical World

2 Matter: What Is the World Made Of? How Do Those Components Interact? 19

3 Energy: What Makes Something Hot? What Makes Something Loud? 39

4 Gravity: What Makes Something Heavy? What Makes Something Fall? 57

5 Motion: What Makes Objects Move? What Paths Do Moving Objects Take? 73

6 Cosmos: What Is the Shape of Our World? What Is Its Place in the Cosmos? 91

7 Earth: Why Do Continents Drift? Why Do Climates Change? 109

Part 2 Intuitive Theories of the Biological World

8 Life: What Makes Us Alive? What Causes Us to Die? 131

9 Growth: Why Do We Grow Bigger? Why Do We Grow Older? 149

10 Inheritance: Why Do We Resemble Our Parents? Where Did We Get Our Traits? 167

11 Illness: What Makes Us III? How Does Illness Spread? 185

12 Adaptation: Why Are There So Many Life-Forms? How Do They Change Over Time? 203

13 Ancestry: Where Did Species Come From? How Are They Related? 221

14 How to Get the World Right 241

Acknowledgments 257

Notes 261

References 273

Index 299

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