When and why people think beliefs are “debunked” by scientific explanations of their origins.

Citation:

Plunkett, D., Buchak, L., & Lombrozo, T. (2020). When and why people think beliefs are “debunked” by scientific explanations of their origins. Mind and Language , 35 (1), 3-28.
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Abstract:

How do scientific explanations for beliefs affect people's confidence that those beliefs are true? For example, do people think neuroscience-based explanations for belief in God support or challenge God's existence? In five experiments, we find that people tend to think explanations for beliefs corroborate those beliefs if the explanations invoke normally-functioning mechanisms, but not if they invoke abnormal functioning (where “normality” is a matter of proper functioning). This emerges across a variety of kinds of scientific explanations and beliefs (religious, moral, and scientific). We also find evidence that these effects can interact with people's prior beliefs to produce motivated judgments.
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Last updated on 02/07/2020