Publications

 

"Suspicion toward science and the role of automatic intuitions about origins" (peer-reviewed ARTICLE)

In Rutten, Kris, Blancke, Stefaan & Soetaert, Ronald (eds.), Perspectives on Science and Culture (2018). West Lafayette: Purdue University Press. 

The article discusses how spontaneous intuitions and everyday reasoning about purposefully made natural phenomena can affect people’s understanding and receptivity to scientific concepts, such as ‘evolution’ and ‘anthropogenic climate change’, that involve abandoning many of the automatic hunches that people possess about the origins and functioning of the natural world. I also discuss how these intuitions may have an effect on people’s trust on the scientists who form and present the scientific information to the public, and how scientists could tackle the challenge of communicating about science to the public in an accurate and welcoming way


"The divided mind of a disbeliever: Intuitive beliefs about nature as purposefully created among different groups of non-religious adults" (peer-reviewed ARTICLE)

With Caitlin F. Canfield and Deborah Kelemen in Cognition (2015), 140, 72-88.

The article reports experimental studies in which we found that non-religious adults both in the US and Finland increasingly assessed natural entities, such as giraffe, maple, rock and river, as purposefully made by some being when they had to rely on their spontaneous impressions of the entities. We also found that, among these non-religious individuals, it was not the belief in God that consistently strengthened this kind of reasoning tendency but the beliefs in agentive nature and Earth (Gaia-beliefs). These findings lend empirical support to the notions that the tendency to think that some being(s) has purposefully made things in nature is a feature of automatically forming everyday reasoning. The findings also suggest that this tendency is related and strengthens, not solely in relation to a monotheistic or Abrahamic God-belief but, in relation to a wider scope of conceptions of supernatural or superhuman beings, which are believed to be able to mysteriously originate natural phenomena. In the future, this can partly help to explain why people so often misunderstand the physical-causal nature of natural processes and instead explain the phenomena in relation to intentions and purposeful design.


"Created by some being: Theoretical and empirical exploration of adults' automatic and reflective beliefs about the origin of natural phenomena" (MONOGRAPH)

Doctoral thesis (2013; Department of World Cultures in the University of Helsinki) in which I developed an experimental method for the study of automatic inferences about the origins of nature.