Here’s an interesting essay on why people don’t accept evolution: it’s not simply a consequence of a conflict between religious teachings and the conclusion of science, but is also a conflict created by the nonintuitive way that evolution works — that a very small selective force operating over long periods of time can generate dramatic outcomes, often with no obvious, linear progression from one point to another. It’s well-said, but not an entirely new idea (thermodynamics and information theory seem to often throw people for a loop, and creationists seem utterly baffled by genetic algorithms)— we’ve often commented on how the concepts may be difficult to grasp, but once the ideas of thinking in terms of populations without individual change sink in, it does become obvious. It’s also one of those fields where, although some find it hard to believe, a solid understanding of basic math and statistics are indispensable.
The essay also feeds into an argument that some of us have made: education and learning all help correct the problem, it’s not just a matter of trying to accommodate people to a different worldview. Being able to turn on that little light-bulb of understanding is key to getting people to accept good science.