Creation scientists (and science writers) normally spend most of their time engaging with the ‘hard science’ of the day—or at least whatever is passing as such at the moment. In my opinion, however, it has never been the hard science that has packed the biggest punch in the everyday life of the average person. Instead, it is the popular retelling which filters down to us from every direction: television, books, movies, video games, and so forth. None of these references need be particularly accurate; the important thing is, they instill in the minds of average people that evolution is a given. It’s beyond question since it gets repeated so often. In other words, it acts as a form of subtle brainwashing.
What makes this ‘pop culture evolution’ so particularly damaging to society is that it is essentially immune to correction, since few people bother criticizing media on their science, when they are not scientific media. Even if they did complain, the damage has already been done. The movie has been made and cannot be changed. I’d wager nobody walked out of the theater in disgust when watching Jurassic World just because a scientist drops the line, “…the [dinosaur] soft tissue is preserved because the iron in the dinosaur’s blood generates free radicals, and those are highly reactive. So, the proteins and the cell membranes get all mixed up, and and uh… act as a natural preservative. DNA can survive for a millennia that way.”
This is of course a discredited theory (iron has certainly not been demonstrated to be capable of preserving soft tissue for “millennia”), but no matter. In the movie, it is stated as a plain fact by a scientist. Sure, it’s ‘just fiction’, but the impression left on the audience is the same regardless. It inoculates them against one of the most powerful evidences against evolution and millions of years!
Evolutionary psychology is another very serious offender in this regard. Despite the embarrassing and tragic history of lobotomies being done on people under the false premise of an ancient ‘lizard brain’ sandwiched inside our more highly evolved human brains, the idea of the “old brain” keeps getting repeated even in more recently-produced textbooks. One textbook produced in 2010 reads,
“The innermost structures of the brain — the parts nearest the spinal cord — are the oldest part of the brain, and these areas carry out the same functions they did for our distant ancestors.”
Is the above quote ‘science’? No, it’s simply an assumption being made based on an evolutionary worldview. But since students read it in a psychology textbook, they will take it for granted. Some of those students may not even be science majors! They will take this evolutionary thinking with them into whatever field they eventually wind up in. And the cycle of misinformation will continue. Maybe some of them will wind up becoming self-help tutors in the world of business, and will continue repeating this ‘old brain’ canard in their lectures…
Indeed, while lobotomies are no longer being performed, the evolutionary idea that we have a reptile brain with added parts is not going away any time soon. It cannot, in fact, since all mammals have brains, and nobody is arguing that the brain has evolved multiple times independently (convergently). At least as recently as 2015, articles were still being written comparing reptile brains to human brains, in order to draw out alleged evolutionary inferences.4 The authors rhetorically ask, “…is the reptilian brain really just a mammalian brain missing most of the parts?” But another paper from just last year answers that question with a resounding “no”!