TW Viewpoint | Will You Just Follow the Crowd?

November 18, 2022 | Stephen Jokela

Subscribe Today! If you would like to receive weekly emails informing you when new commentaries and Tomorrow's World Viewpoint videos are uploaded, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

In 1951, a psychologist by the name of Solomon Asch conducted a rather unnerving experiment. He had a group of eight people look at four drawn lines—three "comparison" lines and one "target" line. Each member of the group had to say, out loud, which of the comparison lines they thought matched the target one in length, and this was repeated with eighteen sets of lines. It wasn't hard; the right answers were intended to be completely obvious.

How is that unnerving? Well, of course, there was a catch: Most of the time, seven of those eight people purposely gave blatantly wrong answers. Asch had told them to do so. The unsuspecting eighth participant was the real focus of the study—would he, despite the obviously wrong answers of all his peers, conform to them, answering in the same way? Asch conducted this experiment over and over again and found that 75 percent of these participants did, at least once, that very thing.

You may be familiar with a documentary called Unlocking the Mystery of Life, it presents several scientists and their reasons for embracing the "theory" that our incredibly complex universe had a mind behind it.

That the universe was intelligently designed happens to be true, and like a lot of true things, it has a plethora of compelling pieces of evidence in its favor. Irreducible complexity, the Design Inference, the fact that proteins and DNA can't possibly make sense without each other—you've probably heard many of the arguments. They're good arguments, and even, perhaps, better than good—they could very well be bulletproof.

But as Dr. Asch demonstrated, something being obviously right doesn't mean someone won't abandon it for what everyone else says is right.

Asch found that people tend to conform for one of two reasons: Either they know they're wrong and are okay with that—because "At least I won't be ridiculed"—or they honestly believe that if most people are saying something, whatever they're saying must be true.

Neither influence makes any real sense, but they are, undeniably, influences, and the result is the spread of doctrines, traditions and ideologies that simply do not hold up when examined with reason and logic. Despite the propensity to buy into false information, we can take some encouragement in the fact that 25 percent of participants in Asch's experiment consistently refused to conform to the wrong answers of those in their groups.

At Tomorrow's World Viewpoint, we strive to be a part of that 25 percent. Those who recognize that 2 + 2 is 4, even if the majority says that it is 5; that life cannot burst into existence without a Creator, even if the majority think its perfectly reasonable to believe that life emerged from nothing. While many scoff at the mere suggestion of a Creator, several of our videos are aimed at examining the alternatives—we've provided links to these videos in the description.

Watch Will You Just Follow the Crowd? on YouTube at Tomorrow's World Viewpoint