In addition to these innate, intuitive constraints on how we see the world, throughout our lives we encounter information and situations that further entrench these beliefs. We develop what are called naive or folk theories of the world. We may never have studied psychology, but we have a pretty good idea of how people work, thanks to our folk psychology. We may never have taken a course in physics, but we can interact with the physical world--throw a ball, drive a car--quite successfully because of our folk theories of physics. Like developmental constraints, these theories are very useful in everyday life, but frequently don't provide us with the tools to understand formal scientific theories, and sometimes directly contradict those formal theories.
In order to switch from using folk theories to formal ones, we need to make some adjustments. Some of those adjustments are easy to make. Perhaps you always thought a whale was a fish, and while on a seaside vacation, you learn from the naturalist that they are, in fact, mammals. This is bound to be surprising, but it doesn't turn our entire world view on its head. We simply flip whales from our "fish" category to our "mammal" category, and the job is done.
But there are shifts that require far more work, and really can completely undermine our beliefs about how the world is carved up and how it works. Evolutionary theory is one of those ideas that requires this sort of radical shift, for several reasons. According to contributor Michelene Chi, our folk theories tend to lead us to divide the world up into events--happenings with a clear beginning, middle and end. Evolution, however, is not an event, but a process that is continually ongoing; we cannot draw clear lines and say "now a dinosaur is a bird." Folk theories encourage us to find one cause for each event, usually something close in space and/or time. Evolution requires us to consider multiple constraints, none of them exactly causes, but pressures that drive species, over long periods of time and through many interactions and intermediate states, to having particular features, traits, and abilities. There is no single cause, much less anything nearby that we can point to in explaining these changes. Finally, folk theories, like developmental constraints, lead us to believe that not only is there some central cause for the changes we see in the world, that change is purposeful and intentional, characteristics that are completely missing in an evolutionary account of the world.
In a similar vein, Ryan Tweney and his colleagues have been looking at the differences between religious theories or belief systems and scientific belief systems, exploring other factors that may make religion-based design arguments more plausible to learners than formal scientific accounts.
Together, early constraints and folk theories set us up to find design-based accounts of change highly plausible, and evolutionary accounts quite implausible. To overcome these misconceptions and fully understand evolution, we must undergo conceptual change, a difficult process of rearranging our belief system to better fit with a particular account of the world.